What is agile marketing? According to Sandra Zoratti, the VP of Marketing at Ricoh, agile marketing is all speed, collaboration and taking an iterative approach to marketing.
Sandra is our honored guest in today’s Future of Marketing interview series where we have covered topics such as Creativity, Big Data, Customer Experience, Thought Leadership, Culture, Technology, and so much more.
Sandra Zoratti is an Author, Speaker and Marketer. She is the Vice President of Marketing, Ricoh in a business created from former IBM and Ricoh companies. Sandra built and launched the data-driven marketing practice called “Precision Marketing” from the ground up and published her book on the topic in June 2012. She was also honored with Business Marketer of the Year in 2012. You can find Sandra on LinkedIn and Twitter @sandraz.
Tell me about yourself?
I love to create. I love challenges and problem-solving. In college, I switched my major from Marketing to Chemical Engineering so that I could solve problems. After graduating, I realized that creating business opportunities is all about problem-solving on a large scale, and with that new perspective, I returned to marketing while pursuing my MBA.
Today, I leverage the critical thinking and problem-solving I learned in engineering and apply it in business to help create new opportunities. It’s perfect for me! Currently, I am the vice president of marketing for Ricoh, as well as an author and speaker.
What is the biggest challenge facing marketers today?
There’s never been a more exciting time to be a marketer! The past decade has completely revolutionized the marketing function. Today, marketers are faced with the complexity and speed of enormous and large-scale transformations – staying flexible, nimble and connected is required to stay sharp and remain relevant. There are three major marketer challenges in our customer-driven economy: improving customer engagement, harnessing data-driven insights, and generating measurable, scalable value and ROI for our business.
What best practices can you identify for dealing with that challenge?
For customer engagement, data-driven marketing and ROI-measured results, the path forward is often unclear, so an “agile development” approach can be immensely helpful. These three challenges are connected: data-driven insights can drive customer engagement which in turn can lead to better and more measurable ROI. In order to adopt different thinking and approaches in these three areas, I suggest:
- Adopt an agile approach: Software developers have used knowledge-sharing to create a culture of agility in developing solutions quickly to answer complex challenges — and this approach works for marketers too!
- Use collaboration, connection and community: In marketing, the explosion of peer-to-peer marketing groups allows us to share new approaches and brainstorm, which helps to illuminate a path forward.
- Listen. Ask. Share. In order to take a new approach this is a simple way to activate. Set a goal and then listen to learn. Ask to get clarity and depth. Share to test and adjust. In engineering, this is known as an iterative approach. Its time has come for marketing.
What’s Your prediction on the future of marketing?
Marketing’s role in business will continue to require extreme agility and undergo expansion of responsibilities — from owning the entire customer experience to managing the data functions that lead to improved customer engagement. In order for marketers to stay relevant and sharp, I believe the cross-functional silos in corporations will be broken down and the idea of agile development will exist both internally in companies and externally for marketers who need the mutual benefit from professional communities in order to be the best that they can be. Marketers will expand participation in peer-to-peer professional communities in order to connect, collaborate and fully realize their potential in an era where “what’s possible” is continually being redefined.
Now it’s your turn: Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.