Six governing considerations to modernize marketing

Most chief marketing officers (CMOs) understand that the utilization of data, analyses, and algorithms to personalize marketing drives value. Concept tests are becoming more efficient, customer approaches are being accelerated, and revenues are quadrupling in certain channels (Exhibit 1). All the evidence suggests that marketing functions should invest in, collect, and analyze available data to support their decision making.

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No wonder, then, that one in three CMOs is driving a digitization initiative with high personal involvement, according to a McKinsey survey. Despite notable successes, digital marketing has often stalled in a trial phase for years in many companies. Why is that? We find that the managers responsible often blame it on culture and legacy behavioral patterns (Exhibit 2). These soft factors lie far ahead of technical issues, such as IT infrastructure and data availability, which is not surprising. It is easy enough to buy a new server for the customer database, and even new customer-relationship-manager software is quickly installed. But how does one change the attitudes and behaviors of those who use the technology?

We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com Based on our experience from a multitude of digital engagements, modernizing the marketing organization to unlock the full potential of the digital revolution requires business leaders to address six considerations.

1. How to centralize guidance and oversight

2. How to bring together marketing and IT (heart and brain)

3. How to build collaboration and agility

4. How to reinvent HR to meet talent demands

5. How to build flexibility into resource planning

6. How to make cultural change a continuous task

Modernizing marketing is a process that relies on multiple factors for success. Only by understanding what these are and by focusing on how to address them can marketers hope to get real value from digital. An earlier version of this article was published in the December 2018 issue of McKinsey’s German-language consumer journal Akzente.

About the authors: Patrick Guggenberger is a consultant in McKinsey’s Vienna office, Miriam Lobis is a partner in the Berlin office, and Patrick Simon and Kai Vollhardt are partners in the Munich office.

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