Customer Centric Data Driven Marketing-SYKES

Hunches are for detectives, not marketers. Thanks to the data-driven revolution, marketing decisions can now be based more on fact than instinct or ego.

The ability to quantify marketing results is unprecedented in today’s tech-obsessed landscape. Whether you’re on social media or telling your story in an article, you’re not only able to target your market, but you can identify precise characteristics of ideal buyers and influencers. With video, you can see how long people watch and when most viewers stop. Whatever the channel, it’s easy to test and compare messaging, images, offers and calls to action, with answers available in a fraction of the time it used to take to get results.

All this powerful data provides marketing VPs and CMOs both an opportunity and a challenge: to be more proactive when leading an organization through the digital transformation. Now is the time to become next-generation marketing leaders by using data to connect the dots between measurement and the bottom line; and combine numbers with human insights and experiences to effect change, guide strategy and create new business opportunities.

Research shows that data-driven decisions can significantly improve marketing ROI across channels — from websites and mobile to future innovations like virtual reality and connected cars. According to McKinsey Consulting, marketing based on a person’s real-time needs, interests and behaviors can boost total sales by 15 to 20 percent, and digital sales even more.

When using data-driven marketing, we gain a better understanding of the buyer’s journey and can market more effectively using the right message on the right channels at the right time. Market research from SiriusDecisions shows that companies who link marketing to an intelligent customer journey can effectively cut the leads-to-sales ratio in half — only 7-to-1 compared to 15-to-1 with a traditional model.

Become the Voice of the Customer

Along with the shift to data-driven decision making, market forces are requiring organizations to become more customer-centric. Now more than ever, marketing leaders are bringing the voice of the customer to the table with a specific focus on their needs within each vertical served.

Companies have long made the mistake of going to market based on their capabilities — featuring their latest bells and whistles — instead of focusing on the customer’s needs and journey. This is like going to the doctor for a stomachache and being told about a great new heart monitor that just came on the market. That’s all well and good, but it has nothing to do with your stomachache.

Customers won’t stand for this strategy anymore. They don’t care how many shiny tools you have. They want you to focus on them and their problem and to provide a real-time solution. It’s all about customer needs linked to solutions, not company capabilities. This means that listening to, understanding and caring for your customers is more important than ever for success.

Retool Marketing to Lead

As with other functions in an organization, marketing teams must adapt as advanced technology capabilities are bundled into solutions. This requires a rigorous and constant focus on staying current with the skills of your team and aligning to an increasing rate of change within the markets across the industry. Often, a progressive restructure is necessary to align marketing with functional priorities, enabling the company to remain focused on their clients while meeting corporate objectives and working toward the company vision.

For example, our Marketing team at SYKES is focused on a holistic process linked directly to the results required to meet our corporate strategy and objective:

  • Marketing Strategy & Planning
  • Marketing Development & Management
  • Marketing Distribution & Measurement
  • Demand Generation
  • Quality Management

This structure helps increase brand awareness and drives more qualified leads linked to the solutions we deliver, all while focusing on constant improvement. Different organizations and markets may require a different structure, but making sure everything is driven by data-supported strategies remains vital to building an effective marketing department. The end-to-end process must allow the full team to plan, develop and launch fully vetted, results-focused marketing campaigns.

Get Buy-In for Dramatic Change

Transforming the role of marketing within an organization is no walk in the park, but successfully navigating the transition from a traditional sales support role to a new, digital area based on a customer-centric, data-driven model is a challenge well worth accepting.

Old ideas die hard, so it’s essential to apply change management across the board and provide ample education opportunities, beginning in small doses with the intent to apply consistently over time. This could mean setting up one-on-ones meetings and lunch-and-learns with your peers to start the conversation. This circulation of ideas and processes allows you to identify the people who accept it, quickly understand it, and believe in the needs and goals. These people become your advocates — they’ll start talking about the new process, its benefits and how it will work.

As with any marketing campaign, you’ve got to think about your specific audience when pitching a major change internally as well. What’s in it for the company? For the CEO? What’s the end result, the “why?” For the CFO, what’s the financial benefit, the return on investment? For the CIO, what is this going to mean for technology and how is it going to help them? Ultimately, it is prudent to educate the entire executive team on the value of adopting a new marketing process based on a client-centric, data-driven model.

When it comes to your sales and business development leaders, make sure they see how data-driven marketing will mean better leads that come with a significantly higher close ratio. Communicate that your goal is to align sales and marketing to generate more revenue and profitability. In fact, research from SiriusDecisions indicates that organizations with best practice marketing and sales alignment generate 19 percent more revenue than peers and net 15 percent more profitability based on EBITDA analysis.

The same process applies to operations, human resources and other functional leaders. Once the seeds have been planted, you can make a formal presentation. After approval and implementation, you’ll want to continue the education process, showing progress and results.

Make the Shift & Build Your Team

Next, the same education process must be applied with your marketing team — but on steroids. It is even more crucial for the team to understand why you’re making this change: what the new roles are, the value it will bring to the organization and its value to them professionally. This is going to take a lot of reinforcement and encouragement along the way.

It will also take time and patience. There will be a lot of shifting as you match the redefined needs of the organization to team-members’ skills. Even if someone has the skills to fill a new role, that doesn’t mean they’re going to know how to perform it immediately. So, you also want to be sure that your process includes plenty of resources for internal training and support, especially for building new analytics capabilities.

The most important thing is that each person on your team comes to work every day feeling needed and valued, understanding how their role helps the company realize it’s strategy. This will develop confidence, empower better performance, and ultimately get your team rowing together in cadence to overcome any challenges that come their way.

Assess. Refine. Execute. Repeat.

Once you’ve got forward momentum, you want to do more than just generate leads — you want to lead the market, leverage the power of data and link to strategic outcomes. The most essential step for success is developing a data-driven process and supporting structure so you’re always measuring results, refining your processes and then executing in a way that gets better with each cycle. It may not be as easy as rinse and repeat, but once you’ve established a discipline and rhythm, you can generate a continuous cycle of learning, improving and adapting to thrive in a dynamic marketplace.

With constant measurement and adaptation fueling everything that happens downstream in marketing, you’re always moving closer to having the right content in the right place, aligned to your customers’ evolving needs. You’ll produce better content for all your channels — websites, social media, RFPs — and fine-tune distribution because you’ll have a better understanding of your customers’ needs and behaviors.

All this combines to help you improve on process excellence, achieve higher brand recognition and generate more highly-qualified leads at a faster conversion rate. Progress in these areas leads to profitable revenue growth that is sustainable through ever-increasing client satisfaction and loyalty.