Marketing transformation is a people-based mission – dentsu SCHEMA research uncovers 12 best practices of high-performing organisations

Nick Broomfield

Global Client Director, dentsu SCHEMA

The need to better understanding marketing transformation 

The subject of marketing transformation and how to deliver a marketing function that is ‘future fit’ for the digital economy is undoubtedly high on the ‘to do’ list of all CMOs. Driven by the pressures brought about by COVID-19, it has never been more important to ensure that the organisation is ready to rapidly adapt and respond to new challenges and opportunities. 

Thriving in this rapidly changing market requires a paradigm shift that will affect all aspects of how the modern marketing function is structured and how it should operate. In recent years, much focus and expectation has been placed on the role of technology to lead this transformation. However, high-performance organisations are realising that equally important is the  need to develop the right culture, attitudes, operating models, and ways of working if they are to deliver growth. 

Fundamentally, successful marketing transformation is a people-based mission built around effective leaders who can take the whole organisation on a journey to deliver growth and sustainable competitive advantage. 

Our latest report, Marketing Transformation - Delivering the future fit organisation, is based on the responses of 56 senior leaders representing companies spending more than USD $84bn a year on global advertising. Developed in partnership with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), it aims to help readers understand the key structural and organisational design implications related to transformation in the digital economy, as well as identifying the actions and behaviours needed to turn the marketing function into a collaborative, agile and responsive driver of brand and business growth. 

Key dynamics of marketing transformation 

Our research explores the differences between high performing and less mature organisations in the three key facets of marketing transformation. 

Findings include: 

  1. Leadership, People & Culture 
  • Engage and mobilise active support from the C-suite to transform marketing... or risk ad hoc and piecemeal change. 50% of advanced organisations stated they have such active support vs. just 4% of organisations at the early stages of transformation. 
  • Invest in having enough people with the right skills as a critical enabler in delivering tangible change. Advanced organisations were nearly ten times more likely to invest in training and development of their people than those only starting their transformation journey (33% vs 4%). 
  1. Organisational Structure and Ways of Working  
  • View digital as a mindset, not a department. Only 54% of early-stage organisations handle digital transformation and marketing transformation as a single program, compared to 78% of advanced organisations.  
  • Empower decision making and encourage informed risk taking. Transformation maturity is linked to the level of empowerment in being able to make rapid and agile decisions. 81% of advanced organisations encourage informed risk taking vs 42% of early-stage organisations. 
  1. Technology and Data  
  • Technology is a key enabler of transformation but does not define it. It is critical that technology is fit for purpose and based on local business requirements. 100% of advanced organisations agreed vs. just 42% of early-stage organisations.  
  • Treat data as a strategic corporate asset and core enabler of marketing transformation. 82% of advanced organisations treat data as a strategic asset compared to only 46% of early-stage organisations. 

Dive deeper into the research 

To explore further the results of our report, watch the webinar Shortcutting your marketing transformation below or download the full report on the WFA website

To help clients achieve their transformation ambitions, dentsu SCHEMA have developed a 10-step process to help businesses focus on the key actions across the areas of leadership, process, people and operational efficiency. Contact us today to find out more.