Reboot With Matt: A 7-Step Marketing Cleanse for the Age of the Customer

05/22/2015 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2016

I'm on a juice cleanse, Reboot with Joe, from that documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. That's the one with the fat, sick (and apparently nearly dead) guy who travels across America with a Breville juicer in the trunk of his car preaching the health benefits of a micronutrient-rich diet. It's currently on Netflix in case you haven't seen it yet.

That got me thinking. The idea behind a cleanse (or "reboot" as the movie calls it) is to rid the body of toxins and other unhealthy material by flushing it with a large quantity of performance-boosting nutrients. We cleanse our bodies to help it perform at its best. But can we do the same thing to our business strategies? Can you "reboot" your marketing strategy like you can your body?

I was in San Diego recently for the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, which covered the latest in digital marketing trends. The buzz and excitement around the emergence of new marketing technologies, such as the marketing cloud, and the rapid consolidation in the marketing technology area, was palpable.

But taking advantage of these trends requires a reboot. Marketers are doomed to fail if they don't embrace the changes gripping their industry. It's time for marketers to give their strategy a reboot — flushing it of accumulated inefficiencies and outdated thinking that could be holding you back.

Here's my 7-step plan for cleansing your marketing strategy and preparing for the new age of the customer:

1 - Understand Marketing Technology

By know you've heard of the term marketing technologist. It's the new hotness of marketing roles, and for good reason. The industry is undergoing rapid technological consolidation in the marketing space. Software vendors like to call these products "marketing clouds" while others prefer "marketing hubs". Whatever the label, marketers finally have a consolidated set of technologies to deal with the brave new digital marketing world. This includes analytics, customer experience (through a CMS), campaigns, commerce, social media tools, and many others. Marketing technologist are in high demand because they understand the value that these new tools bring, and the opportunities they unlock. At the very least, CMOs should begin to transition their teams to be more technology-centric.

2 - Customer Experience is Everything

The collective set of digital experiences you give your customers is what becomes your brand and this brand experience is now your competitive differentiator. Some 89% of companies believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition. Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50% of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations.

Marketers must embed a customer-centric focus in their strategies if they are to compete effectively.

3 - Organizational Structure Must Align with Your Strategy

Organizational structure and roles within it need to change. In the vast majority of companies, the current reporting structure is not well suited to customer-centric strategies. Organizations must undergo radical shifts in their structures to align themselves with how customers act in a new world obsessed with digital experiences.

The CMO should closely collaborate with the CIO, and build from there. For some organizations, hiring a Chief Digital Officer may be a good option.

4 - Ecommerce Is Part of Marketing

Ecommerce is now a tool for marketers. Historically, ecommerce was sold to IT departments. They were robust and complicated enterprise platforms that needed integration into a number of other enterprise systems such as ERP, CRM, OMS, PIM, CMS and others. Today, commerce capability is being surfaced through APIs to content and experience platforms that are used almost exclusively by marketers. This allows marketers to integrate slices of commerce functionality at specific moments across the buyer's journey in ways that they never could before.

Marketers must consider themselves the new business owner of ecommerce.

5 - All Marketing is Digital Marketing

It's not exactly taboo to use the term digital marketing, but basically all marketing is now digital in some respect. Today's customer journey meanders randomly through a variety of touchpoints across digital and physical. Nothing is solely offline anymore.

Marketers should stop thinking of digital as a separate tactic, and instead seamlessly weave digital experiences throughout their strategy.

6 - Mobile

We are in the midst of a Mobile Mindshift. I've written about this concept before, and it's worth repeating. The new battleground for customers is the mobile moment, but the scary truth is that most companies are simply not ready for it.

CMOs must seriously ratchet up their mobile experiences, putting it at the forefront of everything they do.

7 - CRM As We Know It Is Dead

The customer is in charge. CRM is dead. The customer manages the relationship now. CMOs need to use content and data to engage customers on their terms.

By rebooting your marketing strategy with a fresh infusion of modern thinking and renewed focus on the customer's digital experience, marketers will be well positioned for the long haul.

To find out more about how you can reboot your marketing strategy, download a free copy of my ebook "The New Customer Journey" at

Matt is Vice President of Marketing for Elastic Path. With a career spanning 20+ years, Matt is a consummate thought leader in the areas of digital marketing, experience-driven commerce, commerce strategy, marketing, and business development. His unique insights on how executives can build digitally-enhanced experiences that unlock new value have been featured in TechCrunch, CMSWire, Huffington Post, Internet Retailer, Get Elastic ecommerce blog, Retail Online Integration, and Chain Store Age. Matt is also a much sought-after speaker on the lecture circuit, having presented at Adobe Summit, Enterprise World, Digital Entertainment World, Luxury Interactive, Digital Hollywood, and others.