In order for Marketing to provide value, it is imperative for the organization to continually improve people, process, systems, execution, strategy and vision. A logical and fundamentally solid approach to improvement is to consciously decide to move from point A to point B, or to Point ,Z and to document how to accomplish the desired progress. The crux of this approach is dependent upon defining point A, hence, the need for a Marketing Assessment.
At a high level, the fundamental pillars of the Marketing organization should be identified. For example, product marketing, demand creation, corporate communications, social media and partner marketing may be the key pillars for the Marketing organization. The next step is to decompose or identify the key drivers for each pillar.
Specifically, in the case of product marketing, it may be appropriate to drill down to: technical product competence; industry knowledge; competitive insights; sales tools; presales support; product training; etc. Within each of these areas it may be appropriate to go deeper to yet another layer of granularity. Following this thought, competitive insights could be decomposed to highlight: key players, pricing, technology, features and functions, objection handling, top knock-offs, product roadmap, etc.
Once the framework has been established, it is now paramount to create as objective a structure as possible to quantitatively assess the current situation and the desired state. Utilizing the Capability Maturity Model has proved to be an effective framework for this task. In short, there are 5 stages that describe how reliable and frequently the actions, practices and processes employed generate the required outcomes–at a minimum, the model provides a common language, framework and ranking process. The five levels, or rankings, of the model include:
Level 1 – Ad hoc
In an Ad hoc state, tasks are addressed as they come in with no preconceived plan of action—they are reacted to. There is typically no documentation to refer to that would assist in the completion of the task. There is no learning that has been transferred from completing the task at an earlier date.
Level 2 – Repeatable
Here, prior knowledge from completing the same or similar task may be leveraged to perform the task but this is not consistent across all tasks, nor is the knowledge captured in a formal process.
Level 3 – Defined
At a Defined state, there are defined and documented processes and they may improve over time but improving the process is not the primary focus. The goal of defining processes is to ensure consistency.
Level 4 – Managed
In a Managed state, not only is there a defined process, but there are also process metrics that are tracked, monitored and managed.
Level 5 – Optimized
In an optimized state, a process is managed but the primary focus is n on improving the process through the training of people, enhancement of processes, system improvements and automation. Optimized is an ideal state where processes would be systematically managed by a combination of process optimization and continuous process improvement.
Each pillar (at the Marketing level they would be product marketing, demand creation, etc.) row, should be evaluated against six criteria:
– Current State: level or ranking that best describes the state of this attribute today.
– Desired State: level or ranking that best describes where you would like to be.
– Gap: the delta between the Desired State and Current State.
– Dependencies; what is required, at a high level, to move from Current to Desired State.
– Investment: what resources (people, time, money) need to be applied to facilitate the movement.
Completing the matrix provides the foundation for the Marketing Assessment spider diagram.
Marketing Assessment Spider Diagram
The final product of the exercise is typically a Spider Diagram. The spider diagram depicts the relative performance on all attributes in one integrated way. The fact that each attribute is calculated from a consistent methodology allows them to be viewed and compared in the same diagram.
Spider Diagrams can and should be created at as granular a level as possible–organization, function, department). Doing so will provide insight and guidance for the entire organization and ensure a cohesive investment strategy by synchronizing priorities and tasks.