February 03, 2010
In Marketing, we also have "systems". Systems in Marketing are based on the existing capabilities of the Marketing team. I outlined five different Marketing Personality types ... The Organizer, The Miner, The Targeter, The Futurist, and The Strategist.
Each personality type represents a "system", when compared to football "systems".
The CEO hires an Organizer when the data infrastructure is in peril, or when simple customer reporting doesn't exist.
The CEO hires a Miner when the company doesn't have insights into customer behavior beyond standardized reporting.
The CEO hires a Targeter when the company knows how customers are behaving and needs to take action upon what has been learned.
The CEO hires a Futurist when the company is good at Organizing, Mining, and Targeting, but is stuck in the past, not pushing into new micro-channels like Social Media or Mobile Marketing.
The CEO hires a Strategist when the company is great at Organizing/Mining/Targeting, and is willing to take risks with a Futurist.
Here's what I've learned during twenty-two years in Database Marketing. Many marketing failures can be linked to an inability of Sr. Management to link the Analytics Personality with the needs of the company.
Too often, the CEO looks for a person that is above-average across all five Analytics Personality traits. There might be eleven people, world-wide, who excel at each of the five traits.
Too often, the CEO assumes that an analytics individual is good at the very trait the CEO is looking to hire. The CEO wants to hire a Futurist, but only interviews Miners. This is a recipe for failure.
Too often, the CEO assumes that an Organizer/Miner/Targeter infrastructure is in place, when truly, it is not in place. As a result, the CEO hires a Futurist/Strategist who does not have the tools to succeed. Remember, a Futurist/Strategist is dependent upon an Organizer/Miner/Targeter to achieve anything.
Too often, Executives are bamboozled by the vendor community. Web Analytics packages focus on Organizer/Miner capabilities, but sometimes these brands sell themselves as Futurist/Strategist tools. Conversely, consultants offer Futurist/Strategist capabilities without ever providing an actionable Organizer/Miner/Targeter infrastructure.
Too often, individuals over-sell themselves. The Targeter confuses her skills with those of a Strategist. For instance, I tend to be a "Futurist". Sure, I have "Strategist" tendencies, and I tend to have significant "Targeter" tendencies. But for the most part, I am a Futurist. This is why I turn down consulting projects that focus on building a database infrastructure. This is why I turn down projects that focus on building customer dashboards. Those are projects that require an Organizer.
Too often, companies fail to see themselves for what they are. Catalog companies, for instance, are obsessive "Targeters". They live for linking a customer with a paper marketing vehicle. Catalog companies do not want a Futurist or a Strategist pointing them in a direction that takes them away from their core competency of targeting via paper. When a Cataloger that loves Targeting chooses to hire a Strategist, you have a mis-matched systems.
Too often, a CEO fails to hire complementary skills. A CEO that wants to make all of the decisions is well-served by hiring an Organizer. A CEO that must make money RIGHT NOW is well-served by hiring a Targeter. A CEO that is obsessed with customer service needs to hire a Miner. A CEO that is being pushed to have a five year business plan needs a Futurist. A CEO that wants to evangelize customer understanding across the entire company needs a Strategist. When the CEO fails to hire for need, the opportunity for failure is increased.
Ok, it is time for your thoughts. You've read essays on The Organizer, The Miner, The Targeter, The Futurist, and The Strategist. What questions do you have? Do you think this framework makes sense for your business? Can you use this framework to make more successful hiring decisions? Does the quiz help you identify candidates appropriately?
February 02, 2010
It is time to rebuild your marketing department around a Strategist.
The Strategist operates on a whole different level than a Futurist.
The Futurist will push a company into Social Media or Mobile Marketing, simply because somebody has to push the company in a new direction.
The Strategist understands the need to push the company into the future. More important, The Strategist knows when to cut the cord on experiments. Most important, The Strategist knows how to integrate the skills of the Organizer, Miner. Targeter, and Futurist in a way that benefits all employees within a company.
