The Western European IoT Market will rise from $114 billion in 2015 to nearly $290 billion in 2020, according to IDC and many vendors will benefit. IoT is a subset of the Digital Transformation efforts within many companies, some believe it is the engine. According to a recent report from KPMG on Digitalisation in Manufacturing the biggest need for change has been identified in technology (75 %) followed by the development of existing staff (63 %) and internal organization (62 %). While the report is focusing on manufacturing, the findings on staff and organization can most likely be transferred on other industries as the results will not vary significantly. In other words, the respondents clearly name the need to look into the human side if businesses want to succeed.

So what does that mean for Marketing? How can leaders today ensure they develop their existing staff to leverage the full potential of IoT? What skills do they need to bring on board to succeed? How does the future marketing organization look like?

While we are used to many changes in our digital era already, our organizational setup has not really adapted in the past decades. Digital Transformation will change how we are organized in the future. Priorities, budgets and responsibilities will transform. Flat, decentralized, autonomous entities will emerge. Hiring an IoT Marketing Manager and putting him in the existing Marketing team is not necessarily the best answer.

We cannot just continue but need to stop, think and adapt. An option could be to establish Bimodal Marketing similar to approaches that IT have implemented some time ago: One team continues to run Marketing as is while other members become part of cross-functional teams looking into IoT and digital business models. Many companies are outplacing staff into “Innovation Labs” or “Incubation Teams” to establish a protected environment. The priorities are different and this should lead the thinking about reporting lines.

Some reports talk about “bringing the best people on board” which implies to a certain extent that you should hire new (digital native) staff. I suggest to rephrase this slightly: Identify the people who are willing to embark on that journey, develop them and bring new talent on board only where you identify gaps. Not everything that is possible makes sense. You need a mix between experienced people who know the company structure and digital natives.

No matter if you look into your existing staff or new people you need the right mindset. How do you select the right people? What are your “Non-Negotiables” for team members to follow you on the digital journey? While each leader needs to decide individually following some proposals of what could be relevant:

Agility: Real-time is the ultimate goal in the digital era so people with a sense of urgency and a proven experience in making things happen are best suited. Operational experts with the capability to get things done.

Innovation: As IoT is about entering new territory you need people with an open mind, interested in new technologies and developments. Risk takers who are not afraid of a future that is to a certain extent unknown. Always curious and eager to discover uncharted territory.

Business Acumen: IoT can have multiple business benefits from improving operations, reducing cost, increasing security to ultimately new business models. Marketers who are able to look at the overall picture and business impact including ROI are preferred. The ability to develop offers linked with the ability to develop value propositions and a story. Self-Starters, interested in new approaches, with an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to take the right decisions autonomously.

Integration: To foster integration, you need “Connectors”, i.e. people who easily connect and bring together teams. This is relevant internally and externally as companies might need to work with 3rd parties in a partner ecosystem to deliver complete solutions.

Communication: Successes and progress need to be communicated internally and ultimately externally. A proper understanding of relevant channels, communities and how to craft powerful messaging as well as stories are beneficial.

Data-Driven Digital Marketing Skills: Digitally successful companies measure everything that is possible and optimize continuously with the aim to maximize business results. IoT is about using data so related skills are needed in terms of collecting data, analyzing and drawing the right conclusions. Experience in data-driven marketing to drive demand and ROI are critical for the success of digital transformation projects.

The important thing is to get going. Setting the mindset and selecting the right people is a good start.

This blog appeared first on Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog