5 Ways to Make Marketing More Strategic


Share on LinkedIn

As Marketing departments are taking a bigger role in customer experience management, a more holistic perspective will allow your company rise to the top of the field. Supporting the entire customer lifecycle, for example, is a goal that most Marketing organizations are still grappling with. Everyone acknowledges that customer retention is more cost-effective than acquisition, yet Marketing tends to put the majority of its resources in awareness-building and sales conversion. Resources dedicated to post-purchase customer experience management tend to be repurchase campaigns and loyalty programs. There’s so much more opportunity to be reaped, and so much more nurturing that can be done, yet it’s not just a matter of throwing more resources at it, but rather, managing Marketing more holistically through-and-through.

Marketing can easily get stuck in the weeds of executing plans, fire-fighting unexpected dilemmas, and jumping on new ideas. In the constant treadmill of daily life, marketers may be missing high-value opportunities. What’s needed is more than high-level thinking, or creating your annual plan, or thinking out-of-the-box.

“Strategic” simply means something is directly aimed at achieving what a whole organization, system, or venture depends upon. It’s steering the ship, future-oriented, and widely empowering.

Here are 5 ways Marketing can increase strategic impact.

It’s all about connecting: goals, people, metrics, processes, and data.

1. Connect to Enterprise Goals
Context is the mantra for making something strategic. When everyone sees a clear connection between what you’re doing and what the enterprise wants to become you’ll be viewed as adding strategic value.

Take a look at your corporation’s strategic objectives and find a way to articulate the connection between each thing Marketing is doing toward them. If you find it a bit difficult for any Marketing endeavor, that’s probably a sign that things are becoming tangential rather than value-adding, at least from the viewpoint of key stakeholders who hold Marketing’s purse strings. Keep the strategic connection front-and-center for everyone so they’ll rise to the occasion in that strategic context.

2. Connect People
People will always be the source of innovation and productivity, and people working in silos is not strategic, especially when silo work outputs are mis-matched, duplicated, reinvent the wheel, or get scrapped.

Take a look at who’s doing what, keep your ear to the ground for opportunities to introduce people to each other, and help them find simple ways to coordinate and collaborate together. It will always be easier and more successful when you suggest people connections in the context of striving for enterprise goals as common ground and shared vision.

3. Connect Metrics
Metrics shape perceptions and behaviors, so they’re powerful toward helping the enterprise become what it wants to become — or not. One of the most overlooked opportunities to get more strategic value from your metrics is to connect them across a Marketing process.

Take a look at a Marketing area that’s closely tied to enterprise goals, and dissect what that Marketing area does: tracking outputs might be obvious, but how about tracking the inputs that area relies upon? And what about the early warning signals that tell you whether that area is on-course or in danger of veering off course? Connect those metrics from inputs to warning signals to process outputs to market performance, and you’ve got a strategic machine that’s eye-opening and empowering to doers and stakeholders alike.

4. Connect Processes
Processes that are well-designed and connected can free-up resources, improve work-flow, and keep everyone accountable to one another. Broken processes cause lots of waste: precious time and budget, patience, lost opportunities, turnover, blind spots, and so forth. Silo processes face the same risks.

Take a look at everything Marketing does as a flow, and see what epiphanies emerge. For example, the Market Research function’s outputs may provide important inputs to the Demand Gen function’s processes, which may provide important inputs into Sales processes, which may provide important inputs to the Market Research function. Not everything is circular, but a lot of things could probably have more connectivity and flow than your current processes are allowing. Connect processes within each functional area, and between functional areas, and you’ll find new ways to create strategic value.

5. Connect Data
Data spells power when it’s connected to paint compelling pictures, to see insightful patterns, and to show connections between X, Y and Z. In and of itself, any data point may be useful, but when you connect data, the value can become exponential.

Take a look at various sources of similar data and see what emerges when you connect disparate sources to see more angles on the data. Take a look around the company at other functional areas that may have data that could augment yours. For example, design teams often collect certain types of customer data, and the branding teams collects related customer data: why not share across groups? There’s a treasure trove of strategic direction to be gained by busting data silos.

Yes, busting silos is an awesome path toward making Marketing strategic. It will propel others’ perceptions of you as being strategic more quickly than anything else, short of being crowned champion of a strategic initiative per se. Silo-busting in the ways described above is something you can do without waiting for a formal decree.

Make it your goal this year to connect goals, people, metrics, processes or data, and you’ll find big pluses in productivity, morale, employee tenure and career paths, accolades from your stakeholders, and most importantly, big strides with customer relationship strength. Connecting the dots is vital to keep your Marketing organization thriving, and customers buying and evangelizing.

Join our webcast announcement, officially launching the Marketing Future Forum as a mission critical tool for your Marketing organization’s success in the future. Leap forward on Leap Day, February 29th, 1-1:30 ET. Register now at http://ow.ly/YDCV1 to ready your Marketing organization for the future.


ClearAction and Marketing Operations Partners are sister companies, with Lynn Hunsaker heading both consultancies. She and Gary Katz (chairman and chief strategy officer of Marketing Operations Partners) are the architects of the Marketing Future Forum, based on guidance from marketing executives in leading corporations.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker is 1 of 5 CustomerThink Hall of Fame authors. She built CX maturity via customer experience, strategic planning, quality, and marketing roles at Applied Materials and Sonoco. She was a CXPA board member and SVAMA president, taught 25 college courses, and authored 6 CXM studies and many CXM handbooks and courses. Her specialties are B2B, silos, customer-centric business and marketing, engaging C-Suite and non-customer-facing groups in CX, leading indicators, ROI, maturity. CX leaders in 50+ countries benefit from her self-paced e-consulting: Masterminds, Value Exchange, and more.


  1. @ Lynn Hunsaker

    Thanks.. for sharing this information .It’s really useful for me..

    Regards: Raj Sharma

  2. Great Article Lynn! I’m going to follow your tips, hope it help me to increase my business. Keep Sharing 🙂

  3. Lynn, I really agree with you about busting silos. It is helpful for marketers in creating effective markeing strategies. Thank you so much for explaining this in depth.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Samantha and Parmveer. Connecting the dots in these 5 areas is the essence of “more mature customer-centric marketing” as I’ve explained in my latest article: Customer-Centric Marketing: Step-Up Performance.

    Statistics from a study across 25 years show that these maturity factors do indeed lead to higher business performance. So many resources and opportunities are wasted by allowing these silos to continue.
    3 Ultimate Factors of Business Performance.

    I’ve developed a marketing management maturity model, assessment, roadmap and playbooks for a holistic path toward making what’s described in “5 Ways to Make Marketing More Strategic” come to life and thrive. The maturity model is described in Marketing Maturity Mobilizes Customer Experience Mojo.

  5. Thanks for Supporting the entire customer lifecycle. Everyone acknowledges that customer retention is more cost-effective than acquisition, yet Marketing tends to put the majority of its resources in awareness-building and sales conversion.

  6. Thanks, Lynn
    you are right and this is the best strategy to develop more audience for any business and you give many great points in your article. I really loved your content keep posting this type of article Thanks.

  7. Thanks for commenting, Pooja and Mohit. Connecting the dots across these areas is vital to scalability, and is one of the smartest things to do in booms as well as times of austerity.

  8. I am on the same page with Parmveer, totally agree with him.
    Great Post Lynn, most of the times these strategies are overlooked.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here