How and Why Leading Companies are Embracing a New Approach to Marketing

What are marketers at the world’s most successful brands doing to…

  • become more agile
  • demonstrate ROI
  • get their campaigns out the door, faster

…and ultimately, better align strategy to budgeting, planning, and execution?

How and Why Leading Companies are Embracing a New Approach to Marketing
How and Why Leading Companies are Embracing a New Approach to Marketing

They’re turning to marketing orchestration, a transformative shift and approach towards how marketing synchronizes their teams, content, channels, workflows, and data. These interrelated elements need to work in harmony to transcend today’s challenges.

Read this article to learn how the world’s best-performing marketers — at brands like Twitter, GE Healthcare, Bank of America, and more — are harmonizing their tech stacks and supercharging their campaigns.

Table of contents

Trends in Today’s Marketing Landscape
What is marketing orchestration?
What is marketing orchestration software?
5 ways to better orchestrate your marketing efforts
How your teams will benefit from marketing orchestration

With in-person events and activations on pause indefinitely, event marketers have had to become techies overnight in their pivot to virtual events. Creatives have had to scrap plans for in-person production, forcing massive changes to campaign tactics. Client marketers have had to change their approach to sales proposals, with longer in-person sales presentations moving to shorter virtual ones. Not to mention, it’s harder than ever before to actually get the work done with noisy toddlers and pets in the background of our video calls.

Given the seemingly constant shift of priorities and go-to-market strategies, we’re left asking ourselves: What will the lasting impacts be of our remote work situation? The truth is, COVID-19 has forever changed the way marketers work together and possibly accelerated digital transformation and remote work as a way of business by 10 years or more.

Even before the pandemic, the rapid turnover of the Fortune 500 was a clear sign that companies must adapt or lose to emerging competitors and replacement products and services. These economic pressures extend to the marketing team, where leaders are constantly being asked to do more with less and remain agile. Perhaps this is one reason the average CMO tenure is just 41 months and appears to be declining.

Marketing leaders must tie their activities to real business impact to succeed, and as a result, we’re seeing four key trends emerge:

  1. Marketing faces increased scrutiny, as there’s the need to demonstrate marketing-influenced revenue to justify budgets and headcount. The days of vanity and volume metrics are no longer acceptable by the C-suite.
  2. Then there’s the explosion of martech tools available — we’re seeing heavy investment and deployment of point solutions, with a staggering 8,000 on the market. According to a 2020 Sirkin Research survey, marketing leaders are expecting to continue investment in martech solutions as we approach 2021. This Sirkin Research is further supported by Gartner’s The Annual CMO Spend Survey Research 2020, which examines how CMOs have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and their plans to regain their ROI.
  3. Unlike other front-office functions, such as Sales, where each role is similar in nature, Marketing is becoming a collection of specialists. The average marketing organization now has more than 20 specialized functions, often leading to silos and raising coordination costs, as teams navigate complicated workflows between teams.
  4. As a result of all of this complexity, we’re seeing the fast emergence of maestro marketing functions – cross-functional change agents who are commonly part of Marketing Operations, Integrated Marketing, or Global Marketing and tasked with fostering collaboration between a range of specialist roles and geographies. These maestro roles are becoming increasingly critical in making operations transparent, efficient, and accountable. They work on both sides of the balance sheet, both improving marketing results and reducing costs. While the creation of this function has been a step in the right direction, what’s become clear is maestros can’t be fully effective without the right technology in place to help them orchestrate.

The side effects of these trends include team disorientation, slower campaign launches, and a blurry return on investment. So what are the most successful brands in the world doing to become more agile, effectively demonstrate ROI, accelerate campaign execution, and ultimately, better align strategy to budgeting, planning, and execution?

They are turning to Marketing Orchestration as a holistic approach to solving these issues.

What is marketing orchestration?

Marketing orchestration is a holistic approach that enables organizations to execute higher-quality campaigns faster and save valuable budget and resources. Through the effective orchestration of technologies, marketing channels, data, and teams, marketers can focus more time on the creative itself, without countless administrative bottlenecks and headaches. Planning calendars, creative assets, campaign status, and performance insights are readily available to the entire team in a centralized place. Ultimately, by aligning strategy to proper execution, marketers can demonstrate meaningful results.

Marketing orchestration is a transformative shift and approach towards how marketing synchronizes their teams, content, channels, workflows, and data. These interrelated elements need to work in harmony to transcend today’s challenges.

What is marketing orchestration software?

Marketing orchestration software is a tool used to enable a holistic approach to orchestrate marketing. This software is the evolution and union of several legacy software categories, including marketing resource management (MRM), marketing project management, digital asset management (DAM), content marketing platform (CMP), and marketing performance reporting. Like a conductor needs a baton to orchestrate dozens of musicians playing different instruments, a marketing maestro needs marketing orchestration software to centralize the functions of disparate systems.

