The 5 Most Underestimated Roles Critical to Cross-Channel Success

Lessons shared at Adobe Summit.

The 5 Most Underestimated Roles Critical to Cross-Channel Success
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When a race car driver wins, most focus on their ability or that of the car — maybe both. But in reality, races are won or lost in the pit, where there is a team working hard to ensure the success and safety of the driver. Fuel lead, safety spotter, meteorologist, technologist, crew chief, tire carriers, tire changers, and more. As with any team working toward a common goal, they require collaboration and communication. It’s often overlooked that the successes of teams are not achieved by individuals alone, but the flawless work of multiple individuals working in unison.

The same can be said for cross-channel marketing teams. It is easy to focus on end results — delivering superior customer experiences that drive engagement, conversions, and revenue, but what sometimes gets downplayed — or, more accurately, underestimated — is the team behind delivering that experience.

At the recent Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, I was fortunate to present with Tony Arbelaez, senior manager in email marketing at Expedia Group, about how they formed a powerhouse cross-channel marketing team that supports the Travelocity brand. Teamwork is critical at Travelocity. According to Tony, “Our team relies on each other to communicate clear business rules, campaign delivery schedules, and audience segmentation.”

In our session at Summit, Optimizing Your Team for Cross-Channel Marketing, we highlighted five key roles that go underemphasized, why they’re valuable, and how you can support them well.

  • Data steward: They are primarily responsible for gathering the offer data, maintaining the recipient promotability profile, and consuming email response data for reporting. They also assist in maintaining and enhancing the data architecture in Adobe Campaign, creating new tables/schemas, extending existing schemas, and building import/export workflows.
  • Campaign developer: They are primarily responsible for the general operations of the Adobe Campaign platform, which includes maintaining Adobe Campaign database health, developing email content, and developing new campaigns and workflows. The skill set should include strong analytical, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML development abilities.
  • Content manager: They are responsible for ensuring legal quality assurance of terms and conditions and overall messaging — which includes subject lines, body content, and images shown in emails. They work closely with the design team on ensuring that there is a consistent brand voice throughout the various email offerings.
  • Campaign manager: They are the chief scheduler and planner for all merchandising emails. They create various test scenarios to continually improve campaign performance. They are the relationship manager with any third-party vendors used in the creation of email content.
  • Strategic analytics: They are responsible for the weekly analysis of campaign performance — measuring each campaign’s response data (opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes) against forecasts and trends. They closely monitor content tests and communicate winning content back to the campaign manager and developers to make changes to feature the winning content.

I asked Tony about the importance of teamwork in order to function at a high level and he said what’s most important is “having the right team in place enabled us to design, build, and execute campaigns faster and with better results, through communication and collaboration.”

In addition to key roles, there are other considerations for teams to function at a high level. One should consider soft skills, like the ability for a teammate to effectively collaborate and communicate with others. Problem-solving, analytic skills, and project management are important.

Also, marketers should assess their readiness for cross-channel marketing by evaluating the status of their core activities, with a mind to understanding whether they’re prepared to adopt and evolve new campaign strategies. When ready, they can leverage a campaign management tool to mature the customer experience.

Lastly, marketers should consider the importance of organizational design. There are three considerations: An organization should consider a cross-channel center of excellence when they have concentrated teams of subject matter experts who build, disseminate, and standardize a specific capability throughout the company. This approach will help share results and learnings across teams, as well as increase early adoption. Cross-experience teams are encouraged when an organization is focused on improving the customer journey, coordinating across internal executors of experience in different parts of the journey. An agile approach is helpful when there are cross-functional pods focused on discrete projects that support a larger business objective and operate using agile methodologies.

With a constant rate of change in marketing, those marketers most likely to succeed are those who see changes in processes, technology, or trends as opportunities to evolve their business rather than as individual events that need to be managed.

To embrace this approach means understanding your organization’s skill sets, technology, and goals, and how each impact the others. And for that, build a team that is diverse in skill sets, whom you trust, and with whom you choose to communicate well. Doing this will optimize your team and help you start winning some of your most sought-after goals.

There are many tools that can help you with adapting and adjusting as you continue on your cross-channel journey. I recommend the Campaign Insiders email series for tutorials, tips/tricks, and industry best practices. Another good resource is the Experience League, which is an enablement program designed for cross-channel experience makers. I also collaborated with Cathy McKnight of the Digital Clarity Group to create a Cross-channel Readiness Assessment, to help marketers and organizations assess their readiness for cross-channel technology and strategies. Lastly, check out our new content titled “The New Amazing,” which is a training program especially for marketers.

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