There is no doubt that digital technology and changing customer preferences have had a major impact on the way many organisations run their marketing. CMOs have had to re-think and re-evaluate their strategies. To align themselves with the needs and wants of a modern consumer, they now have to find new ways to gain insight into their market.
While traditional methods of qualitative market research and segmentation are still valid and provide a useful context, many CMOs find that having real-time data and insights provided by digital technology is becoming increasingly more valuable in helping them adapt and respond to the fast-changing dynamics in the marketplace. But while most marketing leaders keep building their digital capability, there is a group of late adopters who still surprisingly favour the 'traditional' over the 'modern'.
As a Client Manager who spends most of her time in meetings with company executives, I've heard this articulated in a myriad of different ways. Some CMOs say "We don't want to get distracted by the next shiny thing", while some go as far as calling for the "return back to the marketing basics - the brand, storytelling, powerful visuals".
While the narrative varies, the common thread in this group is the resistance to adopt modern marketing techniques and technologies, and a high aversion to risk. This is a group of leaders who simply find technology so overwhelming, that they keep focusing on what they've always done best: building brands.
As an ex-marketer who owes much of her expertise to the classic school of 'Kotler & Keller Marketing Management', I can relate myself to that kind of thinking. In fact, I'm convinced that regardless of what data and technology throw at us, the foundational principles of marketing will always be the same.
Without a clear value proposition, a strong brand and powerful storytelling, there is very little modern technology can do to add value.
But the thing is, in 2019, getting the core marketing functions right is not enough.
In the age when the digital and social media space is cluttered in content and consumers bombarded with more marketing messages than you can shake your stick at, the key to success is the ability to stand out from the crowd. Failing to do so means that you are invisible, and that's not a good space to be in marketing.
So how do you ensure that you don't become invisible?
First, it's important to remember that you don't need to throw what you knew away to start from scratch. Even in the age of digital transformation, marketing management still involves the same series of activities as it did 50 years ago. To create value for customers, a company goes through the following 5 steps:
The most profound changes, and what we now call Customer Experience (CX) (including digital transformation), is happening at the strategy and tactics level. This is the real battlefield where wins and losses are made at the moment, where brands fight to become and remain relevant and to connect with their audience.
Traditional segment-based marketing is turning into one-on-one conversations and market segmentation is being replaced by micro-targeting. When we look at this process in a more granular level, the key reason for this shift is becoming apparent - it is the availability of data that is driving the change.
The volume of data that is being collected by brands across every touch point is increasing exponentially, and by definition, big data is hard or even impossible to analyse manually. Managers who continue relying on traditional manual processes have started struggling to process and analyse the information they require to make their decisions. Those who found a way to work with their customer data at a scale are doing so by employing some form of Ai-assisted technology or marketing automation.
And while these methods and tools take some time to deploy and require a commitment from the team, the key benefit of having them is precisely what marketing managers seek the most - insights and time.
CMOs who truly excel at CX derive their key insights from their data and use the technology to take over mundane and repetitive tasks, in order to drive the focus back on what they do best - the "old fashioned" building of their brands.
We've seen the results firsthand, but you don't have to take our word for it. Check out this video where the Digital Marketing Lead of Toyota shares their story.
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