Marketing leaders must reinvigorate their field with science and discipline
in order to drive greater customer value and bottom-line results.
Shep Parke, Neil Miller, and Kevin Messer
Today, postal organizations face many challenges: remaining How does your marketing function rank compared to other
viable and relevant in the face of increased competition, improving companies' marketing functions?
the value of products and services, developing new offerings to
satisfy customers’ changing demands – to name just a few.
Better than others
Same as others
Between the dual urgency of competitive threats and customer
opportunities, the temptation to react to one or the other is strong.
Nevertheless, taking a few moments to ask, “Where to start?” is
prudent. Before responding to these challenges, leaders need to
know where to find answers and how to gain deeper understand-
ing of customer needs, including the fundamental insight of cus-
tomer choices for mail services. Once customer needs and choic-
es are understood, they then can be effectively influenced.
Traditionally, marketing is the group that helps an organization
understand customer needs and choices. But according to 19%
Accenture’s High Performance Workforce Study 2002/2003, the
biggest challenge of marketing leaders is often found inside their
own companies. Based on a survey of 200 executives, this study
revealed that marketing is not held in high regard by a large
majority of executives at organizations worldwide.
When asked to rate 11 principal corporate functions in terms of Worse than others
their contribution of value to the overall company (where 1 = no
Ranking of marketing function as compared to other
contribution and 5 = very significant contribution), executives gave
companies’ marketing functions
marketing an average rating of 3.7. By comparison, executives gave
an average rating of 4.4 for sales and 4.1 for customer service,
making these the top-ranking functions. Even
more significant, just 23 percent of executives
SHEP PARKE is a partner in the Accenture Global Customer Relationship Management
said that marketing makes a very significant
service line, specializing in large enterprise customer information management solution
contribution of value, compared with 61 percent
delivery. Mr. Parke began his career in 1980 with Procter & Gamble and in the mid-90s
for sales and 43 percent for customer service.
worked at KPMG Consulting where he helped build their Customer Value Management
Furthermore, when asked to indicate which
practice in the US.
of the 11 corporate functions they considered
most important, second-most important, and
NEIL MILLER is based in the UK and is a partner in the Accenture Global Customer
third-most important, only 21 percent said that
Relationship Management service line. Mr. Miller specializes in customer data
marketing is in the top three.
warehousing, analytics, and marketing automation design and delivery.
Finally, of those who indicated that market-
ing is one of their three most important func-
KEVIN MESSER is a senior manager in the Accenture Global Customer Relationship
tions, just 28 percent said that the marketing
Management service line and specializes in helping organizations leverage customer
function in their company performs better than
data to accelerate profit growth.
84 Pushing the Envelope
BUILDING STRONG CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
the marketing functions at other companies in their industry. In and expertise needed to design and execute various campaigns
other words, approximately 20 percent of executives believe their in a quick timeframe. The company knew that the program’s
competitors’ marketing function actually performs better than success would depend on improved ability to effectively cleanse,
their own, while 43 percent think their function operates at parity segment, and enhance its customer data. To this end, the team
within the industry. took a scientific approach by first categorizing customers into
Why does marketing get so little respect and/or support from three groups – those who had never used the company’s online
top executives around the world? Accenture believes there are service; those who used the service in the past, but had stopped;
two principal factors for this. The first factor is that many senior and those who used the service regularly, but had never pur-
executives have finance or operations backgrounds, quantitative chased bank products online.
fields from which marketing’s highly creative and somewhat intan- Accenture’s marketing accelerator platform – a prebuilt infra-
gible contributions appear to be more like art than science. The structure utilizing best-of-breed tools from leading Accenture
second factor is that marketing’s contribution is dependent on alliance partners including NCR Teradata, Acxiom, KXEN, and
other functions – especially information technology, sales, and E.piphany, and protected by four patent applications covering over
customer service – making it difficult to measure the effectiveness 100 product innovations – helped the team move from concept to
and return on investment of marketing activities. As a result, execution in only six weeks.
executives often lump marketing into the general category of Using Accenture’s Marketing Accelerator Platform, the team
overhead instead of viewing it as a function that plays a key role implemented a leading data-warehouse solution built on Teradata,
in stimulating demand and generating revenue. to enhance data quality and create a single view of the customer
base. With high-quality, precisely targeted data in hand, the team
MARKETING: A NEW APPROACH set out to generate maximum return on investment, as quickly as
Change, however, is on the horizon. Mindful of executive opinions possible. It accomplished this by using the Marketing Accelerator
of their function, increasing demand from the executive suite for Platform’s behavioral segmentation and sophisticated predictive
better return on investment from all corporate expenditures, and modeling techniques. Central to this activity was the rapid execu-
the potential impact of marketing on the company’s economic tion of multiple marketing campaigns, enabled by the marketing
value added (EVA), some pioneering companies have adopted a accelerator platform’s unique real-time, closed-loop marketing
new and more quantitative approach to marketing. This approach campaign execution and ongoing enhancement process.
is characterized by three elements: Once the campaigns began, the team constantly monitored key
• A willingness to demystify the marketing process and instill dis- metrics and improved the campaign process to drive ever-higher
cipline, science, and rigor in the function that enables marketing returns. By analyzing and optimizing the cross-channel mix of
leaders to systematically and accurately measure the tangible telephone, outbound email, and Internet advertising initiatives –
return on their portfolio of marketing activities; and by using real-time feedback analysis to modify offers and
• An understanding that marketing is responsible for rigorously creative concepts in near real-time, the program delivered better-
analyzing transaction, demographic, and market data to develop than-expected results.