For example, The Strategist knows when Social Media efforts need to be moved out of experimentation mode within the marketing department, and actively convinces folks in the contact center to take ownership of something that marketing initiated. The Strategist knows when Mobile Marketing needs to be something that is embraced by the Merchandising organization, and actively sells the benefits of the technology to teams that may not perceive there to be inherent benefit.
The Strategist pairs different marketing individuals with different Executives. If the Merchandising leader needs dashboard reporting, then The Strategist pairs the Merchandising leader with a Marketing Manager responsible for Organizing information. If the Information Technology department is pushing for data mining tools, then The Strategist links Marketing and IT together, in order to benefit the company. The Strategist listens to the Merchandising leader, and when clearance activities need to be pursued, The Strategist links a Targeter to the Merchandising leader. The Strategist listens to the Executive team, and directs a Futurist to explore new marketing channels that are likely to be embraced by the Executive team.
An Organizer, Miner, or Targeter focuses on what is "known", and is averse to risk. A Futurist focuses on what is "unknown", and is willing to accept risk in order to learn more about customer behavior. A Strategist possesses "intuition" ... a learned response to many years of trial and error as an Organizer, Miner, Targeter, or Futurist. A Strategist has the experience to understand how people respond to Organizers, Miners, Targeters, and Futurists, putting those individuals in places where they can be successful.
A CEO hires a Strategist only when Organizer, Miner, Targeter, and Futurist roles have been clearly defined. A Strategist is unlikely to be successful without an Organizer skilled at providing a quality data infrastructure. A Strategist is unlikely to be successful without a Miner skilled at telling the company how customers are behaving. A Strategist is unlikely to be successful without a Targeter who takes profitable action on customer insights. A Strategist is unlikely to be successful without a Futurist who pushes the company in new and interesting directions that are likely to fail.
In other words, a CEO rebuilds a marketing department around a Strategist only after a series of successes generated by building a marketing department around Organizers, Miners, Targeters, and Futurists.
February 01, 2010
All of that is good, right? And yet, you feel like something is missing. You aren't actively moving your business into the future. You aren't actively trying new marketing micro-channels. You feel like you are stuck.
Maybe it is time to rebuild your marketing department around the skills of a Futurist.
Let me make this very clear. You do not rebuild a marketing department around the skills of a Futurist unless you already do a great job of Organizing, Mining, and Targeting. These are three areas that must be mastered before you rebuild a department around uncertain and unproven marketing strategies.
The Futurist is a very different kind of marketing leader. The Organizer, The Miner, and The Targeter are very focused on "certainty". They demand perfect and accurate data, they demand well-defined queries, and they demand targeting strategies that will yield sales increases and profit improvements. The Futurist is willing to forgo strategies that used to be successful for unproven tactics that may or may not work in the future.
Take Social Media as an example. If you polled 100 marketers, you'd find 99 that said that Social Media doesn't work. The Futurist doesn't care that 99 marketers fail. The Futurist cares about what can be learned from the 99 failures.
This is a major change of pace. The Futurist will leverage the skills of The Organizer, The Miner, and The Targeter to take action on what is learned from all of the failures.
For instance, The Futurist will aggressively pursue a Mobile Marketing strategy. The Futurist has a thick skin, and is willing to absorb punishment from a Merchandising Executive who thinks that an iPhone app is a huge waste of time. The Futurist will partner with an Organizer to integrate Mobile Marketing data into the customer database. The Futurist will partner with a Miner to understand how existing customers and new customers behave after being exposed to an iPhone app. The Futurist will partner with a Targeter to exclude iPhone app users from traditional direct mail campaigns, knowing that the iPhone app user has "moved on" from traditional marketing.
In other words, The Futurist can only be successful if s/he has the skills of an Organizer, Miner, and Targer at his/her disposal. The Futurist pushes a company in a direction that the company doesn't want to move in, but probably needs to in order to be successful in the long term.
Remember, The Futurist doesn't care about failure (whereas the Organizer, Miner, and Targeter actively try to avoid failure). The Futurist cares about what can be learned from failure.
