Why is Modern Marketing Suddenly a Cultural Challenge?

by Jane Woodling | September 27, 2017

Over the last few years, the rise of digital marketing has transformed the marketing landscape. New technologies and analytics platforms offer much more transparency into the success of tactical marketing efforts and their impact on the sales pipeline. We’re on the cusp of pure alignment of all things sales and modern marketing.

However, digital marketing advances haven’t translated into universal returns. And one of the main drivers in the disparity of marketing results comes down to a simple understanding: marketing starts with culture.

If you’re struggling with that understanding, maybe it’s best to think about marketing like sculpture.

Modern marketing begins with an assessment of rough material.

Each business has a unique combination of infrastructure, resources, and opportunities to leverage in its marketing journey. At the onset, it’s important to take an honest, objective look at your business and your strategic goals. Take time to define two things:

  1. Where you’re starting, and
  2. Where you want to go.

Your modern marketing strategy then becomes a matter of charting a course between those two definitions. If you have problems defining realistic outcomes or managing the work, that’s when you’ll need help from a marketing leader or Fractional CMO. They can help you answer questions like:

  • What’s the dedicated budget?
  • What strengths can we leverage against competitors?
  • What weaknesses do we need to address?
  • Which tactics are musts, and which are wants?
  • What resources do we have on hand, and when should we add more?
  • What staffing gaps exist?
  • What do we need to do when?

Oddly enough, at the onset, good strategy is about removing the blinders and objectively assessing your business in the present. It creates a grounded foundation on which to build.

Modern marketing is about purposeful removal of excess.

As we’ve noted many times, today’s marketing is buyer-centric, which puts businesses with company-centric processes at a disadvantage. We see this issue most often with established businesses, which have built unique processes and resources over longer spans of time.

In such a scenario, marketing becomes a cultural challenge.

Great B2B marketing is grounded on telling the truth about a business’s strengths. To be successful, a business must be able to clearly:

  • Explain how its offering solves problems,
  • Detail why its offering is better than the competition, and
  • Leverage core company strengths that will drive a buyer to purchase.

These challenges cannot be confined to the marketing department. They must become a core part of how the business operates and positions itself in the long term. If I tweak those challenges slightly, you’ll get the drift:

  • How will our offering solve future problems?
  • How will our offering be better than tomorrow’s competition?
  • What core company strengths will we need to drive buyers in our future target industries?

Every employee should be empowered to remove or optimize any processes that don’t serve prospects and customers. They should focus on their strengths. And they should focus on how they can better support prospects and customers in the years to come.

Companies that are culturally aligned have a much more effective platform for marketing. They can spend their time removing friction between their buyers and services—rather than sugarcoating flaws or shrugging off issues.

But ongoing growth means continued improvements and repairs too.

Even if you’ve aligned your business and created a fully operational modern marketing system, there’s always room for continued improvement. For example, processes can be optimized, services can be expanded, and messaging can evolve.

Ongoing challenges and opportunities are what make our Fractional CMO engagements so thrilling. At the onset, we can help companies expand their understanding of the marketing function. Throughout the journey, we can help them build stronger businesses. When they evolve, we can help them adapt their marketing to their new circumstances.

And it suits us. We’re the hammer and chisel sort.

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