Marketing Maturity Model - Part 2

by Sat Duggal

The Levels of Marketing Maturity

To read part 1, click here.

In considering where your organization stands on marketing maturity, it’s important to understand what a maturity model is—and is not. It is not a rigid structure of prescribed processes. Rather, it has three dimensions. First, it describes the differences among typical marketing organizations, from the least mature to the most mature. Second, it provides a marketing framework that the people in the marketing organization can use to understand how and where their day-to-day work fits in the overall operation. Third, it offers an aspirational model, drawing the organization upward as well as a roadmap for getting from one level to the next. This is what it looks like in broad outline:

Level 1: Undeveloped

This is marketing performance at its most rudimentary. It may take several forms: There may be no formal processes for such essential activities as gathering insights, annual planning, setting a marketing strategy, and the like. People do things “their way” because it has “always worked before.” Or processes may exist, but they’re largely ignored because they’re over-complicated or under-managed. In some cases, processes are applied but the tools for applying them aren’t standardized or well understood.

In other cases, processes and tools are applied but it’s more a matter of filling out forms and checking boxes than about creating strategies and gathering insights. Typically at this level, both the organization and individuals fail to consistently perform marketing tactics. In the absence of sound management practices, the benefits of good marketing practices are undermined by ineffective planning and reaction-driven commitment systems. The way up from this level is through management controls designed to stabilize the environment.

Level 2: Repeatable

Policies for managing major marketing programs and procedures to implement those policies are established and understood. The planning and management of new programs is based on experience with similar projects. Successful practices are repeated, although the specific processes implemented in any given project may differ.

For example, companies may repeatedly implement the same campaigns over a period of time, eventually achieving great proficiency—think of credit card companies sending out mailers, retailers using promotional emails, or consumer good companies distributing coupons. But even though these tactical campaigns in themselves employ a reasonably good process, campaigns are not integrated as a whole. So while the promotion campaign is doing one thing, the media campaign may be doing something else and the digital campaign something entirely different. The way up here is to develop integrated marketing processes, organizational re-alignment, and content around which to integrate and re-align.

Level 3: Defined and Integrated

The standard process for end to end marketing across the organization is documented and understood, including both marketing sub-processes and management processes, and these processes are integrated into a coherent whole. Processes established at this level are used (and changed, as appropriate) to help marketers and their supporting groups perform more effectively. Groups and individuals are responsible for the organization’s marketing processes, leveraging industry best practices when standardizing those processes.

To rise to the next level, the organization must be able to control variation in processes and establish the right enabling technology.

Level 4: Quantitatively Managed

The organization and individuals set quantitative quality goals both for marketing deliverables and for processes. Productivity and quality are measured for important marketing process activities across all programs as part of an organizational measurement program. An organization-wide marketing process database is used to collect and analyze the data available. Marketing processes are instrumented with well-defined and consistent measurements. These measurements establish the quantitative foundation for evaluating each program.

Each marketing program and marketing leader achieves control by narrowing the variation in process performance, ensuring that it falls within acceptable quantitative boundaries. Further, meaningful variations in process performance can be distinguished from random variation (noise), particularly within established product lines. To transition from this level to the next, the organization employs change management to continually improve go-to-market processes.

Level 5: Optimized

At this level, the organization and individuals continually strive to improve the range of their process capability, thereby improving the performance of their programs. Improvement occurs both through incremental advancements in the existing process and through innovations using new technologies and methods. The organization does not rest on its laurels but strives to keep its practices current. This includes not only keeping up with new technologies but also learning from other organizations whether they are in the same industry or not.

The key to achieving this level is a measurement system that assesses the performance of marketing and provides diagnostic abilities for identifying improvements. Given the explosion in channels available to engage consumers digitally, achievement of this level is increasingly relevant and important. Though this is the highest level of maturity, continuous improvement means that the organization is always rising higher, with no absolute upper limit.

Read Part 3 of the Marketing Maturity Model now

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Keywords: Go-To-Market, Custom Marketing Framework, Market and Data Analysis