Whilst there is a lot of talk about ‘data’, big or otherwise, GDPR-compliant or otherwise, it can be hard to understand what exactly is meant by ‘data’. And, for the marketing function, it is unclear what remit, roles and responsibilities around ‘data’ can be expected of it.
Therefore, I have made an initial attempt to further break down marketing-related competencies to do with ‘data’ that I think we need to be addressing.
As you can see in the table below, I have defined seven domains, each with a brief list of related activities, and then further thoughts on the business functions likely to be involved in each domain and the job titles associated with each.
I’m publishing this now to get feedback. What do you think? Anything missing? All input welcome, just contribute your thoughts below.
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Ashley some great thoughts here for downstream marketing. What about the upstream?
Hi Laura. Can you clarify what you mean by the upstream?
Good model. It’s a small thing, but I think it would benefit from a change in order to create a more logical ‘path’. 7, 6, 2, 4, 1, 5, 3 maybe?
Thanks Joe. Interesting point. I hadn’t really thought of it as a ‘process’ or even a ‘stack’. Originally there was no numbering actually. But, yes, it might help to at least suggest something a bit more path-like. Though if I start with infrastructure and architecture I fear I might lose some of my audience before they got to point 3 😉
Ha.. yes, I did think the same thing re: infrastructure first! Tricky.
Check out the book, “Profitable Growth is Everyone’s Business,” Dr. Ram Chara, who has taught at Boston University, Northwestern University and Harvard’s Business School. He explains the difference between upstream and downstream Marketing as follows. Upstream Marketing refers to “the strategic process of identifying and fulfilling customer needs. He posits that developing clear customer segments, analyzing how the customer uses the product or service, and what competitive advantage will be required to acquire the customer is the focus of upstream Marketing. Dr. Chara defines downstream Marketing as efforts, such as advertising, promotion, brand building and other forms of communication and engagement such as PR, events, and content. He posits that the purpose of these efforts is to motivate customers to adopt existing products and services.
Hope this is helpful.
Thanks @Laura. Sounds like his “upstream” are the strategy/analysis/planning sections of my M3 model and his “downstream” are the execution elements. I think there are certainly ‘upstream’ elements in the above data competency framework. Around customer insight, segmentation models, architecture, logic. Those are much strategic/planning. Most of the ‘downstream’ stuff comes in the “measurement & optimisation” of the executional elements (particularly ‘integrated marketing comms’).
Measurement has to start at the top – in the planning.
Well begun is half done, Ashley! I also think about data in terms of process Rather than Joe’s sequence:
…..Measurement & Optimization
…..Governance & Compliance
I see everything starting with Customer Insight. This is the end goal and should drive the rest of the process.
What do you want to know?
What information will lead you to insight?
What data will you need to create that information?
How will you create an environment for data collection?
What tools and mechanism do you need to create that environment?
How will you administer all of the above?
…..Governance & Compliance
NOW, you’re ready to start collecting data and turning it into insight
…..Measurement & Optimization
That’s great. Thanks Jim. Out of interest how much of what you describe do you think is ‘marketing’ or should have the marketing function involved? I have my function/role columns which suggest there may also be a ‘Data’ sister function alongside marketing and also job titles which don’t currently existing in ‘marketing’.
I think what could perhaps be added is a domain called Data Storytelling or similar which is about harnessing data for customer facing content, campaigns and products and services. Yes, these areas are also covered under the other segments like Marketing Strategy and Integrated Marcomms, but I think you need a dedicated expert in the capabilities of data, who understands how the data can be used creatively and commercially for customers without technical limits to their imagination.
Some of the skills or tasks in this domain would be data visualisation, interactive infographics, data journalism but also data as product or service. Brands have developed content (the BA interactive billboard), products (Snickers Hungerithm) and services (Nike+) which create a customer benefit based on making data available to them.
I think you need hybrid left/right brained or your T-shaped people who can understand the art and the science of the possibilities of data – what you can do with it and how to do it.
Good question Ashely and nice additions, Richard.
I see this as a spectrum with Data Scientists on one extreme and Mad Men on the far, other side. Mad Men are intuitive and inventive and empathetic and might know very little about data. Data Scientists are dealing in raw research and may know nothing about marketing. In between we have overlapping areas of expertise with the Digital Analyst square in the middle.
Some (very few) Digital Analysts are, indeed, unicorns – they can do it all. They must because they work in resource-restricted organizations. Most Digital Analysts occupy a place on the fence, looking down into the business end of marketing execution and explaining the business needs to the data team, while trying to educate the marketing side about what’s possible with data and teaching the marketing team how to ask really good questions.
I spent 16 years producing the eMetrics Summit (with Ashley Friedlein as one of the highest rated keynoters!) as an effort to grow the digital analytics industry. The audience created the Digital Analytics Association https://DigitalAnalyticsAssociation.org which is up to 4,500 members.
Now, the best way I can help analysts, is to educate their clients – internal or external. So, we’re rebranding to the Marketing Evolution Experience https://marketingevolutionexperience.com with an eye toward lifting marketing departments from data-aware to data-literate and then up to data-savvy.
They are not going to become data scientists, but they will have a solid understanding of how data can be used to make business decisions and automate marketing – and they will learn how to better use the raw material. Think of it as Applied Science.
Great post! Where do you think the creative part should reign? Is that under Marketing Ops?
Yes Martin, I feel creative is under the auspices of Ops, but with a different progenitor. Rather than, “What do you want to know?”, the creative function is concerned with, “What customer behavior do you want to impact?”
What customer behavior do you want to impact?
What information will indicate success?
What data will you need to measure that result?
Great post Ashley, as usual. And some very good comments too. Perhaps one addition/change I’d suggest. I am sure, this is not really anything new to you as it’s been a key marketing thing since forever: marketing aligns our key strengths as a firm/company with customer needs. Thus I’d add one line to your matrix, around specification. You are already hinting at this in your infrastructure line, and in the marketing Ops line – and really I’d suggest that it may be a good idea to get IT (and even Finance (for e.g. budgeting and reporting to the investor community) and HR) involved around the customer by for example creating specifications. In other words, how does marketing help other parts of the company bring their best to ensure we all deliver the best to the customer, in the above table around data.
Thanks @geert – maybe we need a line which is something like ‘Strategy’ which could include things like organisational alignment, cross-functional buy-in etc which could cover what you are suggesting?