deep insights into customer behavior and needs, and using By implementing this new solution, the company was able
those insights to develop more targeted campaigns to make to enjoy an integrated view of its customers across the business,
sales and customer service more effective; and to segment them, and to apply predictive modeling techniques
• An acknowledgement that the marketing organization, not sales to drive campaign success. These new capabilities directly
or customer service, is the owner of the company’s customer contributed to a number of tangible business results. Executing
data, and that the marketing leader’s role is broader and has its first campaign only six weeks after the start of the project,
potentially greater impact than ever before. the company:
• Executed 15 distinct campaigns within just four months;
An example of how this new approach has been brought to life is • Opened more than 1,600 new brokerage accounts;
a case where a major financial services company in the United • Achieved a 600 percent improvement in its outbound, calling,
States planned to launch a new online brokerage product for sale campaign, and conversion rates;
to its existing customers. Despite the success of its current • Achieved a 150 percent improvement in its conversion rate
Internet banking site, the company realized that traditional con- for email campaigns targeting existing online banking
version rates associated with its marketing efforts would not customers; and
meet the new and aggressive goals for growth. By gaining a deep- • Achieved a 200 percent improvement in its response rate for
er understanding of customer preferences and creating a capabili- email campaigns targeting offline-banking customers.
ty that would enable it to rigorously measure marketing concepts,
the company set out to determine the most effective way to create By building science and discipline into marketing, the new
higher growth in online customer response. approach helped the company improve its operational effective-
The company decided to partner with Accenture, who had a ded- ness in distinctly quantifiable ways. Not only did the state-of-the-
icated customer analytics factory, which would provide the tools art program significantly expand the bank’s marketing capacity
for its online brokerage accounts, but it also enabled the detailed are three types of crucial knowledge: 1) offerings related (in-depth
and ongoing tracking of campaign results and performance. employee understanding of the post’s products/services); 2) job
As this example illustrates, such sweeping transformational related (What’s involved in carrying out a specific role in the post?);
change to how the marketing organization operates and interacts and 3) customer related (To whom is the post selling or to whom
with other corporate functions, creates many new challenges – should it be selling? What do those individuals/businesses need?
the foremost of which is workforce related. More specifically, com- How do the post’s products and services meet those needs?).
panies that shift to such an insight-driven marketing approach
find that attention to employee skill levels can spell the difference
between success and failure. In Accenture’s experience, marketing Motivation is the second critical aspect of transforming the
organizations can greatly improve their chances of successfully marketing workforce and in many ways, the most difficult. An
adopting an insight-driven approach – and subsequently boost individual can possess the requisite knowledge and skills, yet still
their contributions of value to the organization – by ensuring that fail to make a positive contribution due to a lack of motivation.
the marketing workforce is enabled with improved technologies There are four key elements of motivation that a post must address:
and processes. Validating the maxim, “you get what you measure,” Goals. Do people know what is expected of them? Adopting a
these high performance organizations first develop a new set of new marketing model will not be successful unless the goals of
key performance objectives (KPOs) for marketing personnel that individual employees reflect and support the post’s new goals.
directly link their specific day-to-day actions and the financial and Metrics. How is performance measured? In addition to knowing
operational performance of the overall business. what is expected of them, employees must know how their
Accenture has identified seven basic, key performance objec- progress toward those goals is evaluated.
tives that marketing organizations should have: Feedback. Are people advised how they are doing? Managers
Maximize the return on marketing investment. Use integrated should provide continuous feedback to employees so their
marketing, customer, and financial data to develop, implement, employees know if they are taking the necessary steps to achieve
and monitor marketing-resource allocation strategies. their goals.
Increase brand value. Ensure that the company and its Rewards. How are people compensated? Compensation –
product or service brands hold the most value for customers and, whether it’s an annual salary, a monetary bonus, a nonmonetary
consequently, generate greater value for the company at large. reward, or a combination of the three – is a key element of motiva-
Increase the acquisition and retention of profitable customers. tion, and must be appropriately tied to achieving the new goals
Measure and then maximize the profitability of these customer laid out for the marketing organization.
Optimize the development and launch of new products. Ensure
that new products are developed and launched to maximize The context in which marketing employees do their jobs also has
tangible customer relationship value and market share. a high degree of influence on the effectiveness of the overall
Win the war for marketing talent. Attract, develop, and retain workforce. By context, we market business processes, information
the people who meet the key performance objectives of the technologies, culture, organization structure, reporting relation-
marketing function. ships, job descriptions and physical environment – most or all of
Organize the marketing function for efficiency and effectiveness. which may need to be altered or upgraded to accommodate a new
Maximize the time during which employees and activities are marketing model.
adding value to the organization.
Reduce the time to learn required competencies. Reduce the
It is indisputable that successful companies need effective
elapsed time from day-one introduction date to the time it takes
marketing organizations to understand customer needs and
for a marketing employee to meet the targeted performance level.
choices. Once understood, marketing can improve sales and
service delivery to customers. Yet today, few executives are able
For employees to achieve these objectives, organizations must
to articulate why they need marketing or the quantitative value
ensure that employees both understand and exhibit the critical,
that marketing contributes to their organization. As companies
specific corresponding behaviors. This is where training and
demand more value and return on investment from all their
human resource programs that address the three primary drivers
functions, such a situation is unacceptable. More than ever,
of behavior – ability, motivation, and context – play a key role.
marketing leaders must reinvigorate their field with science and
ABILITY discipline, not only to implement the operational and workforce
Ability comprises both knowledge (familiarity with a subject gained changes necessary to increase the tangible bottom-line impact,
through study or experience), and skills (developed proficiency or but also to adopt the metrics that will effectively assess and
dexterity that is acquired or developed). In a postal setting, there quantify this impact.
86 Pushing the Envelope