The marketing world finds itself in a strange bind. After two decades of massive growth in technical and digital infrastructure, brand marketers today have increased capability — and at the same time, diminished ability. Brands can theoretically say more, connect more and personalize more, but they don’t. This is the “tyranny of enablement.”
Can marketing keep up? Below, we’ll dive into the problems marketers face today and how effective collaboration and managed services innovations can help them rise to the challenge.
The Marketing Enablement Problem
Marketing today can be summed up as a state of rapid growth and lagging adaptation. The scope, scale, and pace of opportunities are outrunning all of us.
For example, the cloud gives marketers access to petabytes of identity, segment, and journey data, but most of that data isn’t monetized. Social media has created a constant need for fresh content, but the content stream is so massive and fast-paced that it can feel impossible to create a message that sticks. Consumers’ time is increasingly fragmented across platforms, and to top it all off, the looming threat of the cookiepocalypse makes it daunting for marketers to manage their media.
Marketers are also facing immediate existential concerns that include:
- A soft and unpredictable economy: As capacity ramps up, budgets are shrinking. Budget cuts and hiring freezes aren’t helping marketers keep up — we’re all getting sick of being told to “do more with less!”
- Inability to secure top talent: Marketing firms aren’t only under pressure to hire the best person for the job but to look for people with emergent skills (AI prompt jockey, anyone?).
- An increasingly risk-averse culture: A polarized political climate and reactive social media has made corporations extra sensitive to risk. The headlines are full of stories of marketing missteps and backfires (hello, BudLight).
- A throwaway digital culture: With so much instantly accessible media worldwide, we’ve become a “copy/paste” culture. Creative invention has taken a hit.
To sum it up, the modern CMO/CDO/CXO has more tools and data at their fingertips than ever before. But shrinking budgets, reduced workforces, hiring freezes, and skill gaps prevent them from taking advantage of those opportunities. And then there’s the employee experience: the human teams that work in these corporate organizations simply can’t keep up. In other words, so many companies are in a state of stagnation when they really need a state of innovation.
Old methods of hiring more staffers, adding or changing vendors, and stacking more technology to drive automation aren’t cutting it. It’s time to find new solutions to these challenges.
The Managed Services Solution
So, what can we do?
To understand how marketing teams can keep up with the pressure of the current moment, let’s start by looking at another corporate sector: a company’s CIO/CTO organization. Over the past two decades, IT teams have suffered from hyper-evolution in the tech world and faster cycles of creation and obsolescence— the same issues marketers face today.
Here’s how a lot of CIOs and IT teams have handled those changes:
- Distributed work models: By adopting a distributed model, teams can expand their hiring pool and reach skilled employees in remote locations.
- Agile innovation practices: Nothing is set in stone in the tech world, and innovation is an active and ever-present practice.
- Cloud migration and expansion: Seamless cloud migration allows for more expansive growth, broader access to data and more remote work possibilities.
- Flexible talent models: The modern workforce embraces flexibility and collaboration. Roles aren’t as rigid as they used to be — instead, talented contractors and employees are encouraged to collaborate across departments and workplaces.
- Agile employment processes: Again, employment isn’t what it used to be. Freelance, contract and collaborative roles offer more flexibility and access to emerging talent.
What can a CoE or marketing team learn from the CIO? First, that accumulation of data tangles and binds. Cloud migration and flexible work models are methods of change management. Without change management and responses, the organization will stop advancing. Just like IT learned to innovate, marketing — now one of the most technology-funded and data-driven sectors — will also learn.
Let’s look into a couple of real-world cases to see this learning process in action. WongDoody was able to step in and help these companies adapt, bringing their marketing teams and centers of excellence up to speed.
Case #1: The Wealth Management Brand
An institutional wealth management brand needed to catch up to market expectations when it partnered with WongDoody's managed services. Due to non-existent innovation, slow product development cycles, stagnant talent, and outdated design processes, more nimble competitors outpaced the brand’s team. The company’s partners and investors were fleeing over “irreconcilable differences.”
As much as this brand tried to reskill teams and update design operations, nothing was working — and fixed budgets weren’t helping. That’s where we came in. Our transformation effort included rebadging and reskilling their entire design team as our own employees. This freed up tons of company overhead to establish new leadership models without slashing budgets or losing the value of a skilled design team.
Case #2: The European Telecom
At the start of our partnership with this large European telecom, the teams needed to rebuild their organization, processes, and mindset from the ground up. Their customers’ expectations had changed, and they were falling behind more innovative companies.
We started by integrating with them to run investigative sprints, looking pragmatically at the company’s current state and desired outcomes. Then we helped to redesign their marketing and design organization. The key was creating an integrated team with no “inside vs. outside” separations, incorporating multiple departments and remote employees into a larger, collaborative structure. We also refreshed their customer experience with a seamless digital app.
The result was a cleaner, more flexible outlook: one brand, one space and one customer.
Case #3: The Stalled App
Changes don’t have to be big to drive big results. An insurance risk management company with a stalled app project brought in a small cohort of the right outside talent. This small change took an in-jeopardy project to a top-tier app launch. All it took was a willingness to work outside departmental limits to embrace the upgraded skills available through modern hybrid talent.
The Key to Transformative Change
What we can see from these examples is that existing talent models — whether agency partnerships or contract talent— aren’t enough to keep up with the tyranny of enablement. It takes a mindset shift and a willingness to break from convention. While the exact solutions vary for each company, effective change is always rooted in “inside-out” thinking.
Here are a few concrete examples we empower our clients to implement:
- Focus on a clear end goal: The goal should include quantity and quality of output. It’s important to be as clear and prescriptive as possible to understand the changed state you’re ultimately working toward.
- Be willing to upend established models: Whether talent or labor models, you must be flexible and willing to shake things up to embrace new skills.
- Detach from the existing corporate structure: Center capabilities around an internal agency idea, but don’t get stuck in the same structure that stifled creativity and output in the first place.
- Re-establish mental models: Think of the customer first, and re-center everyday creative practices and design thinking around them.
- Re-design your talent model: Look for ways to create more responsive, nimble teams. Design your talent model around flexibility, modernity, and scalability.
StudioNext: Creating Innovative Managed Services Marketing Teams
Marketing can keep up with the tyranny of enablement. As companies learn to adapt to an ever-changing media world, dynamic, innovative teams will be able to keep up while outdated models will be left behind. It all comes down to a few fundamental principles: flexibility, creativity, collaboration, and a willingness to shake things up.
Infosys, WongDoody’s parent company, harnesses these same principles to revolutionize technology and talent for global corporations, making Infosys the literal “back end” of the Fortune 500. The Infosys models for digital transformation, enterprise learning, innovative talent, and reskilling programs have accelerated the capabilities of the CIOs/CTOs they work with to compete better across every industry. We took that idea and created a new offering that provides the same benefit to the marketing, product and service organizations. We call it StudioNext.
StudioNext is a transformative solution designed to move organizations beyond their current limits. We help your team work around budget allocations, staffing restrictions, and agency obligations. It focuses on agility, innovation, talent flexibility, skill enhancement, and cost relief.
At WongDoody, we usher modern companies into a new era of digital marketing and creativity. StudioNext empowers businesses to rethink how they get things done to build a more agile, innovative, and impactful marketing capability. The tyranny of enablement is real — but there are real, collaborative solutions that can help you tame it. And once you’ve untangled and strengthened your team, you’ll be amazed at how fast you can run.