To adapt and achieve growth, the CMO has a greater incentive to become well connected with the external environment and consumers, to meet expectations. Internally, they must drive a connected marketing approach that will overcome the inconsistencies in multi-channel activation and implement a more responsive go-to-market strategy.
Rethinking Brand Management
Consumer products (CP) companies will need to rethink their brand engagement models and ways of working to seize growth opportunities. To stay relevant, they will need to:
- Better adapt to their external environment by moving away from static plans and planning processes, to more agile and fluid intelligent planning methods.
- Develop a more holistic understanding of consumer lives in order to develop more compatible consumer experiences.
- Shift from a transactional mindset where data is used for increasing sales, to the use of data across all marketing activities. This will optimise the brand development process.
- Become more consumer-centric and less product-centric. Consumers are demanding more personalised consumer experiences. To deliver personalisation seamlessly, CP companies need to adopt more marketing technology capabilities, produce more editorial content, and implement relevant retail strategies. Different capability areas will need to work closely together if success is to be achieved.
This transformation will require CP companies to not only evolve their capabilities but also develop an organisation-wide agile marketing operating model that uses these capabilities. Embedding agile techniques will enable the CP companies to be more efficient, proactive, better at taking risks and more connected to the whole enterprise.
Key agile techniques
However, agile practices are not ‘one size fits all’. Although these ways of working can be applied enterprise-wide, the execution will vary depending on different teams, functions and projects.
Within marketing teams, it is important to start by creating a structure that breaks silos and enables 360-degree collaboration across a set of defined competencies. Bringing together connected expertise will enable faster decision making due to a flatter structure. This will improve the speed to market and allow more flexibility.
This de-centralisation of teams also empowers marketers to make rapid decisions, both globally and locally, encouraging a ‘test and learn’ approach to projects. Teams that may have been outcome-focused in the past should implement short sprints and iteration cycles. This allows for reactive brand learnings to be collected and shared, achieving a better understanding of the consumer.
The mindset shift should start from within the leadership teams and translate through to the marketing teams – transitioning from a linear and sequential approach to an efficient, fast-paced environment. There should be a fail-fast culture coupled with new rituals within teams.
Finally, this change should be enabled by the implementation, or adoption, of collaborative technologies such as SharePoint, MS Teams and Confluence. Also, tools for performance dashboards and Kanban boards should be used, such as PowerBI and Trello.
As time-consuming meetings become a thing of the past, the chosen technologies should simplify marketing processes and allow teams to become easily connected, both virtually and within a defined workspace.
The recipe for success
As marketing organisations become agile, there are a few key success factors to consider:
- Having the right cross-functional competencies represented in a team, or squad, whilst ‘keeping the squad size small enough that it can be fed with two pizzas.’ (Jeff Bezos, Amazon). These teams should also be supported by relevant Centres of Excellence that provide expert knowledge when needed. This ensures quality, speedy and efficient delivery of outcomes using a flexible resource base.
- Setting up the right physical working environment that allows for more collaboration. This can be the co-location of teams, for example, the marketing, sales and DevOps teams.
- Setting up the right digital working environment to improve productivity. This can be through access to digital tools where teams can co-create, share information and track progress virtually.
- A unified view of data (consumer, marketing, project and performance) for brands which can direct them in smart decision making and embed transparency.
By implementing an agile marketing operating model, CP companies can move at a winning pace by connecting the right capabilities, with the right people, at the right time – to seize the right opportunities.
Tanya Anand and Chloe Buckland are Senior Consultants with Capgemini Invent. They are focused on helping CP clients unlock growth through building consumer and shopper engagement capabilities.