Business as usual is no longer an option and the future is being shaped by uncertainty. Marketing leaders often struggle to effectively measure and prove the value of marketing’s performance to key stakeholders. This erodes confidence and credibility with executive management and causes a lack of awareness of how marketing supports sales growth, customer retention, and customer experience. That is why it’s important to figure out how to provide clarity about marketing contribution to the business, it should not be overlooked.
For marketing to be able to do that, it needs a mindset of turning challenges into opportunities by
·embracing innovation, not hesitation. Think big at the speed of change, at the speed of customer action.
demonstration of progress over perfection. Strike the balance between good customer understanding and adapting business operations. Don’t wait for perfection, even change is changing.
intentionally building relationships with others. Use collaboration and cross-functional buy-in to solve problems.
Where are we at? What are the key learnings we should take forward? How can we help to be able to grow faster? How to become flexible enough to be able to adapt to emerging trends and changing customer demands? And how is marketing being redefined? Asking and answering these questions is critical for marketing leaders and their success in the months to come.
Much has changed over the last year and marketing keeps on evolving. I have been comparing what I have learned over the last two decades with this single year of a major shift to digital. I have looked through the lens of the opportunity where I see marketing can do more and add more value to be recognized and valued contributors to business development and success.
The concept of customer-centricity is not news. But making it a reality is another story.
Marketing begins with understanding the customer.
Creating personal and human connections with any commercial interaction requires defining customer segments that describe people according to multiple dimensions that influence their purchasing behaviors — from their personalities, lifestyles, interests, opinions, values, initiatives attitudes, etc. By understanding personally relevant individuals’ situations and values, we can respond accordingly by being relevant at the right moment and answering adequately to the requests, needs, and expectations, and providing value by solving a problem when it’s relevant.
We are competing with the last best experience our customer had.
Digital transformation accelerated customer expectations and opened a playing field. The customer expects so much more than just a seamless digital transaction. Now that companies have their data, they expect anticipatory, personalized experiences across their entire customer journey - quick response, minimal effort, relevant interaction that provides value, that targets exactly what they want, that solves their problem, in their preferred channel, today. Creating these experiences has pushed companies to place data and technology at the core of their organizations. Why? Simply to be relevant, to be able to build the relationship and trust.
We need to find the right balance between data, tech stack, and operations.
The work is changing. Data is the fuel that drives personalization. Tech is the tool to scale and drive the results. We have to get more relevant, and more predictive to elevate the impact. The balance requires a human approach by enabling individuals and teams to understand how data and technology will be used across the organization, to ensure all involved have the right skills for usage to motivate innovation and success. A human approach helps also to connect the entire company around the customer journey.
Marketing is at the center of the growth agenda.
There was a time when marketing was a cost center with the principal accountability to maximize return on investment. Lately, its importance was elevated to become a driver of digital transformation, having the overview across the customer journey, and championing the customer's voice. All very important to other functional leaders trying to understand the climate and the marketplace to be able to adjust to the threats and opportunities at hand and successfully navigate the future.
Marketing needs to embrace an elevated role to gain cross-functional alignment.
The functional silos that interact with customers are often disconnected because of politics, org charts, technologies, or geography. The challenge is how to overcome invisible boundaries and minimize internal disconnects through collaboration. Marketers need to put additional effort and focus into gaining organizational alignment. While the entire organization is responsible for experience delivery, marketing can act as “a glue” to overcome the siloing of departments, and take the lead on governing the customer experiences across the entire organization, while keeping the focus on a consistent approach high on our daily agenda.
Marketing now has the opportunity to seize the central role through understanding, dialogue, and collaboration and thereby drive the organization’s broader growth by reimagining customer experience and innovation agenda. Marketing leaders who are better prepared to navigate this situation can better connect the dots and can create a better customer experience. It’s time for disruptive innovators to shine.