Marketing Maturity: Where Do You Rate?

Marketing is very much like fishing – the fish are the customers you are trying to catch, the fisherman is the marketer, and the style of fishing is your marketing maturity.

What kind of fisherman/marketer are you?


Are You a Novice?

The novice fisherman uses a net or a spear. He may be able to take some fish home, but possibly none. Both are highly inefficient and laborious fishing styles which produce little results and always end up scaring off all the fish.

Companies at this maturity stage are characterized by a reliance on out-dated and ineffective direct marketing which drive away potential customers.

Novice Marketing:

  • Traditional marketing organization – heavy in direct marketing such as direct mail, cold calling, telemarketing, PR, events etc.
  • No CRM or a legacy CRM which has mostly out of date data, little or no use of CRM by marketing
  • Many silos of customer and lead data, managed mainly through spreadsheets
  • A mix of disconnected, basic marketing tools
  • Ad-hoc process for the execution of marketing – 12 month plans which are not adhered to

80% of companies are novices in marketing maturity.

Are You a Beginner?

The beginner fisherman has understood that attracting fish with bait is more effective. He catches fish effectively but wastes a lot of time with small fish he has to throw back. He has an ad-hoc approach to sourcing and selection of bait.

Companies at this marketing maturity stage are characterized by a lack of nurturing of leads or customers; they have a lot of leakage in their marketing/sales funnel.

Beginner Marketing:

  • Understands the basics of inbound marketing – produces some useful digital or print collateral for prospects or educational events
  • Email tool for batch and blast
  • A modern CRM with somewhat up to date data
  • A mix of marketing tools, some connected to the CRM, but mainly using spreadsheets to manage marketing data, some use of CRM by marketing
  • Traditional project management for execution of marketing  – 12 or 6 month planning, some adherence to project plans

15% of companies are beginners in marketing maturity.

Are You Mature?

The mature fisherman has realized that nurturing the small fish he catches, by keeping them in a fish farm, is more effective than throwing them back. Unfortunately his fish farm is not efficient: a lot of fish die from lack of food and he constantly needs to restock.

Companies at this stage of marketing maturity are characterized by a focus on discrete campaigns instead of continuous content creation and customer engagement.

Mature Marketing

  • Uses a marketing automation tool or advanced email marketing platform
  • Does highly segmented email marketing
  • Has a modern CRM tightly integrated with marketing automation or email platform
  • Does some basic social media marketing with tools
  • Lacks a content strategy and execution capability
  • Traditional project management for execution of marketing  – 6 month planning with good adherence to project plans
  • Very much a campaign by campaign focus

4% of companies are mature.

Are You Advanced?

The advanced fisherman has refined the fish farm with a consistent source of bait: the worm farm. This fisherman not only produces bait for fishing but more than enough to nurture the small fish in his fish farm till they are big. He has a system which enables him to predict how much worms he needs to and how many fish he needs to catch to keep a steady supply of big fish to the dinner table.

Companies at this stage of marketing maturity are characterized by the continuous measurement and refinement of their marketing/sales engine.

Advanced Marketing

  • Advanced usage of marketing automation tool
  • One-to-one or highly segmented email marketing
  • Sophisticated content marketing process/team to fuel inbound strategy
  • Continuous content instead of campaign-by-campaign focus
  • Personalized customer experience with integrated CMS & CRM and marketing platform
  • Uses lean and agile for marketing planning &  execution – no redundant long term plans, instead has short iterative cycles

1% of companies are advanced in marketing maturity.

By knowing your marketing maturity, you can identify your current state and help you set your goals. That way, you can design a strategy to move forward and be successful in your marketing efforts. You may not fall into one category exactly, but likely one of these stages will stand out as your level of marketing maturity.

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