Digital Transformation

The 4 A's of marketing explained

By Ronan Shields | Digital Editor

November 19, 2015 | 6 min read

Marketers need to become better at mining real-time data to develop customer insights, work more harmoniously with other departments in their business in order to dynamically expand their offering, and prove their impact on the bottom line.

These are the findings of a recently published survey from Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC), which has coined the term 'the 4 A's of marketing', these are: acumen; agility; alignment and accountability.

The findings are based on in-depth interviews with over 20 marketers from trade body The CMO Club, containing input from brands including JetBlue Airways, MasterCard, PayPal, Quiznos and The Hershey Company.

The traditional marketing mix has centred around the adage of the 4 P's of marketing: product; price; placement, and promotion. However, in an era of data-led practice, participants in the study have collectively identified the 4 A's in order to effectively put these into practice.

The four core tenets of the report are outlined below, along with supporting statements from participants in the study, with the publication of the study coinciding with Oracle hosting Modern Marketing Experience event in London this week.

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1. Acumen

Marketers need to improve the skills within their department when it comes to mining vast swathes of data in order to develop customer insights. Participants identifying this as a top priority.

“We set up an analytics center of excellence to centralise and analyse information across platforms. This equips our marketers with the real-time insights and agility they need to develop customer-centric programmes that advance our business.”

- Karen Quintos, chief marketing officer at Dell

2. Alignment

It is critical for marketers to follow the same work processes as all other departments within the same organisation in order to effectively engage with customers across all touchpoints.

“Alignment is very important. Marketing is evolving and becoming very specialised across a number of disciplines — technology, data, analytics, content, operations, creative, etc. Marketing organisations need to hire specialists who are experts in these areas and create the processes for the specialists to work together in an integrated way in service of the customers.”

- Rishi Dave, chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet

3. Agility

The guide noted how important it is for businesses to have strong cross-functional teams to posses the the flexibility required to pilot something new, then quickly implement learnings from these experiences.

“Pilot is my favorite word – trying something new with the intention of learning and knowing it may fail. People are more willing to support a pilot than to completely change the way they are doing things today.”

- Snehal Desai, global business director of Dow Water & Processing Solutions at Dow Chemical

4. Accountability

The guide also recommends that marketers better demonstrate the impact their activity is having on the company's profit and loss sheet by instilling the the right measures to demonstrate accountability.

"I can measure everything today, and that is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is you have to decide what the most important things are to measure to demonstrate accountability.”

- Heidi Melin, chief marketing officer at Plex Systems

Oracle updates its Marketing Cloud

As mentioned above, the publication of the study coincided with the enterprise IT, and data management platform (DMP) provider's client event in London where it also unveiled updates to OMC.

The updates included helping OMC users to support their sales team through a tool that enables salespeople to better understand their contacts and engage wthem with relevant content.

Also included in the updates was a self-service tool that lets advertisers integrate audience data, and then send these buying signals out to partners across the paid-for media ecosystem, such as demand-side platforms (DSP), and ad networks to improve the quality of their targeting online.

The OMC update also inculdes improvements to its multivariate testing tools, which can now test the performance of up to eight versions of the same messaging, with the ability to vary subject lines, content and message sender.

In addition, the update includes new attribution tools which consist of a set of dashboards that help marketers analyse what content and cross-channel interactions drive conversions.

Kevin Akeroyd, OMC, SVP and GM, added: "As we look ahead to 2016, marketing’s ability to modernise existing processes and embrace data, technology and content will increasingly define the success of organizations across all industries.

“For many marketers, this will require a significant transformation and that is why we are so focused on making marketing technology more integrated, more holistic and, frankly, easier to use."

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