Is Your Marketing Team Proactive? Self-Assess to Find Out

Posted on by Kelly Wrather

project-concept-idea-strategyDigital marketing is dynamic, requiring constant calibration and infinite optimization. John St.’s parody video on “reactvertising” shines an amusing spotlight on how competitive digital advertising has become in recent years; to get ahead and stay ahead, marketers must look beyond what’s right in front of them to make informed predictions about the future of the market, audience and investments and intelligently act on those insights. To thrive in this environment, marketers must be proactive. So how can CMOs determine if their organization’s marketing effort is positioned to thrive?

Consider completing a self-assessment to help understand where your organization falls on the “Marketing Transformation” scale. Before you do that, read through the four stages outlined below and see which most-closely matches your organization.

Level 1: Inactive

Inactive marketing organizations simply “check the box” when it comes to digital advertising. Typically, these are small digital teams (sometimes only one person), so they’re spread thin and lack the bandwidth to go deep on strategy, relying on a “set it and forget” mentality.

Budgets and plans are developed yearly with little variation and sticking to the plan and spending allotted budget is considered a success. These organizations are slow to adopt new methods and technologies and tend to take a manual approach to campaign management, optimization, and reporting. As a result, they conduct little testing and exploration to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Level 2: Reactive

Reactive organizations take action across campaign management, optimization, and reporting; however, they usually act in response to a situation that needs their attention. Channel teams remain siloed with independent objectives and strategies. Often late adopters to emerging channels, they likely lack solidified plans for these when they do adopt them. These marketers recognize that attribution is important but have not moved beyond single-touch models such as last click.

Planning and budgeting are often based on past performance and historical campaign data. For these marketers, proxy metrics such as clicks or click-through rate are indicative of success and serve as drivers for optimizing campaigns with low performing placements the first to get cut. These marketers may boost bids and update creative but usually only for promotional periods or to account for seasonality.

Level 3: Active

Active marketing organizations have their fingers on the pulse of the industry. These marketers key into current trends and technology, leverage tools and platforms to help automate processes, and bring efficiencies to their marketing programs. Reaching audiences in real-time is important, so behavioral and audience data gets layered for targeting and dynamic creative to serve more relevant ads.

These organizations understand that conversions don’t typically occur with a single interaction; they use retargeting to recapture site visitors while taking into account multi-touch attribution to retroactively give credit across channels. To measure success, these marketers look to metrics such as conversions and ROI from the data they regularly pull and analyze.

In these organizations, channel teams are in communication and feature subject matter experts for varying channels. Despite integrations to view data holistically, they still manage and optimize channels independently, meaning cross-channel data cannot be acted on automatically.

Level 4: Proactive

Proactive marketing organizations view historical and current channel performance and the state of present campaigns as small pieces of the puzzle. These organizations focus on the bigger picture and obsess about what’s possible in the future.

As such, they integrate teams and align incentives to over-arching business objectives, making KPIs such as revenue, profit, and customer lifetime value the barometers of success. To achieve these goals, Proactive marketers leverage advanced algorithms to constantly evaluate (and re-evaluate) their campaigns, making automatic adjustments and optimizations that will benefit the portfolio and freeing up time to focus on the most important business aspects. They utilize machine-learning technology to run forecasts and scenario plans and apply the insights gleaned to make informed predictions about their investments and their audiences and take immediate action.

Whether you land in level one, or level four, determining where your organization lands on the scale provides a roadmap for growth and success. To find out where your company falls, visit to take the survey.

Kelly Wrather is senior manager, content marketing at Kenshoo (



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