James Cardew, Head of Marketing and Client Experience, Europe and Asia at Capital Group, discusses the data trap, the stakeholder CMOs must impress, and the importance of a “pre-mortem”.
Marketers are no stranger to jargon. But while we might be partial to some questionable portmanteaux and three-letter initialisms (KPIs, anyone?), that doesn’t mean we take to them all that easily.
“There is this horrible phrasing that has come out in the last few years: ‘B2H’ – business-to-human. It’s a nasty articulation, but there’s a truth in it,” admits James Cardew, a seasoned marketer with over two decades’ experience heading up the marketing function of major global financial services companies.
Cardew believes that starting with the client experience is an important step in a marketer’s game plan. You may have the data and insight to know that your audience enjoys watching 30-second videos or reading infographics but forcing them to consume it on a channel they dislike, or worse, don’t use, is useless.
“The digital revolution, smartphones, and all the other access points to information and insight mean that individuals can choose their route to that information, and you need to be responsive to that.”
The data trap
Data and digital are crucial to a successful marketing engagement. But they’re not a solution in themselves: “We’re not aiming for robotics [in marketing]; we’re aiming for bionics. We’re aiming to empower and enhance what is a human relationship between our management group and our sales folks and our investors and the same equivalent folks on the other side in the client group.”
James Cardew, Capital Group
We're not aiming for robotics; we're aiming for bionics.
The real challenge marketers face is finding the right tools that can augment a fundamentally human relationship. “How am I going to judge what is a good workflow tool? How am I going to judge what is a great CMS? And how is that going to interact with the other things that I have embedded within the business? That whole piece has completely changed the role of a CMO in any organisation.”
It’s who you know
Now that digital tools are essential to the marketing function, the CMOs greatest ally has also shifted.
“I was always told that when you get to C-level in marketing, the critical relationship you have is with the CFO, because you’re probably outside of staff, you’re going to be the second or third largest budget item. You’d need to have a great relationship with the CFO, so they would support whatever you ask for. Today, I think the killer relationship is with your CTO. I think there’s so many overlaps where the technology group operates.”
This relationship will make it easier to not only answer the “what tools are right for us” question, but to get integration right. Ensuring Marketo is plugged into your Salesforce, your CMS, whatever data and analytics tools you’re using – this is an incredibly complex network to knit together.
The importance of the “pre-mortem”
Drawing on his 25 years of experience, Cardew acknowledges that one thing he and all marketing teams need to be better at is the “pre- and post-mortem” of marketing strategies.
“We’re all so busy and we all try to get stuff out the door. But sometimes we can run something, stare at the aftermath, not really learn anything from it, and then just move on to the next thing.
“A lot of projects fail, but these projects are pretty expensive, so it’s about balance. I think it is having the discipline go, ‘okay, possibly not our finest hour. But let’s go back and see if we can find out something that we learned, and then our investment was worthwhile’. Your organisation needs to have patience with you.”
Adding to the long list of marketing-isms, Cardew continues: “I am a big fan of ‘pre-mortem’ strategy. [That means] looking at something and asking ‘why are we going to fail?’ What have we done here that shows our own biases, our own prejudices or our own narrow thinking?“
It might be a nasty analogy, but it certainly has a ring to it.
Hear more advice from James Cardew, Head of Marketing and Client Experience, Europe and Asia at Capital Group, listen to the ABM podcast on-demand here.
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James Cardew, Head of Marketing and Client Experience, Europe and Asia at Capital Group discusses the data trap, the stakeholder CMOs must impress, and the importance of a “pre-mortem”.
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