Why building corporate memory muscle is your best marketing investment
By Jodie Byass
We all know there’s a high level of turnover in the average marketing team. How high? Well, according to a recent LinkedIn study, marketing roles have the highest turnover rate of any job function at an amazing 17%.
So on average, 1 in 5 of members of your marketing team will leave and need to be replaced every year. That smashes the average global churn for most job functions, which is about 1 in 10.
Is it really surprising? There’s a lot of demand and opportunity out there for the savvy marketer. Most organisations need marketing. The number of channels to market grows every year. New skills are being developed to meet those needs. Organisations need to keep skilling up.
On the down side, there’s an unfortunate tendency within some companies to treat marketing as the “colouring-in department” or as a supplier of creative services for the sales and product teams, which may also be contributing to that churn.
When you couple this with the fact that many marketing teams find it hard to clearly demonstrate the value they add to the organisation, there’s plenty of motivation for great people to keep moving in the search for the right job.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that usually happen when key people leave marketing teams:
- Assumed knowledge is lost;
- Assets and documentation are lost;
- Processes break down;
- Brand consistency falters;
- The risk of brand or regulatory governance failure increases; and
- Work slows down or even stops.
Over time, high churn levels in marketing can damage your corporate memory, causing inconsistencies in the customer experience and hampering your ability to improve strategy, decision-making, problem-solving and operations. And when that corporate memory muscle breaks down, it’s a long, hard struggle to build it up again.
The first warning sign is when data is stored in silos or lost on personal hard drives, never to be seen again. If you’re lucky there will be people around who still know whether that critical document you’re searching for was emailed to staff, shared on your messaging system, posted on your intranet, and so on. If not, kiss it goodbye and start again…
At worst, it will lead to a degradation of the customer experience, or result in your organisation repeating past mistakes because it’s operating without the context of the institutional knowledge those employees had. You might adopt an old positioning strategy without knowing why it failed the first time. You will probably end up drawing the same conclusions — but who’s to say how long that will take, and how many customers you could lose in the process?
Corporate knowledge loss is a phenomenal drain on business — it costs an estimated AUD $640,000 (£354,000/USD$460,000 for my northern hemisphere friends) per employee, according to one study — and that’s on top of the usual recruitment replacement costs.
So how can you combat this problem? Marketing teams often produce large amounts of documentation contained in Word documents, shared drives, intranets and so on in an effort to document processes and capture at least some of that corporate knowledge.
But you can only expect about 50% of your corporate memory to be documented. A further 40% will be assumed knowledge that lives in people’s heads, and the remaining 10% will be transient knowledge that goes back and forth in communications.
And according to our research, one in 2 marketing teams don’t document their processes at all.
Even when they do, it’s common for great documentation to go to waste — simply because the new guy or girl has no idea where it is.
Now imagine your marketing team has one central workplace, where all of its repeatable processes are documented and used on a daily basis.
Marketing plans, tactics and outcomes are captured in one place, and retained for when the next plan is drawn up.
Next steps are automated, with key processes and input incorporated from teams such as risk, compliance and legal.
Everyone not only knows the process, but the tools that should be used throughout, ensuring you make better use of your martech budget.
As a team you deliver consistently seamless customer experiences because your guidelines are clear and you have visibility over all marketing activity.
Finally, a clear picture of the return against the total marketing investment — budget, internal resources and time — is generated. And artificial intelligence can even be used to recommend improvements based on past outcomes.
That’s what a marketing resource management platform such as Simple offers: one vision; one ecosystem; one platform for marketing that enables everyone to know what needs to happen next and helps you deliver a brilliant customer experience.
Get in touch to find out how Simple’s Marketing Operations Clouds platform can help your marketing team get in shape by building up its corporate memory muscle. Book a Demo to see how it works.