The Marketer Happiness Quotient: Technology Is Your Friend

According to a CEB study of employee engagement from 2011 to 2014, marketing is the only department (among marketing, operations, finance and accounting, and HR) that is faring worse today than when the study started, in terms of employees’ “intent to stay at current company.” But at the same time, marketing and sales leaders are among the most positive of executives in terms of economic outlook.

That could mean that there is a disconnect between chief marketing officer (CMO) confidence and practitioner satisfaction and enthusiasm. Perhaps there are those in marketing (and sales) who are bullish on the market and economic opportunity for their business, but not so much for their own personal career options. The study shows that globally, across all functions, “a multitude of potential job candidates (47 percent) continue to passively search for new employers.” About one-half of employees are passive candidates, meaning they invest little to no effort in looking for new job opportunities, the study says. That means they are unhappy and lethargic – not a good recipe for advancing your marketing automation or customer experience vision!

The study also reports that “Employees in North America have increased confidence about their ability to find good jobs in their locations, industries, and functions,” the highest confidence level in North America since 2010.

With the constant changes in technology, consumer preferences, and government regulation, marketers certainly have a lot on their plates. Just look around – and maybe peek in the mirror. Many of us have had difficulty adapting to a “networked world” and are still stuck in a marketing ecosystem that focuses on communicating with mass audiences rather than individuals. Even with advances in technology, some marketers use the same mass-audiences marketing technology and processes, and just add digital, social, and mobile components to the marketing mix without regard for personalization. If marketers do not understand their target audience and fail to deliver personalized value to consumers, products and services quickly become irrelevant.

Certainly the automation technology exists to help marketers balance the personalization of small-scale campaigns with the broad reach of paid media campaigns. Look at the plethora of new content curation, programmatic advertising, and social listening/CRM platforms – these new types of enterprise software are not yet integrated with campaign management and CRM, but they increasingly need to be. Silos form. Budgets stretch. Customers are treated differently by different parts of the marketing organization. Marketers must move to the point where the technology serves their customer experience mission, and not the other way around. Otherwise, the 24/7 conversation management, one-to-one marketing, and on-demand content creation are not scalable. The CEB study suggests that it’s also wearing us down.

Lessons learned here:

  • Employee satisfaction and training are incredibly important. With so many employees in “passive job seeking mode,” it’s time to invest in your talent. Perhaps you can’t give them all more money, but you can help them build the skills that will be essential for scalability and success. And you can create a more flexible work environment to accommodate their work-life balance needs. This is how you get technology to serve you: By investing in the ability of your team to use it in service of customers and business key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Technology experience is the key to personal growth. Employees who have experience managing marketing technology effectively are going to have the knowledge and background essential to our data-driven marketing environment. Much has been written about the need for CMOs to have technology and data analysis background in order to envision and lead one-to-one marketing approaches in our data-driven society. This is a great opportunity for the lonely souls in email marketing, marketing operations, and programmatic buying to start taking seats at the planning and leadership tables. That campaign management and real-time experience creation is essential for sophisticated marketing departments.
  • Employee engagement matters. CEB defines this as: “The extent employees commit – both rationally and emotionally – to something or someone in their organization, how hard they work, and how long they stay as a result of that commitment” – and it manifests in things like willingness to work late, help others with their projects, and take on extra assignments. Only 13.9 percent of employees have a strong “intent to stay,” according to the study, and so it’s important to focus on retaining those employees who are eager to co-invest in the organization. Just like customers, not all employees are created equal. Be sure to help every employee succeed – and focus on development of those who demonstrate the willingness to match their own success with that of the department.

What do you take away from the CEB study, and from the retention of your best marketing talent? Is the happiness quotient in your organization preventing you from taking full advantage of your market opportunity?

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