SAP is known for its mastery of back-end business processes – so it’s no surprise when customers ask, “Is SAP the right vendor for my marketing needs ?”
We answer with a resounding yes. Our reasoning: For a marketing campaign to be successful it must have deep roots within the company, touch and inform other business processes and activities, and eventually reverberate beyond your walls to reach your customers. I recently heard enterprise marketing described as an ‘inside out’ process – you need to have all the internal processes sorted out before engaging your customers in the ‘last mile’ of a marketing campaign. Even the most brilliant marketing plan will fail if the supporting business processes aren’t there to support marketing’s execution.
More than TV ads and tweets
Today’s marketers recognize that marketing is more than a placing a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad – or firing off a few tweets to your customers. Behind every successful marketing program are well integrated & rock solid logistics, human resources, procurement, finance, and manufacturing processes. These key business functions (and others) must work together, sharing data to ensure that campaign objectives are met and customer promises kept.
If you run a great promotion but can’t keep the product on the shelf, you’ll disappoint customers (and are likely wasting your marketing budget). The warehouses must be stocked, trucks delivering, and store clerks working hard to keep shelves full and customers happy. And that requires some serious back-end coordination and power.
Are you a modern marketer?
Here’s a simple test to see if you’re systems support ‘modern marketing’. Does your supply chain system alert you to low inventory levels and automatically adjust the marketing messages in real time to promote other (well stocked) products? Can your web site make real-time, customer specific product suggestions based on availability, profitability and customer preferences? Are your sales teams staffed at the right levels – all day, every day? Are they given the right training to ensure that customers get the service they want without having to wait?
Working together (above and below the water level)
Perhaps a ‘marketing iceberg’ is an applicable metaphor. Just like an iceberg, we’re all familiar with the visible bits: social media, advertising, demand gen, public relations and so forth. But below the water level, thousands of logistics workflows ensure that the right product is produced, shipped, stocked, and sold to take advantage of promotions. Human resources systems hum with all the processes needed to hire, train, and staff warehouses and stores alike. Telemetry from supply chain systems help us define exactly what marketing programs are in flight today, which can go live tomorrow, and which are on hiatus pending an inventory resupply to local retail outlets. And finance systems handle complex billing to thousands of customers and procurement from hundreds of partners and vendors.
Quite simply, no other company is as well suited to bringing all of these enterprise functions together for a coordinated marketing effort as SAP.
In addition to providing proven backend power for all aspects of the business, SAP has developed targeted solutions to solve your most pressing marketing challenges. Our Big Data and predictive analytics provide unprecedented real-time understanding of promotional performance, so you can react quickly to in-the-moment market opportunities, adjusting your efforts on the fly. Use high-performance segmentation and social media analytics to help you uncover previously invisible customer insights that will lead to previously impossible marketing decisions across your productization, pricing, and competitive efforts. And accelerate and streamline marketing operations by combining real-time transparency into plans with improved collaboration with field personnel and partner agencies. The result? More accurate forecasting, better asset management, more ‘hits’ and fewer ‘misses’ on the product front, and more effective marketing from start to finish.
The 4Ps and then some
Most of today’s marketing practitioners grew up in a world where we could point to the specific workloads that were considered marketing – if pressured to justify our overhead, we’d revert back to reciting the 4Ps. Today’s modern marketers know that there are probably “hundreds of Ps” that influence our marketing strategy. Factors like production levels, point of sale return rates, and profitability analysis readily come to mind.
Build the right foundation
Just as a well-built home requires a well-built foundation to stand the test of time, enterprise marketing systems require a marketing foundation. The first step to becoming a modern marketer? A unified, enterprise-wide framework that underlays all your marketing activities.
There is always the temptation to approach a loyalty management or a social media technology initiative as a standalone project that requires standalone technologies. Don’t fall into that trap. Think like a modern marketer. Take some time to understand how powerful a social media campaign could be if it was unique to every customer (based on previous purchases, geography, and temporal, and demographic data for example) and adapted in real time to reflect online and regional inventory availability. Think big. Ensure that you’re investing in well-integrated solutions that will scale across your enterprise and every one of your business process workflows – including those that aren’t obvious in how they touch the customer – such as procurement, human capital management, financial, and supply chain processes.
Perhaps thinking big will result in the need to take a step back in the buying cycle. Perhaps it requires a bit more foundation (the stuff below the iceberg water line) than you previously thought. Perhaps it involves brining non-marketers into the conversation to fully define the challenge at hand and build a scalable solution. But there is no doubt that the modern marketer is willing to take on those conversations, build systems that work together, and coordinate the enterprise-wide effort to successfully executed marketing campaigns over time.
To learn more abut how SAP marketing technology can lay the groundwork for your marketing success and help you understand what it means to be a modern marketer, visit us at www.sap.com/marketing.
Hungry for More? See Sven’s recent post on this same topic for a good perspective as well.