If you are a marketer would you feel comfortable leading a team made up of finance, developers, logistics and so on? Why would you have to? Because markets, customers and enterprise capabilities are all changing. And marketers have to catch on.
It is easy being a marketer and leading a team of social media junkies or PR pros.
But the future belongs to holistic teams, or what Fin Goulding and I call Flow teams, teams that are capable of managing a flow of work from initial insight (say that a customer segment is badly under-served) to the build and delivery of a product/service or feature. And then the collection of feedback to improve the product service, feature and process that built it.
This type of person is what we call a value-manager. Value managers will be crucial to the future of enterprises of all sizes. They will have an overview of how value is emerging with a product/service or feature set. And they will also have the know-how to spot where the build and delivery process is wasteful or could be more pro-value.
That’s the central message of Flow: A Handbook for Change Makers; and 12 Steps to Flow: The New Framework for Agile Business. The books are in fact a how-to. How to create the flow teams that give you business agility.
We are fixated on who in an enterprise can take a new idea about the market or can generate insights and then make sure the idea becomes something that adds to customer success. That person then has to capture feedback from those customers to improve process because the last thing a marketer wants is to try pushing bad products with too high a price tag because of internal waste.
Enterprises are going to have to do this dozens of times a month. With new IT capabilities, often that marketers are unaware of, companies now update their systems dozens of times day. The Chinese insurance company Zhong An created 200 new products in two years.
The marketer of the future is also ready here of course. The skill set takes all of us outside our traditional silos. And of course HR needs to catch up with this. But marketers need:
- To get back to real insight generation – spotting market segments
- Working with developers, business analysts, finance and so on to create new ideas for those segments
- Formulate the workflow, including the work design, financial promise, software, content and delivery processes, to get the idea into a product and out the digital door
- Do it very quickly
- Create the feedback loops that make rapid adaptation easy.
There will be a battle for who is best suited to lead Flow teams, who is prepared to requalify themselves to be the value manager.. Marketers need to bring their A game to it.