Three Legs of Marketing (circa 2019)

Building an effective marketing team requires an informed perspective on the key functions and their activities. Establishing this perspective can be a challenge, given the rate of change in the digital era. So with all due humility, I offer up one view, summarized with this picture:

In the above view, marketers assess the competitive landscape to identify sources of differentiation, develop the story to make people aware of, and lay the path for them to convert into customers. For any customer journey enabled by software, the continuous optimization of this loop is a vital source of advantage. Imagine three legs of a relay, rather than a stool.

How does marketing run such a race? Here’s a simple breakdown of key activities along each leg:

Product marketers conventionally run the first leg, formulating strategic hypotheses informed by research and data. Continuing the metaphor, they hand off a “baton” of key messaging points to the story tellers. Brand marketers traditionally communicate the story and design it for promotion across multiple mediums. They hand off creative assets to what once were called performance or direct response marketers. In the digital era, these people have morphed into growth hackers, demand generators, conversion rate optimizers and their analytic ilk. Their experiments along the customer journey fuel a rerun of the first leg. And so the modern marketing relay continues, in perpetuity.

If this picture holds, a profile of the modern CMO emerges. Agree? Have a different picture? Please share!

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