Unlike generic project management or work management software solutions, marketing orchestration software is purpose-built for the specific challenges of marketing organizations. Marketing orchestration software is effectively the connective tissue between disparate marketing technologies, marketing teams, and marketing workflows to simplify all aspects of campaign ideation, creation, management, and deployment for faster speed to market and meaningful insights on ROI and resourcing.

5 ways to better orchestrate your marketing efforts

Re-inventing Team Operations: How to break down silos and enable marketers’ true potential

A staggering 74% of marketers have poor visibility into resource bandwidth and competing priorities, which makes it difficult to know what campaigns are being created, already exist, or how to find them, according to our 2020 survey with Sirkin Research.

On the flip side, imagine what it would do for your team if you were able to more effectively distribute the workload. Imagine if you were able to provide each person with a clear role and objective and create widespread visibility for campaigns so that everyone knows what everyone else was working on. Teammates would collaborate much more effectively. They would create better content with newfound time on their hands. And, ultimately, you’d alleviate the very real risk of burnout, which has affected nearly 70% of professionals during the pandemic.

What’s more: Simplified operations and well-allocated resources are a prerequisite to resonant marketing campaigns that move the needle for the business. You can’t have one without the other. What’s good for your people is good for your bottom line; a synchronized marketing organization will create a more compelling customer experience.

A marketing orchestration tool will help Marketing Operations to benchmark and set quantitative goals for teams’ productivity. Operational Analytics reports several steps, time for each step, and overall time-to-market for creative assets and campaigns as a whole. These insights help leaders determine how efficiently resources are being used so they can minimize bottlenecks – giving creatives more time to do their best work. And by including Operational Analytics as part of campaign reporting, leaders will finally be able to clearly establish that efficiency gains are having a positive impact on the business.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing people operations – it’s highly specific to the organization, industry, geography, and several other factors. Re-establishing ways of working together start with interviews with team leads for an in-depth assessment of current state processes. It will likely call for some reassignments and the establishment of a Center of Excellence to oversee big-picture brand work and establish an operational framework. Though labor-intensive, creating a documented framework is a necessary step to giving each person a clear understanding of their individual KPIs and responsibilities, what tools to use, the steps in the campaign production process as well as an understanding of what all the other teams are focused on. New hires benefit greatly from such a playbook, making the onboarding process much easier for their managers and peers.

Case Study: Wellmark

Once you’ve got a framework for how everyone should work, automated technology for planning, collaboration and measurement will bring the vision to fruition. Using Welcome, insurance provider Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield set up standard workflows, content templates, automated timelines, and one shared calendar. Migrating from 50 disparate and confusing calendar systems to one shared view doubled their efficiency, allowing marketers to complete 7 to 15 tasks per week and avoid administrative tasks such as emails, status update meetings, and manual spreadsheet reporting.

On a broader scale, the marketing orchestration tool enabled Marketing Operations to understand individuals’ efficiency at specific tasks so they can better manage everyone’s workloads.

Improving Content Operations: Implement processes to scale & govern consistent experiences

Marketers are spending more time and money than ever before creating content and launching campaigns, yet a surprisingly large chunk of polished, ready-to-launch content is never seen. Enterprises spend between $150 million and $250 million on content each year, but 60% of all content produced is never distributed, according to the Content Marketing Institute. That’s in part because of how long it takes to bring a piece of content to market; according to our research, 77% of marketers say it takes on average 8 weeks or more to launch a single campaign, as administrative bottlenecks slow speed to market.

Marketers spend more time manually updating spreadsheets, emailing stakeholders for approval, and providing status updates than they spend being creative. By the time they are finally ready to hit publish on an e-book or a blog post after an eight-week process, they find that a very similar piece of content has already been published by another team or that there’s new messaging that needs to be incorporated, rendering time and effort wasted. Content waste has a significant impact on people’s resources, but it can be mitigated with the right processes in place.

But where to begin with revolutionizing the way your organization works? For GE Healthcare, Litteer says it started simply with getting all of the regional and business units leads aligned with the idea of adopting a centralized tool where everyone had visibility into ideation, calendar planning, and could easily find when and where an asset ran.

Once she had buy-in and team leads agreed to champion a solution, she established what they call a “Tiger Team” – an editorial board with representatives from every major area of the marketing organization – that would develop an integrated approach to content production and approvals. This team established workflow standards created a unified editorial playbook for more consistent messaging as well as developed a shared taxonomy to organize how assets are tagged for easier filtering and measurement. This way, if a team in EMEA wants to localize a blog post by a U.S. team, they’re able to find it quickly and painlessly. While regional teams are focused on their individual editorial calendars, the Tiger Team examines content across all regions to avoid duplication of efforts.

