What we have to say on effective marketing.

Marketing Departments 2012 - A Centre for Business Ideas

So much has changed over the last 25 years – both business and consumers have changed significantly – especially in their expecations of brands. Yet for the most part, the structure and the role of the marketing department has essentially stayed the same.

This is no longer sustainable or relevant. Powerful brands can only be born and sustained as a result of marketing departments that are connected and engaged with consumers, as well as other business functions and partners. To achieve this, organisations and marketers must look at re-structuring the role and function of marketing.

It is important that business becomes 'more human' in the way it relates to customers as required by our new social context -  it is the core task of marketing in the next decade to help business' achieve this.  In order to make this a reality, marketing departments need to make some fundamental shifts.

  1. Move away from one-way communication with consumers to conversation and dialogue. Most marketing departments still try to control the message rather than engaging consumers in conversation. This is because dialogue requires courage and responsiveness on behalf of the organisation - a factor that is often lacking. Therefore, a key challenge in allowing marketing departments to shift from message output to dialogue is to re-educate management teams about their expectations of marketing.

    For example: management teams need to trust that it's okay to facilitate a voice for consumers even if what they say about the organisation isn't always positive. Marketing departments must convince management teams that the very action of 'engagement' from the organisation will, in itself, build trust and relationships with consumers - as it does with one-on-one relationships between people.
  2. Become smarter by listening constantly to consumers across all touch points. The concept of formal research, conducted over months and presented on an annual basis is outdated. Today's marketers must gather information far more organically and in real-time to get an accurate pulse of the market.   

    For example: Lynx noticed consumers were capturing memories of a single event such as a 'girls' night out' on a variety of platforms, using various media tools. So they tapped into this and launched a stream mobile app that captures and records videos, pictures, texts, tweets, check-in and status updates made by a group of friends, to produce an automatic electronic scrapbook of the night.

    It is important to note that the key was not to develop the app but to observe the consumer behaviour of capturing and sharing memories and thoughts instantly. This allowed for the creation of a relevant product to meet the need.

    This new role for marketing, i.e. the capacity to analyse and deduce customer behaviour in real-time can deliver a series of advantages:
    1. Sharing learning and insights with others in the organisation to solve consumer problems. This means that analysing and deducing patterns from consumer behaviour can offer not only a marketing advantage but contribute to the profitability of the core business.
    2. Ignite new ideas to be shared and refined together with consumers. Therefore 'the consumer' is no longer a test subject (focus groups locked in a room) but a partner and co-creator in fulfilling new and evolving needs .
    3. Moving beyond inevitable organisational silos to connect formally and informally with other functions in the business, as well as partners. Most marketing departments gripe about the fact that they're not close enough to the business - but these days, businesses that maintain a linear approach, where marketing is at the end of the chain will lose competitive advantage. Since the ability to offer consumers choice has become more critical - it is the market that will dictate future product development and not the company. Therefore, intelligent businesses will enable the marketing function to become embedded in every aspect of the business from strategy to product development and distribution, in order to facilitate sharp responsiveness to customer behaviour. This will deliver competitive advantage; allow co-creation of new products with the market itself and enable companies to develop content-rich strategies to feed the consumer's increasing need for timely, relevant and compelling content.

Today's marketing department is not a channel or even a centre for strategy, but a hub through which real conversations with consumers are held and through this, a place where the business can create more relevant, engaging ideas, services and products. This is the basis for real relationships with customers.  


blog comments powered by Disqus
How can we help?
To discuss how our team can help your business achieve true results, please contact us
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share