How marketing has risen from the shadows

By Williams Lea Tag. | Sponsored

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Marketing is in a state of flux, its role within business is changing, and it has finally emerged from the support function shadows. More businesses have realised the value add it brings, but the much-changed landscape will continue to morph apace in the year ahead, writes Williams Lea Tag.


Everyone talks about the impor­tance of data, its collection and ap­plication. The marketing function owns the tools that provide the insights. It is this unique access to customer data and the subsequent insight it allows marketing depart­ments to bring, that has given mar­keting its swagger back. Marketing is able to inform and determine the direction of business decisions through its ability to predict and understand customer behaviour at a granular level. Distilling information and filtering it through the business has empowered the marketing func­tion, with its data routinely used for business forecasts justifying market­ing’s seat at the executive table. Mar­keting’s ability to adapt campaigns in real-time based on performance data is a strength that we will see used more widely as businesses look to improve overall campaign effec­tiveness and real outcomes.


Technological disruption is increas­ing the amount of data available, and as this grows, the demand for people to make sense of it will heighten. Consequently, the requisite skillsets of marketers have changed. There is an increased need to look more widely at marketers with both an­alytical and technical skills, who not only understand the data, but also know what to do with it. Data Analysts have begun to appear on marketing teams as more emphasis is placed on specialist skills sets that meet the specific needs of the busi­ness. Talent from other industries such as publishing and journalism are becoming more commonplace in marketing departments, as busi­nesses look to fully exploit content marketing. As the needs and expec­tations of the business evolve, so too will the marketing function but not to the point that roles will be obso­lete - at least not any time soon.

To take a lend from Mark Twain the death of the role of Chief Mar­keting Officer that has been widely reported in 2017 has been greatly exaggerated. Diluted iterations of the role have been heralded as the beginning of a new marketing era. We have seen new names such as ‘Chief Growth Officer’ and ‘Chief Customer Officer’, gain populari­ty, when in reality they are one of the same. New roles such as ‘Truth Engineer’ and ‘Chief Listening Officer’ have also appeared – but really how new are these roles? Marketing has always been about answering the needs of customers and as these needs change, mar­keting will adapt and bring people on board to meet them.


In 2018 we will see more new job roles appear. This will be particu­larly prevalent as technological advancements see businesses struggle to pigeon-hole ownership of new technologies. Automation tools are a prime example of a tech­nology without a home, with the IT function not fully understanding the relationship between sales and marketing and marketing itself, of­ten lacking the technical expertise needed to fully utilise and embed the tool within the business.


Budgets will continue to tighten in 2018 and expectations on market­ing’s deliverables will continue to grow. As marketing’s remit increas­es, brands will look to form strategic partnerships with agencies and oth­er businesses to streamline process­es and gain efficiencies. We may see brands consolidate their partner­ships, but the fresh perspective, ex­pertise and efficiencies agencies and partners provide will help brand marketers achieve more with less.

Strategic internal partnerships will also grow in importance. We will see greater alignment between marketing and procurement, with their distinct skill sets on either side uniting to drive cost-effective­ness strategies, improve speed to market of campaigns; brand con­sistency and increase transparen­cy on spend. Any savings achieved through such strategies can be used to reinvest in technology to drive tracking and optimise perfor­mance; ensuring marketing dollars are stretched at every opportunity.


Customer demands constantly change as do business expecta­tions. Marketing has become a powerful growth engine fuelling business decisions and its role within an organisation will contin­ue to morph to the latest demands of its customers, stakeholders and employees. Marketers must em­brace the flux and take advantage of riding the wave of change as they seek to provide greater cus­tomer insight to shape their busi­nesses now and in the future.

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