“It took a long time to get everyone aligned and change how we worked, but the value of changing in the longer term was absolutely critical to our success,” Litteer says. Her teams abandoned a cobbled-together set of tools for content production: PowerPoint, Box, and SmartSheet, for the marketing orchestration platform.

“Previously, our global team would develop several assets, and when they were done, they would pull a distribution list, send an email to get it approved, then send IT a link to a Box folder for publishing and never know what happened next,” Litteer said. “Now it’s simple. We create the brief, put it on the Calendar, create the content, get it approved, publish and measure it in one place.”

Case Study: GE Healthcare

When Mary Litteer was first promoted to her role as Head of Global Content and Campaigns at GE Healthcare in 2018, the organization’s biggest issue in reaching customers was that their content was too product-centric, and they needed more top-of-funnel campaigns. “But very quickly I realized what we needed to do would be much more transformational,” she says.

“We had silos by franchise and region, and due to the regulated nature of our business, we were siloed every which way. We have 1,000 marketers across the entire organization,” Litteer says. Marketers were not ideating together or sharing content, and there was no place to house all assets and coordinate where it was being published.

“Content was everywhere and it was nowhere,” she says. “Most of our businesses are speaking to the same audience persona, so we were competing with ourselves.”

Litteer was hardly alone in this challenge. At most large companies, each team has its own tools and methods of working, which convolutes holistic campaign management and hinders visibility and creative collaboration. With so many marketers working independently, items become easily lost or buried in emails, resulting in missed opportunities to cross-link, promote, and amplify related content.

After implementing a centralized orchestration technology and establishing a Center of Excellence, the organization was finally able to create high performing content faster, at scale.

Better Channel Flow: Strategic collaboration between channel teams accelerate campaigns

The global pandemic forced marketers to adopt new channels to better reach customers who are no longer commuting to work and walking past billboard ads, in their cars listening to radio ads, or attending conferences. Virtual events gained immediate popularity as a means to reach people who were stuck at home all the time. According to our research, 78% of marketing leaders indicated an increase in the creation of virtual events, and 67% of marketers expect an increase in webinars. Seemingly overnight, organizations purchased these platforms, were trained on how to use them, and had to establish new internal processes.

And even before the pandemic, marketers had to navigate a bevy of disparate tools for each customer touchpoint. According to our research with Sirkin, 78% of marketers must use 5 or more tools to plan, manage, and execute their campaigns, and 69% don’t have a single place for managing, discovering, or quickly repurposing content.

To paint a very simple example, the social media team might use social listening and publishing tools, while trade marketers just adopted a new webinar platform. The demand generation team uses Marketo for company email blasts. The brand’s agency sends marketing managers blog posts in Dropbox files for manual publishing on WordPress. None of these technologies talk to each other and each group has a unique workstream. With a multitude of channels and no singular view for planning, project management, publishing, or measurement, it’s very challenging to create a consistent customer experience across paid and owned experiences. And there are real business implications: the impact of an inconsistent experience is lower buyer consideration and fewer conversions generated. Conversely, purchase intent improves by 90% when consumers view consistent messaging across multiple channels, according to the IAB.

The most progressive organizations are shifting to fully integrated platforms where hundreds of marketers can carry out their daily tasks and have visibility into what everyone else is working on. For Panasonic Mobility, an integrated solution was imperative for multiple teams producing various types of content for 6-8 niche verticals. Today, social and creative teams plan their calendars together using Idea Lab, a one-stop source for content research in the marketing orchestration tool, to verify search demand and discover new opportunities to engage audiences. The creative team creates Campaign Briefs for writers, designers, and videographers to begin work, setting due dates and assigning owners to specific tasks, while the social team schedules weeks’ worth of copy and assets for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Task Management notifications hold all users accountable for their deadlines. Analytics allow everyone to makes data-backed decisions on how to best iterate content and social strategies. A shared Calendar makes it easy for individuals to find what has gone live and what’s to come, and a shared Library allows teams to repurpose images, graphics, and videos.

“Content marketing at first seemed so insurmountable,” Susan Campbell, marketing group manager at Panasonic Mobility, says. “To see how far we’ve come is one of the most rewarding things to look back on. It wasn’t so easy, but not that hard, either. And we’re better off having made that investment.”

Additionally, an investment in an integrated solution allows marketing leaders to rationalize, consolidate, and integrate existing tech investments, lowering the total cost of the entire martech stack.

