Modernizing Your Marketing and Staying AheadMarch 10, 2016
MIMA March Meetup RecapApril 6, 2016
The media and marketing landscape has transformed dramatically in the past decade. Yet, most marketing departments look and operate largely the same way today as they did 10 years ago. Outdated legacy structures are limiting our potential as modern-day marketers. Whether you work for a Fortune 500 firm, a growing start-up, a non-profit organization or an agency trying to evolve its business model, this is a challenge that we are all facing in some way or another.
At our March monthly event on March 16, we learned how one of the country’s largest B2B companies is adapting and becoming a modern marketing organization. Tami Reller, Chief Marketing Officer of Optum (Division of UnitedHealth Group), discussed how her team has taken Optum’s marketing to the next level, from the planning stages to implementation.
Below are some of the biggest actionable takeaways from Tami’s presentation.
What is Modern Marketing?
Modernizing marketing is a monumental task for any organization, but you cannot reach a moving target unless you first define what modern marketing means to your organization. Tami outlined Optum’s vision for modern marketing by looking at the following 5 principles:
- Technology – Prioritizing digital, mobile, and social ensures a modern “face” to the company externally.
- Business/Strategy – Marketing needs to be a trusted partner to the business across boundaries.
- Customers – Bring the customer perspective into everything marketing does.
- Data – Make data-driven marketing decisions.
- Brand – Define the brand, not just externally but also internally. Defining the brand for employees allows them to be your best ambassadors.
Steps to Modernizing Marketing
Defining what modern marketing means for your organization is just one step in the process. Below are additional steps and considerations to begin the journey to modern marketing:
- Make a case for change
- Define what modern marketing means (see above)
- Determine and communicate your marketing purpose (for example, for Optum, a major marketing purpose was to inspire trust)
- Determine and communicate marketing deliverables
- Decide how to run the program
- Implement organizational design
Tami also shared some of the guiding principles that helped Optum move their marketing forward.
- Prioritize and invest in people, such as providing training, closing skills gaps, communicating regularly within the department, etc. If you hire the best people and invest in them, they will take care of customers.
- Bring the customer perspective into everything you do
- Think globally
- Partner with excellence (both internally and externally)
- Challenge the status quo
- Believe that leadership happens on all levels
- Measure, learn, and continuously improve
- Believe that new ideas come from everywhere
- Have fun and find your work full of purpose
- Trust and support each other
Communicate Your Marketing Plan Regularly
One of the biggest takeaways from Tami’s presentation was to have a marketing plan and communicate it effectively and often. First it is important to have a marketing plan in writing that shares the context, priorities, strategies, and scorecard for marketing activities. For Optum, this was a 15 page Word document that was deployed within the marketing department to provide transparency.
At Optum, this transparency and communication did not stop at the initial deployment of the marketing plan. Rather, Optum developed an internal cadence for communicating within marketing to ensure the consistent implementation of the marketing plan. Some of Tami’s recommendations for internal communication included:
- Weekly calls — 30 minute with all marketing members
- Weekly email communication
- Weekly leadership team meetings
- Quarterly town halls
- Annual marketing summit
- A “walking deck” to help communicate the marketing plan across boundaries
Set Marketing Priorities
With all of the guiding principles in mind, it is important to identify marketing priorities. For Optum, these priorities were to:
- Advance the brand by telling the brand story, bringing clarity, amplifying the message, and being consistent and disciplined in their efforts.
- Advance the product agenda and product marketing capabilities.
- Accelerate on digital, mobile, and social.
To see more insights from this presentation, run through #MIMAEvent on Twitter or check out the slides available to MIMA members here (note: you must log in to access): https://mima.org/general/custom.asp?page=modmarkslides.
Stay tuned for information on our upcoming months events. And remember, MIMA members always get into our events for free. Become a MIMA Member to get updated on more MIMA Events in the future.