The new digital landscape is changing the role of marketing communications (marcom). The old model of marcom working in silos, separate from operations, is not longer sustainable. Social platforms and new technology are blurring the line between marcom and operations. Businesses that do a better job integrating these functions are more likely to succeed in this new environment. We can see great examples in customer-centric companies such as Zappos, Southwest, P&G and Apple. These companies connect marcom with customer service (e.g., Zappos & Southwest) and with operations/product development (e.g., P&G and Apple). We are likely to see the role of marketing operations increasing in relevance in today’s business world.
Marketing communications has traditionally been in the back seat of the corporate world. Tenures for CMOs tend to be short, with a limited seat at the table. They have been focused for the most part on communications. Finance and operations have traditionally led product development and customer service. Telecom, financial services, and the retail industry are good examples of this structure, with some exceptions. This model, however, no longer works in a digital and connected society. Business cannot longer manage what they “say” separately from what they “do”.
Technology has blended marcom with product development and customer service. Social media is customer service. Developing web platforms is product development. As a result, the best companies are shifting from marcom to marketing operations (markops). This new role will require new skills. To make this shift, marcom will need to become a Swiss army knife. They will need to be versed in analytics, technology, operations, and finance so that they can manage the “do” as much as the “say”. In other words, the new breed of marketers are likely to be generalists and cross-functional players in today’s digital society.