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‘Change is a constant’, a mantra that is constantly bandied around the marketing industry. When marketing leaders discuss organizational change they offer exciting and insightful suggestions to shake up inertia and unlock potential within businesses. However, while the descriptors “agile”, “nimble”, “people-centric” and “dynamic” are often discussed in terms of cultural change and structure, the evolving nature of the marketing discipline itself is rarely touched upon.
If it is, it’s approached very tentatively – almost as if no-one wants to look too closely at the marketing model that has served companies and marketers so well until relatively recently. Perhaps the reason there has been a reluctance to scrutinize too hard is the fear the cracks will begin to show.
When I first started my marketing studies, the discipline was grounded in the famous ‘4Ps’ of price, product, promotion and place and marketers will have had these levers drilled into them. But thanks to digital revolution, the world and our customers have moved on. The modern marketers’ remit has now extended far beyond ‘selling stuff’. It often embraces oversight of digital transformation across a business, shaping of the end-to-end customer experience and taking responsibility for all brand touchpoints.
But have the principles of marketing evolved with the new remit? A reflective re-evaluation of the core principles of marketing, the skills needed and how they can be blended together to help accelerate marketing performance feels overdue. This year could be the year marketing hits the ‘reset’ button. The topic was the subject of the first Oystercatchers Club panel event of 2018 featuring Frank Arthofer, global head of digital and new business at F1 Management, John Smith, former COO of Burberry and non-executive director at Superdry, John Rudaizky, partner and global brand and marketing Leader at EY and Lindsay Pattision, chief transformation officer at GroupM.
Underpinning the discussion, a new marketing paradigm developed by the founder of Marketing Week’s sister title Econsultancy, Ashley Friedlein called The Modern Marketing Model, or M3 for short. In summary, the model proposes 10 elements broken down into four stages: strategy, analysis, planning, execution. And it blends the old core principles with the skills needed to maximize the opportunities presented by the new digital world.
The skills, role and responsibilities of a marketer have and will continue to change to meet this evolving landscape but there are also challenges, according to the panel. Arthur believes the marketer’s priority is to deliver “a great product experience across every platform”. Smith added that this can only be achieved by marketers who are “digitally obsessed and creatively literate”.
Marketers, however, face a dilemma, according to Pattison. Although the biggest growth opportunities lie in ecommerce and instant fulfilment of consumer wishes, there was a danger in rushing into digital that businesses focus on the short term “and forget long-term creativity and the brand side.” Although a focus on the consumer and a drive to personalization is regarded as paramount in this ever more connected world, Rudaisky struck a note of caution: “Marketers have to make choices. You cannot do everything for every single customer. The definition of strategy is what you don’t do.
Cracks in a structure may indicate weakness but they also let the light in and show where attention needs to be focused. All the points raised by the panel will feed into growing discussion on the role of the modern marketer, their remit and how teams are structured. It will be a conversation that will continue throughout the year and beyond.
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