Marketing does not stand still, Mark. How do you and Accenture keep up?
We’re constantly listening, learning and adapting—and we’re in the game every day running marketing operations for more than 60 clients. We partner with clients to innovate and change when needed, adding capacity when demand spikes without disruption and bringing in a new service when we see capability gaps. We also hear from our alliance partners constantly, and we apply their best practices across our portfolio. Whenever possible we deliver all this via an “as a service” model that makes it easy for our clients to consume. That’s how we stay ahead and more importantly keep our clients ahead of their competition.
What is on the mind of marketers these days?
All marketers know they need to engage consumers 24x7. The challenge finding the right formula to scale digital, which is they all know is the best way to really create deep engagement. The investment in digital is only growing, and marketers are in search of a model that can scale both efficiently and effectively. Most marketers have mastered one or two areas in the digital value chain, but are still searching for how to make the end-to-end process deliver the results they expect, and do that at scale.
What about analytics?
Great in theory, challenging in practice, extremely important to get it right. Marketers need to use analytics to gain insight into customer behavior and attitudes, be able to measure ROI and use insights to constantly adjust their execution. But the “wiring” of the systems, getting the right interlock across platforms and setting up the approach to use in real time is not easy. One step we’re taking is to introduce analytics apps with plug and play capabilities. They can be deployed quickly and flexibly so that measurement begins in weeks, not months, and they run out of the cloud so data ingestion, communication with tools and reporting can all be done flexibly, which is what marketers need.
So how does it all come together?
We start by determining the result the client needs then building the right end-to-end process to get there. It requires combining digital technologies, customer and marketing analytics, content production and distribution, and the customer acquisition / retention efforts into one end-to-end process. Once that is set up, we then continually fine-tune it to drive continuous improvement. We then focus on executing our pieces well, and helping clients manage their efforts by acting as the orchestrator of the overall process. For most of our clients this is a new operating model that breaks down silos and delivers significant improvement in results.
You’re saying “under one roof” hits all the levers more efficiently?
Exactly. This new view of marketing is moving away from relying on multiple agencies, marketing services teams or specialist providers. When Accenture helps organizations run digital marketing under one roof, they see results well beyond what they achieved in the past. The end-to-end model is extremely efficient in terms of cost and time; it brings more agility and scale; and it produces better business results.
Speaking of results, can you please give examples?
We tend to measure success through the outcomes we help create. If I had to categorize the types of outcomes we have created, it would fall into three areas. The first is basic economic outcomes. We are able help clients get more value to their “nonworking” marketing dollar. Just as important is that we help bring in more revenue by actually executing the marketing better. Finally, we help clients break new ground. By knowing the business so well and really engaging with them, together we create new capabilities, which inevitably help them grow.
How about some metrics?
Sure. We’ve seen around 60 hours of effort saved per brand manager per quarter due to standardization of processes, for example. We’ve helped increase digital penetration from 24 percent to 30 percent, as compared to the same period the previous year, generated savings of $4.3 million through a 40 percent reduction in time for approval of content and increased sales by about 20 percent as compared to the previous week. We also helped clients reduce campaign cycle times by some 30 percent, enabling faster speed-to-market and achieving go-live rates of more than 95 percent compared to 7 percent previously). Let’s see, how about increasing digital sales by 69 percent, reducing cost per lead by 18 percent and increasing a client’s conversion rate by 40 percent?
What are some of the current challenges?
Our research shows that because a majority of marketers are working on four main capabilities: robust content creation to drive engagement; efficient and effective digital operations including enabling the management of digital projects at scale; the ability to measure clearly and accurately; and achieving operational flexibility and agility to deliver on short notice. Our experience with clients reinforces those needs. The challenge is being able to accomplish all four of those through a connected operating model.
What do you believe sets Accenture apart?
We have three differentiators. First is our expertise in digital content. Accenture has developed an unparalleled ability to produce digital content at scale, across multiple languages and time zones, platform and formats. Second is our ability to credibly offer an end-to-end service. We bring all the digital operations under one roof, including search, campaigns, social media and analytics and user experience We can deliver on the promise of operating them together. Finally, we leverage the deep digital talent at Accenture and the wide experience we have across industries and clients to “future proof” a client’s business. No one else can deliver on all three of those key ingredients to digital success.
How does your career experience help, Mark?
I bring a practitioner’s perspective to my role at Accenture. I’ve worked in brand management, digital media and media analytics. Having the combined experiences of working in brand, media and then analytics helps me design a more robust offering for clients. I also think having actually done the work of marketing gives me an appreciation for the importance of execution, and it helps me drive the right elements into the approach our delivery teams bring to the execution. Finally, my links back into the marketing world gives me a chance to test our approach with former colleagues. Being able to tap into a network of great marketers I have worked with is invaluable.
Why are you proud to work at Accenture?
Most companies have a global footprint but Accenture truly is a global network, meaning no matter where you are in the world you can contribute, share and drive results on a project. I was energized by the prospect of being part of that global network when I arrived, and I am most proud of how I have become part of the global network and been able to share with and learn from people all over the world.
Any turning points in life or career that can talk about?
Every eight years I do something a bit more radically different than just a lateral move or take a similar role. That has kept me fresh and engaged. It also gives me enough time to contribute to a business. I would say look at your career in eight year cycles – and see if every eight years you are pushing yourself to do something really new. That has worked for me.
Characterize your leadership/management style, please?
The concept of player-coach is one of the most powerful leadership principles I try to practice. For me that means being alongside your team instead of over them, especially where they are new or the team is working a new situations.