Are You on the Endangered Species List?

What it takes to be in the 1%.

If you’re not aware of all of the talk about the “1%”, you’ve most likely been sequestered this year. Wait, there’s a pandemic, so there’s a chance you might have missed it. Actually, the 1% I’m referencing here is the exclusive group of marketers that represent the most effective, data driven, performance focused within the industry. Let’s stop here for a moment and take a step back. The AMA defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” — Approved 2017¹. This definition is extremely broad, and yes, there’s a disagreement here regarding the functional role of marketing.

Some of you will have an issue agreeing with this definition. What’s clearly missing, among other things, is data, insight and relevance.

Let’s start with the 99% in order to understand what’s needed to become a part of the 1%. This is the group that views marketing as an “art” with a practical application of “science.” This is the group that still uses page views and click through rates as key measures — OK, they may use a bit more, but not much. This goes back to the fact that nine out of ten global marketers aren’t trained to calculate ROI, and eight out of ten struggle to demonstrate the effectiveness of their spending to leadership — Fournaise Study². There’s a bit of irony in this study. One in ten figured out how to demonstrate effectiveness of their marketing while not knowing how to measure the ROI. We’ll leave that item for another day. The 1% understand ROI and with that comes an appreciation for and understanding of the science and the art, effectively the role of the “alchemist.” Yes, the art is critical, but its value is defined when it’s applied to the science. Data is ubiquitous, so why do so many marketers fail to take advantage of the opportunity?

The answer: It requires a significant organizational change. Change that includes:

  • Investments in strategic planning
  • Investments in people (hiring, training, mentoring, etc.)
  • Organizational alignment (Shifts to a matrix model, yes — the loss of siloed management and “ownership)
  • Investment in technologies (ML, AI, data lakes, etc.)
  • Shifting of models that reflect “publishing” vs. traditional “linear” marketing
  • Cross functional accountability (Teams comprised of technologists, marketers, data scientists, finance, media, etc. working collaboratively not within artificial org structures)

Those marketers that have taken on the challenge to focus their organizations on data driven marketing have a significant advantage. Let’s take a look at a few categories within the market. If some of these platforms and solutions don’t look familiar, it’s time to assess the state of your marketing — and by the way, this is a small sub-set.

  • Tag Management
  • Data Management Platform (DMP)
  • Customer Data Platform (CDP)
  • Behavioral Attribution
  • Trend Intelligence
  • Campaign Management
  • Scenario Management
  • Personalization
  • Multivariate
  • Lead Scoring
  • User Experience Monitoring
  • Customer Communications Management
  • Identity Management
  • Offer Management
  • Social Listening
  • Account Based Marketing (ABM)

The 2020 marketing technology landscape (MarTech), tracked by Scott Brinker, www.chiefmartec.com³ had 8,000 companies listed within it, and one can argue that a significant number of companies could have been included that most likely feel a bit “left out.”

So, what does this all mean? We’ll skip the typical high-level response which leads to “I didn’t learn anything from reading this.”

Introducing: The Human Interactions Officer:

We’ll start with the first of 3 insights in this post. You’ll need to come back for the next 2. Insight 1: Organizations need a “Human Interactions Officer”, not a Chief “Customer” Officer, but rather someone that understands behavior tenets, research and data. The positive of technologies is that they provide incredible insights; the negative — they remove the “human” factor. One person needs to “own” the experience that humans have with a company. Why? Look at it this way — Category Management, Brand Management, Marketing, Sales, CRM, Customer Support, etc. all have a different lens they use for determining success or failure relative to their role. They’re incentivized differently, which leads to discrepancies in the human experience. The organization model in and of itself is outdated and needs to change — again, that’s for a future discussion.

By structuring a company around a single role that’s responsible for each touch point in the human lifecycle, we can understand the relationship between needs, desires and outcomes as they relate to a company’s products and services. In order to do this, an organization has to, first understand their prospects. Second, it has to understand where, in the life of a human, their product or service is relevant and valuable. Third, it has to become part of the human story — not interruptive, which is the role of advertising, (unfortunately). Fourth, it has to use data to understand motivations and objectives. Fifth, it needs to nurture the relationship once it’s established.

What are the takeaways?

  • Organizational design needs to mimic the desired human relationship
  • Technologies need to be deployed that provide a holistic view of human interactions, guided by a unified set of objectives
  • A master human record needs to exist that contains the “body of knowledge” collected from the prospect through the customer stage (old terms)
  • The Human Interactions Officer should have a collective team that’s comprised of representatives from Product / Service Development, BI (within the marketing function), IT, Legal, Risk, Compliance (wherever necessary), Finance, Customer Service, Merchandising, Marketing, Sales, Logistics and R&D
  • The marketing ecosystem should live in a state of “perpetual beta” — constantly evolving, leveraging insights to deliver the right experience within the desired channel for brand engagement

If you’d like to discuss this subject or have questions, you can reach the author — Bob Morris on or LinkedIn —




Founder, Bravery Group; Co-Founder, Trade (Acquired by ICF Next), #Strategy, #digitaltransformation #CX, #designthinking

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