Integrated Martech Stack: Streamline the transfer of content and data with a centralized source of truth

When considering purchasing a new marketing platform, one of the most important considerations for marketing leaders is how well it integrates natively with the rest of the martech stack. For a simpler experience overall, marketing teams will greatly benefit from having their content management system, outside analytics tools, digital asset manager, marketing automation tool, CRM and social tools talk to one another. A few of the benefits include:

  • Automating processes and publishing: With template workflows in the marketing orchestration tool, establishing owners and due dates for each step of the production process is instantaneous. Users can flexibly set up different workflows for publishing to each platform, seamlessly accommodating to how each team works. Rather than having to log in to each social media account or various CMS, users can efficiently publish directly through an integrated tool.
  • An easy-to-understand aggregate view of data: Through integrations with platforms such as Marketo and Salesforce, it’s easy for users to understand the full customer journey – from the time a user consumes a piece of content, to when they download an asset or sign up for an email newsletter, up until they make a purchase. Team leaders can also view how productive their contributors are with Operational Analytics that take the guesswork out of resource management. The simple interface arms all users, including executives searching for top-line numbers, with data to make better decisions in real-time. Without a marketing orchestration tool, this type of data either doesn’t exist at all, or it sits with individual team owners or IT, who don’t always have time to share it.
  • Reducing IT’s involvement: Built-in integrations eliminate the need for internal IT resources to develop custom integrations or create aggregate data lakes, which take time and resources away from bigger issues facing your organization.

Full-Picture Performance Analytics: Unify data layers for meaningful real-time reporting

Rapid change is the new normal, and marketers need to make decisions quickly that are anchored in data. Access to data often isn’t the issue, as each platform in the stack generates its own analytics, and many large organizations have their own proprietary data tools. The issue lies with having to manually combine data from separate sources to patch together a story for leadership or make day-to-day decisions. Even more problematic, marketers have loads of data but not the right data. Marketers often aren’t armed with the performance metrics that matter; 82% struggle to attribute campaigns to revenue, making it difficult to determine what tactics are working and maximize future investments, according to our research.

This inability to measure ROI and gain an unbiased view of how much was accomplished puts leaders behind the curve in both financial and strategic business conversations.

Long gone are the days where vanity metrics are the only reporting measure. The next chapters of digital transformation are directly tied to our ability to glean meaningful insights on how campaigns are moving the needle for the business.

A marketing orchestration tool provides a window into how engaged viewers are, what actions they’re taking, and whether their e-book download leads them to purchase your product a month later. In the end, a marketing orchestration tool helps you to qualify leads more accurately, allowing marketers to pass along leads to Sales that are deep in the consideration phase. For Marketing Operations, the tool will help decide which projects to assign individuals to and easily uncover operational inefficiencies that are getting in the way.

After working with Welcome to implement best practices across SEO, SEM, and email, GuideSpark was able to drive more than 42,000 page views (from 30,000 unique visitors) in the first 10 months of launching their hub Engage. By utilizing strategically-placed CTAs throughout the content hub, the team generated nearly 100 high-quality leads, ultimately culminating in new business that delivered 3 return times their investment – data they wouldn’t have had without the marketing orchestration tool.

How your teams will benefit from marketing orchestration

No matter what a marketer’s role is in an organization, one thing is certain in the profession: Work feels chaotic at times. Marketers are not sitting down to complete a singular task and moving on to the next. They’re balancing a wide range of items simultaneously. They have 15+ Internet tabs open at any given time, and throughout the day they’re bouncing between emails, an ever-changing to-do list, spreadsheets for project updates, Word documents, analytics tools, and many other systems. This form of extreme multitasking isn’t efficient or effective for anyone.

Creating customer-centric campaigns that reflect positively influenced revenue is difficult as it is. When you layer an unsystematic, disorderly execution on top of that, you really stack the cards against Marketing. Transforming how teams work isn’t easy, but adopting an automated marketing orchestration technology vastly increases your chance of success in the following ways:

  • Taking the guesswork out of resource management: Assign people and teams to the right projects and tasks to ensure strategic alignment and optimally allocate everyone’s time.
  • Streamlining complex workflows for faster campaign launches: Make the approval process faster with automated processes that keep all stakeholders accountable.
  • Maintaining control over all marketing plans: Gain visibility into the minutiae of content planning, production status, and budgets as well as the status of larger campaigns across different business units and regions.
  • Synchronizing disparate tools and systems: Streamline the flow of content between channels and data for a holistic view of performance, resulting in an easier work experience.
  • Demonstrating meaningful results: Whether the goal is to drive greater operational efficiency, understand the user’s journey down the funnel on your website, or measure the ROI of content and campaigns, a marketing orchestration technology helps to surface the metrics that matter most.

Source: Welcome Software