If you have already built a marketing infrastructure that has Organizer, Miner and Targeter skills, then the next leader could easily be a Futurist. The CEO needs to have thick skin, because The Futurist is going to fail, because the Futurist is going to take the brand in unanticipated directions. Futurists tend to fail when they aren't on the same page as the CEO, or when the Organizer/Miner/Targeter infrastructure is not in place to support the direction The Futurist wants to take the business in.
The Futurist is destined to fail when the brand does not want to evolve or change.
If you feel confident that you have adequate Organizer/Miner/Targeter skills, it is time to consider hiring a Futurist to push your marketing department into the future.
January 28, 2010
Now you want to act upon what you've learned. It is time to rebuild your marketing department around an individual called The Targeter.
The Targeter doesn't care about how data is organized, and doesn't care about learning new and insightful things about customers. No, The Targeter is hyper-focused on one thing ... getting the right message in front of the right individual.
If you want to rebuild your marketing department around a Targeter, you are taking a risk. The Targeter demands complete control over customer decisions. The Targeter wants to make decisions that are the most profitable decisions for your company.
In other words, The Targeter is going to potentially go after sacred cows. The Targeter may decide to cut your catalog circulation by 30%, because it is the most profitable thing to do. The Targeter may decide to go from two e-mail contacts per week to four e-mail contacts per week, because it is the most profitable thing to do. The Targeter may decide to give Google additional customer and merchandising information because it is the best way to put the right ad in front of the right individual. The Targeter loves tactics like Free Shipping, or % Off Promotions, or GWPs (gifts with purchase), or Shopping Cart Abandonment re-marketing programs. The Targeter actively tries to link the promotion with the customer in order to grow the top line.
In many ways, The Targeter is a classic direct marketer. You do not rebuild your department around a Targeter when the marketing world is changing, because The Targeter loves to compile knowledge about past successes in order to drive future sales increases. The Targeter is not motivated by emerging channels that have minimal ROI. Instead, The Targeter is motivated by Best Practices, by things that have been proven to work in the past.
The Targeter will rebuild a department around campaigns, not customers. The Targeter is motivated by customer understanding, but only to the point of linking customers to campaigns. The Targeter is not going to enjoy a month-long strategic project with McKinsey Consulting, because that project is not as likely to deliver ROI as is a project that links customers who love Free Shipping to various promotional vehicles.
A CEO rebuilds a marketing department around a Targeter only when the existing data infrastructure is in place, and only when there are folks in the marketing department who are great at "Mining" for customer insights. If those two criteria are met, then a Targeter becomes a valuable marketing leader, one who can deliver significant sales increases and profit improvements.
January 27, 2010
Under what circumstances is a Miner a good investment?
You want to rebuild your marketing department around a Miner when you want to learn more about how your customer is behaving.
You don't hire a Miner until you had an Organizer build a customer data infrastructure for you ... the Organizer links customer data across all channels, and creates a reporting infrastructure that allows all Executives to be able to understand basic facts and findings about customers.
Once this infrastructure exists, you are ready to rebuild your marketing department around the skills of a Miner.
The Miner is motivated by "drilling down" into customer data to understand how customers are behaving. This type of individual is perfect when business is "changing". If you are dipping your toe into social media or mobile marketing, then this type of marketing leader will provide the data necessary to explain to the company how these emerging channels influence customer behavior.
You'll want a Miner if the rest of your Executive team is highly inquisitive. You'll want a Miner if the type of questions that your Executive team asks are "unique" ... in other words, if you want the same answers to the same questions, you hire an Organizer ... but if your questions evolve and change over time, seldom repeating, you want a Miner, because the Miner is motivated by an evolving and changing customer ecosystem.
If you can cope with uncertainty, hire a Miner. You hire an Organizer when you thrive in a world of certainty and consistency.
Once you hire a Miner, it is your job to motivate this person. Do not put this person in charge of KPIs and Dashboards and customer table development, because this person isn't motivated by these challenges. The Miner is motivated by answering new, unique, challenging questions.
Do not, however, expect the Miner to lead the company to a new strategy. The Miner is motivated by the act of mining data, not by leading the company down a new strategic path. You will be responsible for determining strategy if you hire a Miner. A CEO with strategic focus and a Marketing Executive with Miner tendencies can be a powerful combination.
