The changing role of Marketing (Part 1)

Time for a restructure?

The world of marketing has changed. Here are some of the mega shifts

Since starting out in my career as a marketer, the world has changed. A lot. Totally transformed. Business expectations are higher, sales and buying behaviour is more complex than ever and skills are far more intelligent.  Customer orientated roles are evolving, and marketing is no exception.  This transformation means that most marketers (80% according to the Economist Intelligence) feel that marketing needs a restructure.

marketing strategy

What to expect over the next 3 to 5 years

Marketing will increasingly be seen less as a cost and more as a source of revenue.
The proportion of companies where marketing is viewed as a cost centre will dwindle and the number where it is seen as a driver of revenue will grow. The good news is that in 3 to 5 years, 4/5 companies will classify the marketing function as a revenue driver.

Marketing will take the lead in the customer experience.
The customer experience is increasingly seen as a key to competitive advantage in every industry. Slightly more than 1/3 of marketers say they are responsible for managing the customer experience today. However, over the next 3 to 5 years, 75% of marketers say they will be responsible for the end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetime.

Engagement must be THE focus.
A marketer’s greatest achievement is an engaged customer. And because an engaged customer keeps coming back, engagement is defined most often in terms of sales and repeat sales.

  • 63% of marketers say that engagement is manifested in customer renewals, retention and repeat purchases.
  • 15% of marketers believe engagement impact on revenue
  • 78% of marketers see engagement as occurring in the middle or later stages of the classic funnel.
  • A minority (22%) view engagement in terms of love for a brand—still important, but part of marketing’s legacy skill set.

The new marketer combines operational and data skills.
Marketers are aggressively seeking new skills—especially those who believe that change is urgent. Nearly 4/10 marketers want new blood in the two areas of digital engagement and marketing operations and technology. A close third, and not significantly different, is skills in strategy and planning (38%). Meanwhile, marketers are tinkering with organisational structures to foster agility, increase cross-functional co-operation and help the organisation to scale.

Digital and data dominate investment.
Technology investment plans by marketers illustrate both the dominance and fragmentation of digital channels. Three of the four most widely cited investments are aimed at reaching customers through different channels: via social networks, on mobile devices and on the old standby of e-mail. The fourth, analytics, is needed to knit together data from multiple channels into a coherent and actionable portrait of the consumer.

Marketing technology is proliferating through the cloud to the point where almost all companies—even the smallest ones—use multiple systems operating within an overall marketing operating system. Despite expectations of consolidation around a few dominant enterprise suppliers, marketers believe that the number of systems in their companies will grow.

Two trends to watch: real-time personalised mobile and the Internet of Things.
Just over half of marketers expect the Internet of Things— where ubiquitous, embedded devices with unique IP addresses constantly convey real-time data—to revolutionise marketing by 2020. Almost the same proportion cites the power of real-time personalised mobile communications as the trend with the biggest impact.

This is just the start. Marketing has changed – dramatically. But it’s just the start. I’d love to know what you think?

A big thank you to The Economist Intelligence Unit who conducted the research behind this.
Click here to access and read their full findings.

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