A Modern Marketing Manifesto
There are two big questions about marketing as a discipline at the moment. Firstly, is it getting more, or less, important within organisations? Secondly, has digital marketing completely changed what marketing is or has it fundamentally remained the same?
As you might expect we at Centaur, under the Marketing Week and Econsultancy brands, champion the cause of marketing, and marketers, globally. We believe the value of marketing is, rightly, in ascendancy.
We have always maintained that digital marketing does not exist in isolation. It is part of the bigger whole that is marketing. But digital has undeniably brought new aspects to that whole.So what if we were to reconstitute marketing as it is today with digital and classic fully fused? What would that look like?
Here follows our manifesto for modern marketing with its suggested twelve constituents. Its aim is to outline why we believe marketing is increasingly valuable and to define what it is to be a modern marketer.
We believe marketers should sit at the board table and help set strategy. If you do not believe your understanding of markets, products, customers and positioning plays a vital role in shaping strategy then you are not a modern marketer. Great businesses look beyond the horizon. Great marketers have the vision to define the horizon.
We believe the internet has forced transparency upon brands and businesses. Brands no longer control the media, consumers do. This loss of control means businesses must communicate authentically and this requires a clear sense of self to which they can be true. In a digital age what modern marketers need most is a strong brand.
We believe that improving the customer experience must be the relentless focus of modern marketing. Customer experience is about customer centricity as evidenced by the service or product that we deliver across channels. It is about respecting the power and importance of great design. Experiences are events, products, services, hardware, software, customer service. Indeed, every interaction with a customer is an experience that we must make as relevant, pleasurable, easy and useful as possible for them. Since resources and time are not infinite we need segmentation to help ensure we deliver the best possible experience to our most valuable customers.
We believe data must be turned into insight and action to be a source of customer, competitive and marketing advantage. Data is the bedrock upon which successful research, segmentation, marketing automation, targeting and personalisation are built. Data allows us to predict future behaviour which is fundamental to creating strong customer lifetime value models and optimising marketing effectiveness. Digital channels provide new and valuable sources of data and customer insight that can be acted upon in real time. If you do not see data as exciting, valuable and empowering then you are not a modern marketer.
We believe digital thinking should be embedded in marketing strategies as a matter of course. Digital may not be relevant to every marketing effort but organisations need to properly consider digital and change their culture and processes to become more digitally oriented. It is a mindset rather than just an executional approach. If you do not ‘get digital’ then you cannot be a modern marketer.
In the quest to deliver outstanding brand experiences across channels, we believe that personalisation offers the greatest opportunity to transform what customers currently get. Digital channels in particular allow us to use everything we know about a customer to inform and optimise each interaction. Location, device, screen size, usage characteristics, the weather… we are in an era where we have exciting and powerful new data points to power personalisation. Personalisation is not just for existing customers: we no longer need to know who the person is to provide convenient and relevant experiences. As modern marketers we respect the privacy of our customers and recognise we must deliver value to them in exchange for personal data.
We do not believe technology is a solution in itself. Technology is an enabler. But modern marketers must be comfortable and adept at procuring and using technology to their best advantage. We believe modern marketers will have increasing ownership of technology at the same time as technologists become more marketing-aligned.
We believe we need creativity just as much as we need technology. We need storytelling just as much as we need data. We believe in the power of emotions and the irrational just as much as the rational. If our marketing is to be modern we need the passion, creativity and craftsmanship of the right brain just as much as the analysis and logic of the left brain. The digital age is providing increasingly ubiquitous access to everything. In this context we need innovation and creativity in our product and service design, as well as our marketing, to make an impression.
We believe that content marketing and the focus on owned and earned media represents a fundamental shift in marketing that is more than a fad. Content is more than just words, pictures or video. Games, apps, events, APIs and so on deliver rich content experiences too. Content reinforces a brand’s credibility and authenticity in what it stands for, believes in and cares about. For modern marketers, content is a vital expression of the brand.
We believe that the mobile revolution is only just beginning. But we see beyond just ‘mobile’. TVs are screens, books are screens, in-store kiosks are screens, billboards are screens. We believe we are marketing in the context of different screens and experiences rather than different devices or channels. Customers do not recognise lines and nor should we. Online, offline, above the line, below the line… we need to think and deliver customer experiences without delineation. Modern marketers think about the whole customer experience and the many screens that control and mediate it.
We believe social media is about changing our business culture, the ways we work and the ways we engage with our colleagues and customers. It is about creating businesses that have social in their DNA. It is about realising that everything, including our marketing, now happens in an environment where customers can, and will, talk about what we do and can share it with the world. Modern marketers know that ‘social’ is not a choice.
We believe modern marketers have to be commercial. This means knowing the P&L backwards. It means knowing where money is being made and why. It means knowing how to measure and optimise key commercial metrics. Marketers can, and should, take increasing responsibility for revenue targets. With ecommerce the transaction is the ultimate click in the customer journey. Modern marketers must optimise the customer journey along its entire path including the sales funnel and post-sale. Sales and marketing must be more closely aligned and have common points of accountability.
We are very keen to hear what marketers like you think of this manifesto. Please share your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, tweeting using the hashtag #MoMaMa or posting comment online so we can get the debate over modern marketing rolling.
Ashley Friedlein is chief executive of Econsultancy, part of Centaur Media