If your customer data infrastructure is in place, but you don't know how customers are behaving, a Miner is a good choice for your rebuilding efforts.
January 26, 2010
Let's assume that you gave this quiz to prospective marketing executive candidates, and you chose to hire an Organizer. What have you accomplished?
Rebuilding your marketing department around an Organizer can be a great decision. Remember, an Organizer loves to collect data from different sources, loves to make sure that the data is accurate, and loves to create dashboards and reports that allow other individuals to make decisions.
If you believe that your customer data infrastructure is broken, then hire an Organizer to run marketing, so long as you give this individual authority over the information technology team. Organizers work well in environments that are a few steps past the entrepreneurial stage. Organizers integrate e-mail marketing with traditional direct marketing. Organizers integrate social media into the existing customer database. Organizers combine offline data with clickstream data.
As a business leader, it is your job to know what your marketing department needs at any point in time. When the need exists to integrate data across all channels, an Organizer will get this job done for you. You may only need this marketing leader for two or three years, and that's ok.
Organizers can also be trusted companions for business leaders who like to make all of the decisions. I once worked with a CEO that needed to make every decision regarding customer analytics. This individual demanded reports and KPIs that were consistent with his way of thinking. He rewarded individuals who audited data for accuracy. He rewarded individuals who provided him with a report that was formatted exactly as he wanted to see it. He rewarded individuals who provided him with the exact customer analysis outcomes he was expecting. In situations like this, the CEO needs to be paired with an Organizer, or the CEO will be highly disappointed with the working relationship.
If your marketing department is in a state of customer analysis chaos, an environment where data is scattered across the enterprise, not linked together in a meaningful manner, then an Organizer is a perfect fit for your rebuilding efforts.
January 24, 2010
The Washington Redskins football team completed a 4-12 season in 2009 (four wins, twelve losses). The coach was fired, and a "rebuilding" process was initiated. A new coach was hired. This individual has a "system", a way of doing things (west coast offense or spread offense or zone blocking scheme ... 4-3 defense or 3-4 defense, cover-2 or man-to-man coverage). The team will draft new players in April, players that are suited for this "system". In 2-3 years, if things work out, the rebuilding process will result in a successful team, causing the coaches and players to be rewarded. If things don't work out, a new rebuilding process will be initiated.
In sports, this is an accepted process. The process gives teams and fans hope.
In merchandising, this is an accepted process. Every company has a merchandising "system", and when one system doesn't work, the Chief Merchandising Officer is fired, and a new "system" is put in place.
In catalog marketing, this process is fundamentally broken.
The vast majority of catalog marketers employ just one system.
- The reason the company exists is to use catalog marketing to sell merchandise.
- Online micro-channels (paid search, e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, banner ads) are there to support the catalog. Orders generated from these micro-channels are matched back to the customers who received a catalog. If the customer received a catalog, the catalog gets credit for the order.
- Customer analysis is designed to illustrate how the catalog is the "sun" in the marketing solar system, with online micro-channels representing planets that orbit the sun.
- The catalog vendor ecosystem can be perceived as important as the future viability of the business. As a result, co-ops, matchbacks, paper reps, printer relationships, etc. are given as much weight as internal co-worker relationships.
Almost everybody is running the same catalog marketing "system". And when somebody attempts to run a new system (i.e. Bloomingdales dropping their catalog), many participants in the existing catalog marketing system mock those who decide to run a new system.
In the next two weeks, we're going to talk about rebuilding through people. Chances are, you are strongly considering "rebuilding" your catalog marketing team. And, based on what I'm hearing, you believe that a new catalog marketing leader needs to be "highly analytical". Your new "analytical leader" has "a system". If you don't understand the system employed by this individual, you may make a hiring mistake.
In preparation for our exploration of "catalog marketing systems", please take this quiz (click here for the quiz), as if you were interviewing for your open position. The outcome of this quiz will determine what your needs are, and will guide you as you begin to rebuild your catalog marketing department.