I just read an interesting post from a fellow EMEA CMO/head of marketing @JWATTON with a thought provoking viewpoint that marketing automation for SaaS (software as a service) US headquartered companies would have less need for heads of regional marketing in locations like EMEA as automation replaces local headcount. My view is slightly different. As a head of marketing for 3 software and service companies with 2 successful exits, I’ve hired in region expertise, spent significant time in Europe, and implemented MAP (marketing automation platforms). He had some really interesting viewpoints that I wanted to elaborate on – some of which I agreed with and some my view differs.
Here’s how I’m seeing things on what changes marketing automation means for a marketer and her/his career:
- Marketing automation on its own with no marketer senior level supervision is like a train running downhill without tracks. The potential to do more harm than good exists when investing in these systems without a clearly defined business objective up front. The caboose is the MAP, the engine is the objective, the trains that link the caboose to the engine are the process.
- Marketing automation is a means to an end, not the end itself. A measurable business outcome should be set with sales tying them to the outcome of the process and also involving them on why this benefits y/our selling cycle. When automation is performing correctly, revenue is accelerated and sales teams are more informed about their prospects prior to actually contacting them. A marketer now needs to run that dialogue, that is a new dialogue for ‘dated’ skill set sales people as well as ‘dated’ skill set marketers – it can also be ‘dated’ skillsets for board members who do not know how to measure marketing, adding another complex communication vector to the equation.
- As @JWATTON identifies in his blog post, Marketers who are not proficient in the latest digital tactics are not going to survive in this new world. Those that are not steeped in the language of Eloqua, Marketo, SilverPop, Pardon, Hubspot, or any other marketing software that integrates with Salesforce.com will become known as the ‘marketers of the 80s’. Those that are not proficient in social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (follow me @b2bcmo) and understand the social media tie to business objectives will also be ‘80s marketers’. Lastly, those not proficient in SEO techniques an integrating SEO into the MAP platforms for B2B will also be yesterday’s marketers (NOTE: today’s integration is challenging).
- In my mind and contrary to his post, there is always a need to be geographically close to both internal customers (sales) and external prospects and/or customers. It is nearly impossible for a head of marketing in the US to know and understand the marketing nuances of in region challenges. Marketing within Germany is a challenge in and of itself; it’s often a NA centric software company *incorrectly thinks* EMEA is one ubiquitous region to market into (just like the US!) without understanding each country has a different market and a different way of receiving information. Privacy laws differ dramatically in EMEA and in certain countries moreso than that of the US; this makes a marketers job in both EMEA and US more complex and raises the bar for a marketer to continually learn, as his post correctly points out. Also note that contact software today (Dun and Bradstreet, InsideView) are largely North American centric databases, thus requiring another level of thought from an in region marketer.
It’s a round world and we all see things from different viewpoints – how do you see things if this relates to you?