There are a lot of very important parts of a house that your contractor has to get right in order for your house to do its job.
It’s the same in marketing. We categorize all those moving pieces into five pillars of marketing maturity. These are the five things you have to get right if you want your marketing strategy to do its job.
What happens if you don’t? This infographic gives a glimpse of what happens when these areas are out of balance. (Read on for more details.)
For houses, these pillars look like a well-constructed foundation, walls, roof, floors, and utilities.
For marketing, these crucial areas look like this:
Audience insights. Define your ICP and the members of your buying groups, and create personas to help you understand them.
Planning. Establish sustainable processes encompassing sales, product, channel groups, and global and regional marketing teams.
Marketing tech stack. Develop a strong foundation of basic technologies, clean data, and solid processes before you can start adding technology, integrations and automation.
Execution. Define clear objectives and ensure everyone is held accountable for achieving them. A/B test. Evaluate your results. Pivot and adjust tactical plans as necessary.
Measurement. Focus on outcome and impact-based goals (like MQAs) to provide a yardstick to measure and demonstrate value.
When your marketing strategy is consistently strong in all five of these areas, it’ll do more than deliver the results you want. It will be scalable and flexible to shift with the evolving market.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting out or don’t have enough marketing bandwidth, your strategy might not be ready to deliver on your goals. Work on strengthening each of these five areas and you’ll build a marketing strategy that won’t fall down under pressure.
In between each of these extremes are two profiles we like to call “lumpy” maturity and “chaotic, unconnected” maturity. Here’s what they look like and what you can expect.
What happens when you put more effort on your foundation than your roof?
If you have the best roof, but a rotten frame, your house will still fall down. If you have the best foundation, roof and walls, but your utilities were done by an amateur, your electricity could still short circuit and your plumbing could still leak.
We call this lumpy maturity. Effective marketing needs all parts to work together simultaneously. When some areas are really good, but the others are not as strong, it leads to suboptimal results—which in some cases is worse than those companies with low maturity across all the pillars.
Likewise, if you are strong in every area except, let’s say, audience insights, it can still bring your strategy down. Just like a well-built house with a leaky roof can end up ruining your whole house, lacking direction in something as crucial as your target audience, can prevent you from getting the results you want.
What about when you have a lot of builders with different objectives?
Ever heard of the Winchester Mystery House—the mansion renowned for its labyrinthine layout, staircases leading to nowhere, and doors that open onto walls or drop into empty space? This is what you get when you have too many contractors with too many conflicting objectives and tactics. It’s a fascinating oddity when it’s a mansion.
It’s a nightmare when it’s a business.
In marketing, you get a noisy, contradicting environment where silos lead to duplication, complex layers, and often initiatives that end up canceling each other out. We call this chaotic, unconnected maturity.
While each silo may be performing at a high level—your stairway may be beautifully designed and constructed—the whole strategy becomes disconnected due to the conflicting or redundant objectives, platforms, and tactics. And your beautiful stairway leads to nowhere. You might get results from some of your many efforts, but you’ll also waste a lot of time and resources from the chaos.
The Iron Horse insight.
Your marketing strategy won’t do its job if you aren’t developing each of these five pillars equally. It’s often tempting to devote time and effort to the areas you feel most confident, but you just won’t get the outcomes you need that way. Grow your marketing maturity holistically, and you’ll start seeing results. Curious how your marketing measures up? Take our 5-minute Marketing Maturity Assessment to see exactly where your strategy needs to be strengthened to get the best possible return on your marketing efforts.