Marianne Hewitt
Marianne Hewitt 17 January 2020

Marketing's Digital Divide: It's Just Marketing

Customers are demanding intelligent omnichannel engagement. Marketers are expecting satisfying and challenging work experiences and rich career opportunities. Businesses require profitable organic growth. Read how to achieve all of the above through the right combination of organisational structure and teaming, an agile marketing approach to work, and a streamlined MarTech stack in an integrated marketing ecosystem!

The Conundrum

David Ogilvy, known as the "Father of Advertising" who built his agency using direct mail promotion, would not recognise today’s marketing organisations.

Marketing has evolved from a supporting nonstrategic department to one of the most important actors in today’s businesses driving profitable growth, retention, loyalty and advocacy. Marketing has transformed from a product-pushing entity to a customer focused team striving to build value-based customer relationships. Today, we have very concrete marketing influenced revenue targets!

Traditional outbound marketing efforts are insufficient to address the fast paced, mobile and social engagement our customers expect. Buyers insulate themselves from the onslaught of direct mail, email and other outbound messaging. The alternative to intrusive outbound contacts is earning people’s interest and trust and being relevant through the practice of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is not intrusive. Through blogs, social marketing, and newsletters we create awareness and attract new followers. Prospective customers come to us. We develop relationships with them through nurture programs. We nurture them through the buying cycle to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) which we handoff to sales for opportunity management and conversion.

Over the last decade, many organisations have not structured themselves to achieve channel integration – the blending of inbound and outbound engagement. Instead, many organisations have allowed a separate and distinct “digital” marketing team to evolve. It operates along-side the traditional outbound marketers but may not always work on integrated channel programs with them. This digital team is the repository of knowledge for all things web, social, search and mobile marketing. To address the ever-increasing channels that serve the digital world, over time we have added staff to the original web team without thinking ahead that a more holistic team would serve our customers, our employees and, therefore, our businesses better.

Herein lies Marketing’s Digital Divide.

This divide creates barriers to achieving the seamless, insight driven, omnichannel experience to which we aspire. It also prevents marketers from developing into the holistic professionals who know how to orchestrate engagement over channels with the appropriate touch at the appropriate time.

Eliminating the Divide

As marketing continues to evolve, we must address the barriers that are getting in the way of success. What are the key components required to transform marketing organizations and the way we execute to attract, nurture, convert, retain and grow share of wallet more effectively in a multichannel, multidevice world?

The Structure: A Synergistic team of talent

Various organisation models are utilized in marketing organisations today. Structures are driven by segment, product, geography, or business unit. Structures also vary depending on a B2B or B2C selling paradigm. A simplified organisational structure for discussion purposes is depicted. The Demand Center is an integrated team of inbound and outbound marketers.


A fluid network or ecosystem of internal and external team members coalesces into a program team. The program team transcends the formal organisational hierarchy. A representative marketing ecosystem is shown.



On-the-job training and learning by osmosis is an ideal way to cross-train marketers by executing in a collaborative team environment. External training programs where marketers network with other marketers from different organisations provide additional and alternative points of view. This is also valuable in preventing group think and bringing in new ideas and techniques.

We want to develop inbound and outbound skills of all marketers. We also want them to have deep expertise in more than one discipline. Areas of focus can change and grow throughout a career in order to build a bench for succession planning purposes. We want employees to be engaged, inspired and feel valued.

Approach to work, Data and Tools

However, the team structure is only part of the formula for success. Collaboration among marketing disciplines will move us toward a more agile and innovative marketing culture. Marketing needs a systems mindset to maximise its effectiveness using the technologies it has at its fingertips today.

Many marketing organisations have already adopted a systems mindset. They understand the value of a fluid ecosystem for collaboration and have established common and standard processes, practices and priorities.

They have alignment from business strategy to marketing strategy to marketing initiatives.  They use data for competitive advantage and to personalize to build trusting relationships with customers.  Tools for collaboration, communication and MarTech stack integration come together for increased effectiveness and efficiencies.

The synergies of all these components working together real time is pronounced.

4 Benefits from Eliminating Marketing’s Digital Divide

As we bring the key solution components together, we have the foundation for a high performing marketing ecosystem.

That ecosystem results in:

  1. Marketers more fully appreciating the value of omnichannel programs and a deepened understanding of the power and role of individual channels
  2. A scalable approach to work that delivers assets and programs which can be enhanced quickly and easily
  3. A spirit of continuous learning, improvement and innovation in a deeply collaborative environment
  4. Last, but not least, marketing influenced revenue with more profitable growth and retention.

By eliminating marketing’s digital divide, marketing transforms itself from a rigid, isolated hierarchy to an integrated and aligned ecosystem of internal and external marketers that deliver profitable growth and retention.

Marketing’s Call to Action

Best-in-class marketers take a holistic view of engagement. They understand touchpoints will take place over a diverse set of channels during the buyer’s journey. These marketers take an integrated approach to meld inbound and outbound teams and have them work and partner together. They adopt an “adapting is a continuous process” mentality.

Follow these steps to eliminate Marketing’s Digital Divide:

  • Evaluate your organisation and shape it to work in a more fluid network
  • Develop and execute a change management program to get everyone on board and moving in the same direction
  • Implement agile marketing in order to scale high quality programs quickly
  • Identify the metrics to measure success. Track them. Initiate improvements based on those metrics.

It’s Just Marketing!

When we work as a channel agnostic team and focus on today’s multidevice, multichannel buyer’s journeys, we can use diverse channel plays that reinforce and support each other to produce seamless and superior customer engagement with measurable improvements to profitable revenue growth.

It’s no longer “Digital Marketing” . . . It’s just Marketing.

About the author:

Marianne is a marketer, technologist and strategist who is an ardent proponent of people, organization and business success.  She experiences great satisfaction in watching technology evolve and teams evolving along with it!  

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