David Hirsch, Director, Marketing Campaigns & Performance, Bupa
Marketing has had many faces over the years, but perhaps none more varied and multi-disciplined than today. While marketing in some ways is still trying to shirk the moniker of ‘doing the colouring in of pretty pictures’ and prove its’ seat at the table, today it has the best chance of doing so than at any other time.
The marketer of today needs to be conversant and have a level of proficiency in the disciplines of finance, statistics, analytics, technology, sales, law, compliance, and customer service as well as marketing competency to deliver the performance that is expected of them.
Lumping finance, statistics, and analytics together as broadly related numbers disciplines, these are now the building blocks of a competent modern marketer. Why and how this has happened, is simple. Statistics have always been a core competency expected of marketers and has been the life blood of traditional data driven decision making. These days, with the prominence of digital marketing mediums increasing in relevance, the metrics available to marketers is overwhelming. As a result, our ability to ingest and digest the data to make decisions, like many other disciplines such as finance, has created the need to rely on technology to visualise and analyse the data available. It has given rise to the data scientist, the use of AI, algorithms and the idea that every marketer needs to be competent with data.
In days gone by, marketing was in some ways more like the Darren’s of the world in I Dream of Genie at the advertising pitch ends of the scale. But those days are gone, the marketer of today needs to be tech saavy, literate and hungry for tech change that solves customer and business problems.
A great example of the scale of the technology challenge to the modern marketer is the both the volume of digital platforms/technologies as well as their rate of growth. According to Gartner, 2017 is the year that CMO’s will buy more tech than CIO’s. Each year ChiefMartec.com release the number of platforms and companies in the MarTec space and the latest release shows 5,381 marketing solutions were purchased from 4,891 unique companies.
As individuals in a business, to be successful we all need to speak the same language, customer centricity is the vehicle that can facilitate this
That’s an almost a 40 percent increase from the year before – a significant jump! As a result, marketers are now challenged with sorting through the shiny new things and finding value, as well as the race to stay abreast of emerging tech and changing customer use of technology.
Optimisation and automation are growing areas in marketing technology, but what do they mean for the customer and business? For one it means less relevance for the campaign calendar and the rise of always on. In theory these technologies should be good for both business and the customer but ensuring marketers do not get lost in the how and losing sight of the why is the key to delivering real value.
Simplistically lumping legal and compliance together are broad areas that ensure adherence to rules and process, that have traditionally presented an area of conflict for marketing. They, in fact, can be the enablers of marketing when the relationship is right. The assumed level of legal and compliance proficiency of any marketer today has increased significantly over the last decade and yet the conversations between these areas has either not changed or gone backwards. Nearly every day I see marketers and lawyers and those in compliance at odds around the wrong question, instead of trying to solve problems.
The true value in any relationship lies in the ability to provide insight and advice, but instead the relationship between marketing and these areas has become transactional and adversarial. I see a solution on the horizon with use of AI and chatbots in legal/compliance being used to cut through the volume and transactional material and enabling the two areas to have the right conversations. We are not there yet and in the meantime, it is just going to require some good old face to face communication.
Again, if we throw the customer-focussed areas of sales, marketing, and customer service together, this group more than any other needs to be at the centre of any marketer’s mindset and focus. The customer does not care about internal business structures or product and brand structures. They see a brand, a business representative of that brand and they have an expectation of an experience or service. Marketers of today need to disassociate themselves in many ways from their own discipline and think from the outside in to be able to perform at their best.
“Simplistically lumping legal and compliance together as broad areas that ensure adherence to rules and process”
As individuals in a business, to be successful we all need to speak the same language, customer centricity is the vehicle that can facilitate this. Another key element of this persona is the behavioural traits of curiosity and never being satisfied that the job is done, particularly related to continuous improvement and optimisation.
The one thing I would like people to take away from this piece is that the expectations of and opportunities for modern day marketers are respectively large and significant but with neither being easy or achievable without the support and engagement of the broader business.