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Marketing teams at mature corporations aren’t often tasked to reinvent the wheel. They’re not chargeable for driving triple-digit year-over-year growth. They’ve already introduced major initiatives and hired internally and/or found partners to assist run them.
This might sound cushy to marketers used to high-growth and startup land. But with most of the basic work covered, if not fully optimized, a marketing team’s success comes all the way down to advanced aspects like tech integration, analytics, channel expansion and brand marketing.
For those at a mature company (or planning to develop yours into one), I’ll lay out:
- Major initiatives to speed up growth
- Team skills needed
- Build-or-buy considerations to your tech stack
Related: How to Build a Marketing Function During the Early Stage of Your Startup
Growth initiatives for mature corporations
If you have been in marketing for any length of time, I’m sure you have seen this John Wanamaker quote: “Half the cash I spend on promoting is wasted; the difficulty is I do not know which half.” That’s been true for a long time past the purpose Wanamaker first said it, however it doesn’t must be true today, especially for corporations with the resources to do intelligent evaluation of their marketing campaigns.
There are plenty of areas where I see advertisers spending in 2023 that provide little to no return – and corresponding initiatives that might transform promoting performance.
- More governance on programmatic placements. A recent report showing that 17% of programmatic clicks in Q2 2023 were fraudulent, even for the most important advertisers, must be an enormous red flag for brands running programmatic campaigns without insight into and control of placements. I’m not talking about mom-and-pop placements, either – in case you have not heard, YouTube’s placement practices are under hefty fire currently.
- Assessing marginal return and incrementality. Whether overspending in primary channels without testing recent ones or paying to interact audiences who would convert otherwise, even marketers at top brands generally waste tons of spending in a number of under-analyzed areas.
- Moving up the funnel. With all of the tools available in 2023, it continues to amaze me what number of smart advertisers turn up their noses at upper-funnel campaigns. Yes, the underside of the funnel has more measurable return. Still, that gap is shrinking as platforms like Meta introduce native lift tests and branding measurement tools, and martech, like predictive analytics and media mix modeling, gets more accessible. The upper funnel helps advertisers reach net-new audiences less expensively, and it’s easier than it’s ever been to trace the downstream effects of those campaigns. For instance, in case you’re a Fortune 100 brand, don’t just run a Super Bowl ad and consider that branding box checked; take more precise aim with digital campaigns and begin the client journey with hundreds of thousands of probably high-LTV recent users.
Marketing skills mature corporations must prioritize
More and more, I’m seeing premium value in analytics and inventive talent (good luck finding that in a single person). On the analytics side, marketing teams for mature brands should prioritize finding resources to do incrementality testing, conduct lift tests and cohort analyses, and get into the weeds of media mix modeling and predictive analytics to construct motion plans for engaging more high-LTV customers. This skill set transcends channels and may have the opportunity to identify opportunities to enhance your campaigns across your entire marketing landscape.
On the creative side, branding messaging, positioning, and visuals across a spread of media can spin gold from upper-funnel initiatives, particularly as you dial within the mixtures that work for various audiences that ought to cascade down the funnel. To do that well, you’ll have each great ideas and the mechanics to scale the delivery of those ideas across ad channels and media formats.
Tech: to construct or buy?
In big marketing organizations spending rather a lot on martech tools, it’s pretty common for somebody in upper management to wonder, out loud, whether it is perhaps cheaper in the long term to construct the essential technology in-house. In theory, this has the advantage of being custom-built exactly to suit the brand’s needs, not built for the masses with a bunch of additional features you will pay for but never use.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve gone down that road for my agency – and what I’ve learned is that typically, it’s smarter to purchase from the experts than it’s to construct something yourself. Why? Well, in case you use your existing team to construct something, you are asking them to do something they weren’t hired to do and might not be qualified to do. And in case you hire another person to construct it, you would possibly as well buy a longtime, vetted tool that already exists reasonably than pay someone to make something which will or may not work as well.
Long story short: let the experts construct the tech.
A marketer’s job is rarely done. Fending off challengers and keeping on top of the newest industry developments and releases is an excellent chunk of labor, even for corporations on the very top of their industry. (Imagine being Nike’s CMO and ignoring TikTok, for example.) But beyond that, there are real efficiencies and growth benefits to be gained by being on the ball together with your analytics, creative, and holistic positioning. A team that may carve out a competitive edge in those areas will very rarely lose market share – and will just gain enough to earn promotions across the board.