I worked for many years in the software sector, marketing to small and medium businesses. I regularly extoll the benefits of cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and virtualised solutions. Why? You can achieve the same capability and scale as very large organisations, but without the high costs of infrastructure and running costs. Smaller businesses can retain the flexibility, customer centricity and service levels that set them apart from less agile Enterprises but give the appearance of being much bigger than they are.
Looking back, like the early days of online shopping, it seems strange now that there was ever any barrier to adopting these flexible solutions. Industry leaders worked hard, and spent millions of dollars on awareness. Overcoming the fears over privacy, where data resided and how it was accessed in the cloud, which were real concerns and barriers to address.
So, how can the as-a-service model and derived benefits be applied to Marketing? Well, with the exponential growth of technology solutions – from marketing automation and neuro-marketing intelligence to re-marketing, social selling and ABM, it makes sense that you would engage the services of an out-sourced specialist. Someone to help you implement and maximise the effectiveness of these tools and tactics. I know many wonderful providers and agencies who do brilliant work in these areas.
Directing the tactics
Tools and tactics are only ever as effective as the marketing strategy that sits behind them. It is the strategy which can shape the creation of the right content. The right end-to-end plan. And direct the tools towards the outcomes that the user wants to achieve, not the tools in and of themselves.
Enterprises employ senior marketing leaders who craft that marketing strategy. Those who align the overall business targets– total revenue, operating margins, revenue per customer, customer retention- with marketing budgets, plans, objectives and KPIs. People who determine the total addressable market. Identify the right customers to target. Where and how they buy. What messages and offers will resonate with them and what marketing channels and tactics will deliver the best return to the business. They are influencers and negotiators, working with stakeholders from Product, Sales, Commercial and Delivery functions. They set, re-set if necessary, and measure the effectiveness of all marketing efforts.
The reality for many smaller organisations is this is just one of the many jobs that a CMO or Director of Marketing does. With the pressure always to generate leads, produce new content or organise the next event, it can inadvertently be deprioritised due to lack of resources, skillset or even fear of being held accountable.
It would be remiss of me to suggest outsourcing such a critical part of Marketing on a permanent basis is the right thing to do, it’s not. Building strategic capability internally is always the best course of action. But back to our SaaS analogy, committing to high infrastructure and running costs, along with the speed of implementation- the knowledge and skills required- can be a barrier for businesses who want to move to deliver results quickly. Who need to prove the ROI before committing to full-time resources. Think Marketing Director-as-a-Service!
We are SEEBLUE Marketing. A team of senior client-side marketing leaders, with over 30 years collective experience delivering such marketing strategies, and most importantly achieving results for large blue-chip organisations. We are well placed to guide, advise or deliver the right marketing strategy, plan and success metrics to deliver on your business objectives. But don’t take our word for it, here are some kind words people have said about us:
“Orla is a strong, strategic, marketing leader. She combines practical go to market knowledge, with a passion for understanding the needs of both customers and partners” Sarah Whipp, VP EMEA Marketing, Symantec
“Helen is an experienced global B2B marketer focused on delivering results every time. She has strong strategic skills and always questions the commercial objectives to ensure the work achieves the goal.” Katrina Lowes, Head of Marketing, Vodafone Global Enterprise