How you can merge marketing, sales, and customer services into one agile team with centralized content management in four steps to meet the channel-hopping customer.

Customer support has to be quick and relevant in the digital age. Cumbersome official channels prevent this in hierarchically organized companies. Fast interaction with customers is slowed down when departments with customer contact have separate management, their own budgets, and an isolated technical infrastructure. In searching for a solution, some companies take the last step before the first one: “We need a marketing cloud!” But marketing technology can only tap into its g-force if organizational conditions are met, as Daniel Garschagen also recommended in the previous blog of this series. A marketing restructure is required, starting with a new self-image, then a different operational and organizational structure and standardized IT infrastructure can be established.

1. Creating a new self-image among the marketing team

In the digital age, the marketing department’s remit is broader than just seeing itself as a cost center with profile and image targets. It’s about creating monetary value added for the company. Share the wealth data acquired from your customers’ media usage behavior with your colleagues from sales and customer services. You have to obtain authorization and anonymize data for this pursuant to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can then come up with an innovative product and service package from this data. These are packages of products or product families and the accompanying, also digital services. These can also be developed collaboratively with customers, if required.

2. Develop content centrally

You have to work together in an agile and interdisciplinary way to get faster as all work areas are required when faced with the variety of customer enquiries. Cooperation has to be organized centrally so that all advertising materials take the same line in the spirit of integrated communication. As a result, you are mirroring the way consumers use media and experience brands nowadays – namely in parallel, holistically, and interactively.

When it comes to designing advertising materials, this means that it should no longer be done separately by media genre. There is also no longer a leading medium from which other genres of advertising material are derived based on the waterfall principle. The campaign is dead. The immersive, 24/7 brand experience on all channels is what matters instead. Besides a quick and interactive reaction, it calls for marketers to permanently learn which message and which channel leads to success in real dialogue.

My experience has shown that creating content neutral to the genre in a circular sequence of four tasks is proven to work:

  1. As part of the strategy, you specify target groups and performance targets, monitor the achievement of targets, and optimize the budget allocation based on the advertising impact.
  2. With content management, you plan, design, and control the content of advertising materials for all channels. The consistency of all advertising materials in the spirit of integrated communication is guaranteed by centralization.
  3. In production, it’s about adapting the content to the channels. You also develop ideas on how to optimize the advertising material based on the “test and learn” principle.
  4. With publishing, the finished advertising materials are published on the different channels. You deal with the operation and continuous updating of the channels here. You can get ideas for product and service innovations from the media usage data that are feedback to the strategists.

3. Establishing a customer-focused divisional organization

A divisional organization is the best type of structure for these experts to work together. The divisions are formed based on the definable product and service packages according to customer demand.

Figure 1: Customer-focused divisional organisation with interdisciplinary teams

The product manager has the remit of ensuring a horizontal strategy that is not provided for in hierarchical structures so that content management works in an interdisciplinary way. They take care of all the necessary measures for their product and service package across all departments.

Advantages:

  • Speed
  • Innovation
  • Accountability of success.

Disadvantages:

  • Competition for resources
  • Risk of duplicated work in divisions
  • Complicated obtaining of authorizations pursuant to the GDPR.

4. Impact based budgeting

Whether the production manager has success, depends on their information power, namely in the form of their team’s expertise and better understanding of customers. Their performance becomes visible if the success is measured centrally and is made the basis for the budget allocation across divisions. IT can help with this by supplying customer data and advertising impact indicators. Target-related management and remuneration ensure a team spirit and cohesion.

With the possibility of tailoring products and services even better to customers, digitalization creates great opportunities that go beyond improving the efficiency of marketing communication. The new organization doesn’t just take the burden off marketing managers in order to use their creativity for the brand; they can raise their profile as a driver of innovation within the company as well.

Our Author

Dr. Thomas Dmoch is a petrol-head and digital marketing expert. He heads the digital marketing management team, and is based in Munich. He has experience of over 17 years in the Automotive sector, namely at Volkswagen, Renault and Jaguar, and 8 years in consulting where he has managed many projects to improve marketing efficiency for our clients, and prepare marketing organizations for the digital era. He is an expert in digital branding, marketing communication, and agency management.