Marketing: A Key Driver in Cross-Functional Collaboration

Helena Mah

Recent events have taught us many new things, among others they have also shown us how we can collaborate differently. Be more agile working in smaller dynamic teams, be innovative, and creative while searching for new opportunities. Be in some cases even more efficient and productive by leveraging the technology better. It is on us now to take these learnings, roll up our sleeves, and shift into higher gear to restart the economy again.

Business landscapes are evolving, and many companies have begun to realize the huge potential of marketing in guiding corporate-level strategies and substantially contributing to the financial bottom line. With in-depth knowledge about markets and customers, marketers should act as a resource supporting corporate strategy design – what markets to compete in, what segments to target, how to enter, and what strategy to adopt, which partners to strategically ally with to seize customer opportunities and influence their behavior.

Marketing organizations are expected to deliver revenue by combining the science of data and the art of marketing. To be able to influence business growth there are a few critical elements to consider with modern marketing.


Customer experience ownership - championing the customer’s voice

CMO as a collaborator can lead the change and drive world-class experiences, but marketing can’t do it alone. Experiences are created along the complete customer journey and brand/product lifecycle. To deliver end-to-end customer experience excellence, a modern marketing organization needs to start working as a collaborator across the board and bring different stakeholders together around knowledge of the customer.

When putting a Customer in the center of everything that the company does, a marketing organization needs to become agile. Discussion is not anymore about what marketing does, it is about transforming how the work is being done. It used to mean broad offerings and experiences across large customer segments. Today the goal is to better leverage data from customer interactions and use these insights to better meet customer needs and deliver relevant value to the segment of One.

Marketing is often best placed to listen, understand, and deliver fact-based insights about customer experience, champion the customer’s voice in strategic decisions, and advocate for customer expectations. While the entire organization is responsible for experience delivery, marketing can act as “a glue” overcoming the siloing of departments, take the lead on governing the experiences across the entire organization, while keeping the focus on consistent approach high on our daily agenda.


Marketing excellence - a modern marketing leader dilemma

 With requests coming from multiple directions and expectations for delivery being high, it is crucial to set strategic team objectives toward the desired results. But how to prioritize and balance short-term wins vs. long-term strategic initiatives? How to keep your customers, organization, and stakeholders satisfied while ensuring the internal processes and solutions are in place to support them?

Marketing operations should be designed

- to support effectiveness, measured by ROI and customer-engagement metrics.

- to reduce complexity, ensuring that spending, technology, processes are all managed to deliver maximum impact.

- to enable the use of data-led innovation and empower more informed business decisions.

When translating customer insights into the language of business, marketing can increase acceptance and better influence other departments' participation in joint initiatives. By speaking the same language, marketing can work as a lever to actively drive customer obsession and create closer internal connections, while remaining flexible to constantly evolve.


Data and technology - an obsession for looking ahead

 Technology application

- helps automate data collection and enables a better understanding of customer insights.

  • shapes customer experiences through better targeting and delivery of value, depending on where customers are on their journey.
  • enables teams to scale their efforts and provides visibility on outcomes.

Ultimately with its adoption and usage, technology is designed to help automate our daily routines and give us time back. This way we can focus on the impact we are creating, learn and evolve from there. Unfortunately, data assets are still often being underutilized to seize personalization opportunities. Therefore, Marketing should put higher attention to better understanding current customers and learn how to keep them, or how to attract new.

Unlocking the potential for customer connectivity and alignment of metrics with company ambition will help the entire organization understand how customer experience and ensure that net promoter scores are linked to company performance.


Collaborate cross-functionally to foster change

Forrester's research showed that already 87% of organizations agree that traditional experiences are no longer enough to satisfy customers for the company to stand out and seize the benefits of being the best in their industry. Customer obsessed organizations are constantly evolving to meet the shifting needs of their customers and have thus managed to increase customer loyalty, improve their market shares, and strengthened financial returns.

The creation of exceptional customer experiences requires collaboration. Therefore, CMO collaborator can no longer rely on tried and tested practices, but rather ensure and champion a customer-first mindset across the organization, pull in different departments, and empower teams to rally around the customer.

A decentralized agile approach is needed to be able to operate at speed. Dynamic flexible teams must have the support to connect with purpose, to work together on joint initiatives and projects between departments, to use customer insights for collaboration on topics that add value to their work and thus help each other in reaching personal goals.

 To deliver future success, generate revenue, and influence profit, marketers must be empowered to innovate and build on the knowledge, be brave in technology adoption to be able to scale and achieve customer-centricity. Be the first to connect and foster collaboration.

Marketing transformations are about a culture change, where goals are not just individual when efforts and achievements are based on teamwork, team performance, and accountability.

Helena Mah is a senior executive who takes a vision and makes it a reality. She intuitively understands the threads of opportunity through an organization and brings them together into a coherent strategy. In her 20 years long international career Helena inspired action and empowered individuals to unlock their potential and innovate to accelerate growth. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, establishing strategic partnerships and flexible while adjusting to changing priorities, Helena is a true team member.

Currently, as a Management and Business Consultant Helena is supporting international and ambitious companies in a definition of their Business and Commercial strategy for higher impact, supporting organizational evolution while enabling innovation and customer value, spearheading major strategic transformations through digitalization and technology adoption.

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