What operational strategies do many CMOs pursue to maximize competitive advantages?

Strategy constitutes a mechanism for directing available resources to achieve maximum competitive strategy.

Most chief marketing officers (CMOs) know that this mechanism comprises systems, processes, and accountabilities for directing the resources of a complex marketing operation.

The figure below depicts key dimensions of strategy, emphasizing how CMOs formulate strategy for an integrated system where each element interacts and affects all other elements of the system.

Brand integrity defines an operational capability of a marketing operation: how marketing staff and partners create and execute marcom with clear brand values, consistent expressions, and credible messages. Brand integrity succeeds when customers and other stakeholders develop deep, resonant emotional connections with the brand and the brand’s community of users and advocates.

Strategic differentiation entails the translation of customer insights and buying criteria to marcom, eliciting desire for the offered product or service. Strategic differentiation succeeds by achieving leadership in its market.

Market coverage describes the delivery of promotions and marcom to all the key touchpoints with customers and trade partners, integrating digital online channels, traditional print and broadcast channels with point of purchase promotions and packaging. Market coverage succeeds with the convergence of all marcom at points of purchase, creating an “echo effect” in the market.

Marketing’s operational capabilities enable the firm to create and sustain competitive advantages in its selected markets. This includes the creation of the following:
• New markets and revenue streams
• New customers of existing and new offerings
• Larger and more frequent orders from customers
• Greater loyalty and acceptance of system lock-ins
• Higher barriers to market entry

Each business will emphasize one or more of these competitive advantages over others, reflecting economic conditions, corporate life cycles, etc.

One fact, however, remains constant: the demand to change with little or no forewarning.

This calls attention to two more critical capabilities: business agility and organizational change management.

Business agility describes the ability to reconfigure processes and workflows within day or less. This capability requires an on-demand IT service management infrastructure and the technical capability to rapidly integrate new services to the all important brand theaters of the firm. For many marketing operations, this means securing needed application software “as a service.”

Organizational change management describes the systems, processes, and accountabilities for facilitating the rapid deployment of new systems, processes, and accountabilities. In many respects, organizational change management will determine medium to long-term success in volatile markets punctuated by all manner of disruptive innovations and economic discontinuities.

Marcom supply-chain orchestration describes the increasing levels of process integration among industry partners, emphasizing more agile sourcing and procurement of creative service, marketing content, and production. Marcom supply-chain orchestration succeeds by producing productivity dividends: new money for strategic spendings.

Digital brand interaction describes the newest operational capability, provisioning contextualized content and interactive services to customers. Successfully executed, this produces self-service satisfaction.

Innovation and marketing create value. Operational capabilities enable a firm to create innovation, drive new offerings to market, facilitate the buying and using process, and maintain infrastructure and systems enabling core operational capabilities.

Most CMOs emphasize the development and optimization of operational capabilities of their marketing operation one of their foremost priorities. Accountability for driving innovation and change within their groups often represents the weakest link in achieving operational excellence.

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