By Catrina Logan Boisson, director, Customer Communications, Communication & Marketing Services, Xerox
At a gathering of marketing executives earlier this year, a persistent topic of conversation was the changing role of the CMO and the marketing organization at large. Increased focus on the customer and access to a deluge of data have begun to reposition marketing as a strategic business enabler, rather than a service organization. And this change may also contribute to the increasing longevity of the CMO − at the same conference, it was revealed that research now places the tenure of the average CMO at 45 months rather than the oft-quoted 23.
However, with every opportunity, comes a challenge. Just as a new title seldom makes old responsibilities disappear, the work that has historically comprised the “service” side of marketing still needs to get done by someone. Customer communications, promotional campaigns, point-of-sale materials and sales collateral still need to move out the door and across channels efficiently and effectively. And the pressure to deliver year-over-year savings and measurable results remains a priority.
So how does the new CMO as strategic enabler find the time to focus on what really matters today, without dropping the ball on yesterday’s to-do list? Delegation is one obvious answer, but with most organizations forced to do more with less, does it really make sense to have scarce staff resources tangled up in marketing execution? Or is their time better spent focused on strategy, increasing customer understanding and making sure every touch point is an opportunity for increased engagement?
Another possible solution is the “decoupling” of marketing execution from marketing strategy. Just as the agency world has begun to see a decoupling of production from ideation in order to drive savings and global efficiencies, internal marketing organizations can consider outsourcing those parts of the marketing value chain that are not viewed as critical to moving the business forward. The strategy behind “what needs to get done” stays in house but responsibility for timely execution shifts to the shoulders of a trusted partner.
Smart companies are already making those changes. One major financial services company outsourced the end-to-end executional workflow for all of their marketing collaterals – from letters and plan documents to regulatory notices and sales collateral. The combination of people, process and technology that the partnership introduced made the hand-off of projects from the client and their agencies seamless, simplified proofing and approvals with collaborative tools, enforced strict adherence to brand standards across the organization, and enabled new levels of personalization. The result? A decrease in turnaround times and double digit savings to fund future innovation or improve the bottom line. Just as important? The in-house marketing team now has more bandwidth to focus on building their brand and growing their customer base. Everyone wins.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.