Marketers need ‘systematic retooling’ – an interesting article from Warc


The rapid pace of change in the digital world is resulting in the evolution of the marketer, who is taking on new roles as peacekeeper, navigator and student, a leading industry figure has argued.

Nick Johnson, CEO of Incite Marketing and Communications noted in a white paperthat there had been “a radical shift in the power dynamic between brands and their consumers”, thanks to the rise of social media and the ease with which people could now ignore ads.

The consequences of this were that they increasingly expected to have authentic and relevant conversations with brands. Marketers had to cope with more channels, more data and ever-faster response times while attempting greater “customer-centricity”.

In feedback from over 1,000 marketing executives worldwide, Johnson found that only 8% did not agree on the need for their businesses to be more closely aligned to customers.

But achieving this will entail significant change for most of them. As Claire Burns, chief customer officer at insurance company MetLife, remarked: “To be customer-centric requires a systematic retooling of almost everything that you do”.

One of the biggest challenges faced is the creation of multi-channel strategies, as three quarters said this aspect of their business was not as developed as it should be. And only 29% were able to report that all customer touchpoints were the responsibility of one unified team.

In the absence of a single team, Johnson suggested that “the next best alternative is a clearly defined brand voice that all touchpoints conform to, and an improvement to existing CRM systems to ensure a conversation started on Instagram can be finished on Twitter”.

Marc Spreichert, CMO at L’Oréal USA, explained how a centralised insights function meant that “we’re now really able to follow our consumers whichever channel they move in”, with the result that brand positioning had improved.

Johnson expected marketing to operate in greater collaboration with other departments in future, with marketers leading the way towards customer-centricity and having to negotiate internal disputes to achieve this.

At the same time, marketers will be analysing reams of data to inform not only future marketing plans but also future corporate strategy. “You must have clarity on the path the business wants to take, and you must make adequate preparations before embarking on the journey,” Johnson recommended, whether augmenting CRM systems or more clearly defining brand voice.

But the most important role for marketers was likely to be that of a student, as they learned from IT how to better process data, from peers how to navigate key measurement and execution challenges, and from customers to understand what engaged them.

Data sourced from Incite Marketing and Communications; additional content by Warc staff , October 2013

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About Framework Marketing Group

Framework Marketing Group has access to and is able to provide a range of co-ordinated creative thinkers…as and when you need them. It’s a marketing communications company with a toolbox of resources able to be used on an “on-demand” basis. The focus is on communication tools that evaluate brand strategies and interpret consumer behaviour to ensure a consistent and practical brand communications programme. Specifically: 1. Build strategic marketing plans: Understanding market data so strategic marketing plans have practical outcomes and communications to target markets are effective. 2. Communication audits From analysis of all messages – understand how customers really think and then recommend improvements to messages and media channel selection 3. Brand evaluations Establish how robust the brand equity is with each target market so communications to them is relevant 4. Integrate all communication channels Recommend an effective mix of communication channels to achieve economies of scale timing and content compatibility 5. Interpret market research Understand and fix gaps in market knowledge for consumers, customers and staff 6. Sales strategies Develop sales strategies from a foundation of core marketing platforms so all communications to market are complementary to each other
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