Business Growth Requires Smart Marketing
23 January 2013
Marketing is confronted with a stark choice. To avoid losing its place on the business ladder, it must either step up and become an integrated hub of insight and innovation or fall down to the rung of catchy tunes and pretty pictures.
Marketing risks being replaced at executive level by disciplines
with a real ability to move the business needle - those departments
with measureable intelligence and predictable or tangible business
Today customers are informed, connected and powerful. They will
not accept irrelevant messaging or mediocre products; they will not
be hoodwinked by vague or veiled promises. People generate data
wherever they go, through their purchasing behaviour, online search
history and their conversations - and they expect that business
will use the information they give knowingly to provide
products and services that they want, when they want them.
Marketing is faced with a world of opportunity and its next move
will decide whether it climbs or slips on the ladder of
Marketing now, more than ever, is about real intelligence. It is
about making smart choices in the moment, investing in the right
places to understand your customers better, structuring your
departments to facilitate the free flow of insight and directing
innovation across the organisation through embedded process and
Ensuring your marketing people have the analytical skills and
are therefore asking the right questions is the first step to
successful marketing strategy. Questions like 'why do customers
feel this way?' or 'what kind of experiences do they love?' or 'how
can this brand innovate to make their lives easier?' It's the
difference between information and insight - which is ultimately
the difference between stagnation and growth.
There are five key things that marketing needs to get right
- Relevance. Marketing's core function is to be
the customer insight champion. Businesses that understand their
customers will flourish. And we mean real understanding - from
needs and desires to passions, hobbies and political points of
view. Marketers that 'really get their customers' build brands that
resonate, connect emotionally and generate growth.
Practical tip: If you're still using a segmentation model
based purely on demographics then try and create a more
multi-layered view using overlays like behaviour, attitude, needs,
previous buying patterns and others.
- Purpose. The crises across our economy,
political arena and environment have left consumers disillusioned
and untrusting. It's time for business to re-think its role in
society and formulate strategies that are built on shared value.
Well-defined strategic platforms that tightly knit into the core
purpose of a business, help align marketing with people behaviour
and at the same time deliver tangible societal value or
improvement.will win consumer trust.
Practical tip: Try and re-write your business Purpose,
Vision and Values (PVV) as simple, tangible, easy to deliver
constructs that simultaneously deliver profit and social
- Intelligence. Yes, this is the age of Big
Data, but we need humans to make sense of it all. We need marketers
that are as empathetic, insightful and compassionate as they are
comfortable with vast quantities of real-time unstructured
Practical tip: If you don't have a planning meeting set
up with the CIO to discuss the integration of marketing and IT
initiatives then make one tomorrow.
- Relationships. Successful marketers realise
that the power of real relationships change business fortunes. To
increase advocacy and word of mouth, businesses must ensure
increased relevant participation with their customers and must
ensure that every interaction with their consumers meets or exceeds
Practical tip: Undertake a simple qualitiative internal
audit to check the extent to which the business builds real
relationships at every customer touch-point. The results will tell
you what to do next.
- Innovation. Emerging markets used to play the
'first to follow' strategy really well but all of that has now
changed. With markets changing faster than ever before, no one can
afford to rest on their laurels. Disrupt or be disrupted: there are
enormous business opportunities for those who innovate in emerging
markets for emerging markets. But innovation for innovation sake
will fail - be guided by real insight into your market and a clear
business case on how to fulfil their unmet needs.
Practical tip: Review your brand or product / service
portfolio and question whether there is any opportunity to extend
to create new propositions that deliver against unmet category
The stakes are high and the pressure is on. Now is the time for
marketers to focus their energy and cut through the complexity by
by building real human relationships with consumers. Those who
invest their time, resources and skills into getting these five key
things right will add enormous incremental and tangible value to
their businesses. They will prove that marketing effectiveness and
powerful brands can grow revenue in existing markets, create new
ones and perhaps even define a new industry. With smarter consumers
the world needs smarter marketers.