How to assess, build, and structure your marketing capabilities for the future


How to assess, build, and structure your marketing capabilities

Elements of a future-proof marketing organization

In our previous blog post, we addressed the path towards becoming a customer-centric organization that can establish long-term customer relationships and enhance their loyalty. Making the move towards becoming customer-centric requires organizations to take a critical look at whether they have the right capabilities. In this blog, we share with you what marketing capabilities are essential for the future, and how to assess, structure and develop those capabilities.

The customer of the future is here and brands must evolve in response. At Deloitte, connecting for impact is a rule we live by. This "Elements of a future-proof marketing organization" blog series is dedicated to sharing our point of view on several pressing marketing challenges. It is time for brands to adapt their marketing strategies to become future-proof and stay relevant. 

From vision and strategy to marketing capabilities

Many organizations are increasing their investment in digital but still miss the mark; simply moving money is not enough. Winning with today’s consumer requires new ways of marketing and therefore new capabilities to deliver your strategy and bring your distinctive value proposition to customers.

A capability is a collective skill that provides value to the organization, through a combination of people, process and technology. For example, campaign management is a capability that launches, measures, and reports on the success of marketing campaigns. When brought together, capabilities comprise what you are able to achieve as an organization. These can be simplified and visualized in a capability map to define what the desired (future) and current capabilities are and uncover development areas.

With the growing importance of delivering an outstanding, personalized customer experience fueled by data, we see many of our clients focusing on growing capabilities in the areas of omnichannel, content creation, customer loyalty and data amongst others.

Typical questions to answer regarding marketing capabilities:

  • What is the state of the marketing capabilities within my organisation
  • What capabilities do we need to accelerate in order to achieve our strategy as a marketing organisation of the future?
  • What capabilities should we have available in-house versus outsource?
  • What capabilities should be driven centrally from HQ or locally (within markets or BUs)?

How to assess, structure and develop your marketing capabilities

In moving towards a future-proof marketing operating model, it is important that organizations assess, structure and develop which capabilities are required to do so – in line with their vision and ambition. We see this as a three-step process:

  1. Understand the required capabilities to serve the (marketing) vision and how these are currently performing. This can be done through a capability assessment that incorporates all elements of the current marketing operating model (people, process and tech), combined with data and analytics.
  2.  Identify how the capabilities in the organization align across business units. This can be done through a business architecture and service model assessment and re(design) which could include evaluation of in- and/or out-sourced capabilities. Additionally, a framework for roles and responsibilities is used for the future capability structure.
  3. Identify and prioritize skills and culture to develop, in line with the (marketing) vision and market needs. This can be done through a digital curriculum program (i.e. foundational and advanced digital trainings), a change management program and job descriptions to hire profiles that are not yet available in the organization.

Conducting a maturity assessment to determine the gap between where you want to be and where you are now

Let’s dive a little deeper into step one. In order to understand the current level of capabilities in relation to the desired state, a maturity assessment is often conducted. Deloitte offers a broad array of capability maturity models that can be tailored to best support the challenges our clients face. Some examples include (digital) marketing and analytics, eCommerce, customer centricity and omnichannel.

Conducting a maturity assessment is highly beneficial for organizations as it provides a common language and inventory to describe the key capabilities currently performed, as well as those that should be performed in the future. With a focus on the big picture, it identifies the right priority capabilities and most significant gaps going forward, on the basis of which an initiative roadmap can be developed to close those gaps.

Four key ways to obtain and develop the skills needed to close the gap

The next step is sourcing capabilities. Several capabilities will likely already exist, others may need to be developed or acquired. Organizations typically have four sources for capabilities: they can acquire capabilities through targeted hires (buy), they can develop, transform, or mature them internally (build); they can partner to access them and/or outsource the capabilities and have them delivered as-a-service (borrow); or they can use M&A (acquire).

The decision to buy, build, borrow or acquire is a critical one, since each lever provides organizations unique advantages. There are three important aspects for executives to consider when making a decision:

  • Speed: how urgently do we need this capability?
  • Impact: how important is it that we control the outcomes? And to what extent does this capability provide us an edge over competitors
  • Cost: what are the costs associated with this decision?

What does good look like?

Earlier on, we mentioned a lot of our clients are focusing on advancing their capabilities in the area of omnichannel, content production, customer loyalty and data. You are probably wondering what best practices are for these capabilities, and whether your organization is lagging, emerging, or even leading in these areas. Here is what we believe good looks like:

  • Omnichannel: The organization is fully structured to deliver omnichannel (e.g. no siloes) and is able to steer cross-channel effectiveness. Customers have a consistent experience across all online and offline channels, and each channel has a clear role in the customer journey. Insights are continuously used to improve the customer experience.
  • Content creation: Content supports the entire customer journey through hero, hub and hygiene content. It is engaging and creates the story around the products & services, adhering to and strengthening the brand. The content fits the channel that it is published on and has clear goals.
  • Customer loyalty: The organization has a strong (tiered) loyalty program with the right balance between financial and emotional benefits. Employees have the right knowledge and incentives to drive the program and activate personalization based on important customer life stages (identified through triggers), heightening the overall customer experience.
  • Data: A shared customer data strategy is at the core of the organization’s strategy and defines what data is gathered, enriched and activated. There is a single source of truth and clear governance and processes in place for enriching, cleaning and sharing the data. Teams are able to understand and leverage the data to gain an understanding of what customers need and why, and use these insights to inform their decisions (e.g. what products, services and communication to offer).

Are you interested in knowing whether your marketing capabilities are on par with your industry leads, or do you need support in developing or acquiring new capabilities? Our Marketing Strategy and Transformation team helps organizations to create conquering marketing strategies and optimize their capabilities to deliver undeniable value.

Connect for impact and stay tuned for the next blog in the series.

How data-driven marketing helps serve the customer of the future

The "Elements of a future-proof marketing organization" blog series is dedicated to sharing our point of view on several pressing marketing challenges. It is time for brands to adapt their marketing strategies to become future-proof and stay relevant. Let us start with data-driven marketing!

Visit our first blog to discover what data-driven marketing is and how your organization can become entirely data-driven.


Personalization: The path towards a deeper connection with your customers

Personalization helps brands establish long-term customer relationships and enhance customer loyalty. It also increases the likelihood of audience conversions by making messages appear more relevant to customers, thus improving marketing effectiveness.

Read our second blog to find out what makes personalization a key element of a future-proof marketing organization.

Read our first blog here
Read our second blog here
Did you find this useful?