The question posed above refers to your digital marketing maturity score, which measures, in an integrated way, how heavily your organization is invested in its digital marketing practices with people, process, and products (technology). As mentioned in part 1 and part 2 of this blog series, Adobe has developed a free self-assessment tool that assigns a maturity score to your enterprise and compares that score with industry benchmark data. The assessment tool essentially asks, “How effectively have you invested capital and resources across three business pillars: product, process, and people?”

In part 2, we talked about the product pillar, about the technology driving digital marketing practices. As we prepare for our Adobe Summit 2014 in Salt Lake City later this month, I encourage you to consider where your organization sits on the marketing maturity scale in relation to process.

Sun Tzu, in his essential Art of War, writes “victorious warriors win first then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first then seek to win.” How do you “win first” in digital marketing? By investing in business processes that support, sustain, and drive customer data analysis, campaign development, and ultimately the decision making to support digital marketing best practices. Certainly, tools such as those found in the Adobe Marketing Cloud enable marketers to automate campaigns and aggregate touchpoints, but I’m not referring to technology (although I’ve been hearing a robot will be taking over my job for the past 15 years!). We want to look at how effectively we drive performance through organizational processes, including strategy development and execution, enterprise structure, and data management.

Strategy

What do a robust data analytics solution, a dedicated, experienced digital marketing team, and real-time behavioral customer data have in common? Nothing—without an integrated, responsive, and efficient strategy to deploy those assets. Do we have the right processes that optimizes analytics practices leading to key insights, for example? Do we have a strategic plan for delivering personalized consumer experiences driven by data? We might have 40 different marketing practices, each with distinct processes. A mature strategy connects those processes and builds a workflow architecture that maximizes performance and, equally important, achieves executive sponsorship to enable the right decision making.

Mature marketing organizations develop customer-centric, not channel-centric or product-centric, strategies when organizing campaigns. This audience-driven approach ensures our enterprise builds its business processes around maximum customer engagement, achieving brand loyalty and contextualized content. Equally important is aligning our digital marketing strategic goals and KPIs to overall business strategy and priorities. Once that alignment takes place, the mature enterprise allocates resources effectively to execute each leg of the organization’s strategy.

Structure

A mature structure drives efficient processes. Have we aligned all phases of our marketing ecosystem in an optimized structure? Cross-team accountability, for example, can be supported by an organizational structure that enables nearly immediate feedback and response processes. In some cases, a service-level agreement provides commitment to process structure. Ultimately, our enterprise must be structured effectively to navigate developing markets.

In mature organizations, marketers manage analytics, data distribution, and content creation to support a well-defined marketing calendar. That calendar guides resources for campaign strategy, planning, execution, measurement, and analysis. Process—with its supporting structure and workflows—must drive one marketing phase into the next without disruption.

Structure should be evident across the seven dimensions addressed in the Adobe self-assessment tool. For example, when considering channel management, is there structure that supports real-time communication and interaction with customers across channels and/or devices? Are we able to track, analyze, and communicate content performance then improve future digital assets within a few sprints? Our structure has to integrate IT, analytics, creative, and Web development teams in a way that allows us to execute a strategy that moves individuals from unknown visitors to known customers engaging our products and services.

Data Management

How do we collect, store, organize, and distribute data throughout the enterprise? Analytics and reporting does not operate in a vacuum. The data we collect enables marketing, sales, IT, finance, and other business function teams to drive better results. Data is analyzed to fulfill multiple objectives; therefore, it must be presented in various formats across an integrated platform that supports processes executed by each business unit.

Not only should our analytics data be readily available within the organization, the data should be trusted throughout the enterprise. QC is a vital component to analytics distribution; data contamination can significantly alter the performance of the most well-developed campaigns. What steps have we taken to ensure data integrity and accuracy?

In the digital marketing, data management allows audience segmentation, attribution modeling, content personalization, campaign development, and many other tasks. Our view of the customer is shaped by the data we’ve accumulated, so it’s critical that we have processes in place that enable a closed-loop cycle among the analysis team, development team, and campaign management.

Although process maturity is a critical achievement, without a sturdy pillar of people, our enterprise processes can die on the vine. In my next post, we’ll take a look at how people drive our marketing maturity. In the meantime, try our self-assessment tool to calculate your digital marketing maturity for your enterprise!