Thought Leadership

Advanced Marketing: Once Made, Connections Seem Obvious

By John Parker

Personas. Machine learning. Disruptive business models. Social and mobile. Customer journeys. Marketing automation. Content strategy. New paradigms. Behavioral economics. Design thinking. The list goes on — what’s a marketing leader to do?

Disruption is everywhere, and every marketer has been affected in some way over the past few years. But not all change is productive, and not every initiative has immediate results. A group of us at Kellogg have developed a line of thinking around the power of connections, linking concepts and capabilities together in order to drive real growth. There are many examples of the connections to be made, including:

  • Connecting personas through moments to content and then journeys. Many companies have gone beyond segmentation as they have developed personas. But to get the full value of this work, leaders develop content for the moments that matter to each persona — and place that content at the right point in the customer journey.
  • Connecting consumer engagement (microconversions) to financial results (macroconversions). Clicks, likes and follows are nice as long as they ultimately contribute to attracting new customers, expanding margin per customer and increasing retention in a clear and measurable way.
  • Connecting complementary goods and services on platforms. As companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook develop increasingly dominant positions as platform providers, other companies are growing by working together on these platforms to provide integrated offerings to customers.
  • Connecting services to products through business models and employees. Digital technology is frequently creating opportunities to serve customers in ways that are both better and more cost-effective by creating services based on products rather than selling the products themselves. Succeeding at this often depends on the enthusiasm of front-line employees.
  • Connecting data to action through technology stacks and machine learning. Companies are striving to build systems architectures that link data across the customer journey, tracking and improving the effectiveness of a set of practices and decision rules all along the way.
  • Connecting organizations to change through courageous leadership. Digital transformations are challenging, and leaders with vision still face the task of convincing colleagues to follow.
The ongoing opportunities triggered by the emergence of the digital world have many names, from disruption or transformation to revolution. Every company is being affected, and those that make the right connections are most likely to continue to thrive.
John Parker is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Executive Education and Senior Academic Director at Kellogg, teaching Digital Marketing and other customer-related topics. He is currently leading a new initiative to develop and implement Kellogg ExecEd's digital distance learning strategy, beginning with a series to keep Kellogg alumni at the leading edge of marketing thinking through live Telepresence sessions with leading faculty. John also leads many of Kellogg’s relationships in Latin America.

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