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how to organize marketing

Marketing is in the Middle: Mike Troiano

It’s time for input from other people again here at SR.  So I decide to dust off a series I start a while back call Marketing is in the Middle.  The last time I did this I got some really good responses from a host of folks:

I’m kicking off this round with Mike Troiano.  So who’s MJ?  I’ve just recently started reading his stuff in last in 90 days or so and he has a straightforward approach to most everything he posts.    For an introduction to his efforts, I would take a look at his how to sell post.    Mike Troiano is currently a Principal at Holland-Mark in Boston. His blog, Scalable Intimacy, also provides a lens into agencies as well, not just marketing insights.   Mike has had a bunch of leadership roles across multiple functional groups throughout his career.  I suspect his insight into multiple groups was key to him being the founding CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Interactive.

So here’s Mike’s take on Marketing Being in the Middle:

What marketing roles have you had and in what markets?

I was a brand guy at McCann, an interactive guy at Ogilvy, a mobile guy at m-Qube, and a social guy at Holland-Mark.

When you look at your career in marketing, what activities have you found most interesting/challenging?

There’s something I find interesting at the intersection of marketing and new technology, so that’s pretty much where I’ve focused my career.

Based on your experience what activities do you think get the most return?
That’s a pretty broad question, and I don’t think there’s a single tactical answer that applies in every case. Speaking generally… I believe in the power of brands, and the common thread across all of my digital marketing work is that it was about leveraging new media to seed, cultivate and harvest relationships.

What do you feel is the most important component of a successful marketing gig?

I’d have to say quality of execution. I think the age of “easy” marketing is over, and the marketing that works today invariably has a lot of moving parts and details to get right coordinate. Managing those details effectively is what it’s all about.

How have you seen organizations change in the last 3-5 years to better support the needs of product marketers, product managers and communications teams?

No, I really haven’t. I think most brands are still trying to figure out what do with the social stuff, for example. Very few have determined how to re-align themselves to take full advantage of that opportunity. I’m sure it will happen, but with notable exceptions, I don’t think it has yet.

If you could design the perfect corporate environment for a marketer to be successful what would that be?

Great marketing organizations have CEO’s that support them, leaders with the courage to take risks, ground troops who focus on quality of execution, systems to measure results and iterate, and passion for real business results.

How far is this from reality?

Pretty far.  I think most marketing organizations have 1 or 2 of those things, really good ones have 3 or 4, and only the rock star teams have them all.

So what’s next?

I think what’s next is companies starting to make the structural, systemic and procedural changes necessary to take advantage of social media. It’s one thing to hire some college kid to tweet on behalf your brand, for example… quite another to inform your product development and other marketing priorities with the insights you’re gleaning on an ongoing basis through Twitter. Sometimes I think most marketing people are still trying to make social media go away, trying to either outsource it or put it in a box at the margin of the business. I think this year we’ll start to see companies really start to view the social stuff as a mechanism to connect with the external reality, and taking full advantage of that potential will require more fundamental changes.


Blog: Scalable Intimacy

Twitter: @miketrap


Many thanks for Mike’s willingness to kick off this series with some clarity from the field!!