The spokesperson Mr. Biswajit Das, Co-Founder, Brandintelle
It was during an ideation session in May 2015 that we realised that the sheer range of options for marketing has multiplied geometrically - addressing different consumer behaviour across various target groups & markets.
And with digitisation on the rise, the consumers’ awareness of their choices had gone up exponentially.
All this had led to greater competition. Which had made brands become more serious about their marketing investments - to stay ahead of the competition.
It was clear that like the rest of the world, marketing has become infinitely more complex.
No one can deny that saying ahead of the competition has certainly become more complex!
Unified Processes for Marketing
Despite being a significant investment of the corporate world, marketing never got its unified processes automated unlike the other critical functions.
Most organisations even then, had well-defined finance processes enforced through a Finance module. Production & distribution platforms were equally structured, with activities being monitored through dedicated software modules. But when it came to Marketing, there was no cohesive, unified process for all Marketing activities across the enterprise.
Assuming that Marketing & Promotions consumed an average of 10% of the topline of any business, this was nothing short of astounding!
Already, Marketing involves too many diverse activities from digital to multiple media, to activation, events, influencers & ambassadors, promotion schemes … along with tracking, monitoring, auditing & market research.
Further, all these activities were spread across the various stakeholders at the brand owner’s end - from Corporate Communications to Central Marketing, Marketing Planning to Brand Marketing to Product Management to Regional Marketing, Dealers/Franchisees to Sales to Procurement, Finance, Distribution, etc.
And to add to the complications, over 90% of marketing activities were outsourced to multiple vendors, in piecemeal. (A little over a decade ago, practically every Marketing activity was routed through a single, trusted advertising agency!)
A Case for Central Marketing Platform
How do you orchestrate all the numerous marketing activities across the enterprise without synchronised process automation was impossible! That’s why marketing activities seemed opaque to other departments & marketing investments were looked at as “not well accounted for.”
In reality, the CMO designate did not have a real time view of marketing investments & activities across the enterprise - simply because the sheer width of activities & spread of markets, semi-manual processes & people dependencies made marketing data almost invisible to the enterprise.
What’s needed is unified & integrated process automation for all aspects of marketing operations - media, digital, BTL - with dedicated processes for central & regional workflows as well as incentive-based marketing.
Howsoever useful that may be, if that were the limited objective of a Central Marketing Platform, then it would rightfully not justify too much attention.
Financial Control, Improve Efficiency & Track Effectiveness
The real objective of a Central Marketing Platform must be threefold:
Better financial Controls
Higher Efficiency &
Unified, integrated marketing processes across the enterprise ensures tight financial control by way of
Adherence to budgets
Selective data visibility
As far as efficiency of marketing teams goes, we may note that marketing teams are traditionally miniscule in size compared to the marketing investments that they manage. This make the need to outsource most activities very clear.
Now, outsourcing & virtual collaboration went hand in hand - even before the pandemic. So, the workflow automation must be based on virtual collaboration, which is integrated with the transactions processing.
Coming to tracking marketing effectiveness, this need was always clear. But this is where the overall process faltered.
Here are 3 ways in which a Central Marketing Platform can help achieve this:
It can be extended to a marketing data lake which could be the repository for all sales, marketing & competition data.
It could ensure data visible via dashboards for insights.
Further, the ready data could be used for frequent analytics exercises which could be converted into deep insights via custom dashboards.
Finally, another way of looking at a Central Marketing Platform is an enabler which helps Marketing to transition from a jerky, stepwise process of Planning - Operations & Insights to a continuous, seamless, process.