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Four characteristics of an adaptive marketing organization


Marketing is all about speed. Customers won’t wait for a week or more for you to respond to a query, complaint, or request. Emails are too slow. For impact, a Tweet needs a Retweet within half an hour. And your customer interaction should be put in context to deliver a personalized experience. All of this implies the ability to adapt and respond to changing scenarios quickly and easily.

What I’m describing here is an adaptive marketing organization. It’s how a brand stays relevant and continues to make an impact. But being an adaptive marketing organization demands change. Silos within the business must be broken down. Resources need to be flexibly allocated to meet a specific purpose (a brand launch, campaign, new product, etc.). With this high flexibility comes the need for direction and stability, thus a stable marketing core organization should be established.

So, let’s begin with the silos. As we shape a new era in personalized marketing, a broader spectrum of functions and teams needs to be involved beyond just marketing. Campaign planning, content, branding, service, sales, IT — these typically operate in functional silos. Multiple interfaces slow down decision making processes and fail to generate the right content. Each silo leverages data and content differently.

A functioning marketing ecosystem

It’s a mess. But it doesn’t have to be. Coherent interaction between all the different channels can be empowered by data and digital technology. In Capgemini’s new Point of View Putting your Customer First we describe this as Connected Marketing. And I believe this becomes possible within an adaptive marketing organization. One that brings together the right resources, with access to the right data for a single purpose in a functioning marketing ecosystem.

What do I mean by a single purpose? It could be to launch a new product. Or to revamp the brand. It might be something smaller, like answering a line request, such as creating product-specific social media posts. Resources from the different functions will be needed to answer questions, validate content, ensure the right channels of engagement are used, etc. Once this purpose has been achieved, they go back to their functions until called on for the next one.

This is Connected Marketing. It’s where all the people needed to solve a problem and deliver the purpose are quickly assembled in the same room. The four characteristics of an adaptive marketing organization are:

  • Clear responsibility for the purpose has been established;
  • The circle of people from across functions is empowered to take the right decisions;
  • The team is given the freedom to innovate and find appropriate, out-of-the-box solutions;
  • Everyone moves in just one direction reflecting the strategy, brand promise and specific purpose.

Allocating resources to the purpose

An adaptive marketing organization doesn’t make the existing marketing organization structure obsolete. Rather it represents a different layer of organization and collaboration needed to fulfil the relevant purpose. As I pointed out in the characteristics above, achieving this begins with establishing who is responsible for that purpose or product.

This person will be responsible for resourcing and then steering the project, which is a very similar role to a Product Owner. In this instance, our Product Owner needs support in staffing and prioritizing the initiative, so must liaise with the HR or resource management function, as well as with the core marketing organization. The resource allocation reflects how an adaptive marketing organization draws people from across previously unconnected silos to deliver the designated purpose. An appropriate budget will be allocated, and team members empowered to move out of their day-to-day roles to focus on the outcome being sought.

Flexible resource allocation is not just about internal teams. It might also require a reset of existing agency models, including how marketing co-operates with, governs and remunerates external agencies. At Capgemini, we work with our clients to help them embed external agencies in the Connected Marketing ecosystem, ensuring a perfect match between the business and its agencies.

Making a cultural change

We’re also aware that Connected Marketing requires a new mindset and cultural change — empowering people to work flexibly. As we point out in our Point of View, highly engaged teams show up to 22 percent greater profitability and are almost five times more likely to perform their best work. Marketing organizations need to proactively work to uplift employee engagement as they step out of their comfort zones to deliver each purpose.

Our New Deal change approach makes our clients’ people the heroes of change, winning their commitment. This increases their engagement with new ways of working within a broad Connected Marketing ecosystem. They may need to adapt to new work processes, organizational structure, digital architecture, governance, leadership, and culture.

Clearly, becoming an adaptive marketing organization requires some big changes but it’s worth it. Greater agility between functions, both internal and external, will enable the swift development of personalized, intimate, and digital customer interaction.

Download our  ‘put your customer first with connected marketing‘ whitepaper to learn more.

Please get in touch to find out more about Capgemini’s approach to building an adaptive marketing organization within a functioning marketing ecosystem and about segmentation and profiling in Capgemini’s Connected Marketing offer.

This blog is authored by Markus Cramer, Senior Director Innovation & Strategy —