It’s all about the mix. New marketing roles for a new world.
By Francesca Brosan
How should Marketing respond when digital has taken marketing beyond the marketing department? That was the subject of discussion at last week’s dinner with The Marketing Society: Who owns the customer conversation?
The latest wave of Omobono’s proprietary research – What Works Where in B2B Digital Marketing – on which we partner with The Marketing Society has just gone live. This year we specifically looked at how digital is being used to communicate not simply by the Marketing Department, but by other departments too. Sales, Customer Service & Key Account Management, HR & Internal comms all spend money communicating with customers as it turns out. Of the £160m being spent by the 330 respondents to our research, only 52% is in the hands of marketing. Digital has meant that people are able to communicate easily, frequently and well. The result? Customers are more likely to get their day to day brand experience from departments other than marketing. The genie is out of the bottle.
Last week’s discussion, held at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze in Grosvenor Square, brought 30 senior marketers together to reflect on how this new world order impacts on marketing. Is there anything we can or should do, or should we all pack up our bags, go home and leave marketing to our colleagues? Given that 25% of respondents to Accenture’s CMO- CIO research thought that the Marketing and IT departments would merge within 5 years you might think we’re all redundant.
Happily it seems not, according to the assembled throng. Mark Sherwin, MD at Accenture Interactive, encouraged us all to think of our roles differently. ‘It’s not about control, it’s now about curation’ was his mantra. Marketers no longer have control, and shouldn’t be thinking in those terms.
Marketing is now about bringing together skills from across the organisation to deliver the end to end customer experience, from the creation of the marketing promise to retention and cross sell. ‘Talk to the COO about how the process will deliver what your marketing promises to the customer, and to the CTO about how it can be delivered securely with proper data collection and analysis.’
These are different skills sets to the ones marketers traditionally own but marketers can still, critically, be the team that understands the customer journey and experience best. ‘We are creative, we understand customers and know how to innovate’ was his comment on where marketing can contribute more positively. ‘It’s a good place to influence the rest of the organisation from’. But he warned that if we truly want to own the customer experience, we also need to own customer complaints. Not many people around the table put their hands up for that.
Like many discussions about B2B marketing, conversation turned to the critical role of people within the organisation to deliver the customer promise. Whether it is The Post Office’s project to focus on a single tone of voice and behaviour or LinkedIn’s commitment to their Vision, Culture and Values in their induction processes (as they are onboarding 40+ people every fortnight) people are central to getting the customer experience right. As the CEO of LinkedIn apparently puts it ‘If you launch a rocket millimetres out, by the time you reach the target, it will be miles out’.
Read more from Fran Brosan and Omobono in our Clubhouse.