What does the marketing department of the future look like?

Last year at Cannes Lions, Jonathan Mildenhall spoke at the Coca-Cola Company seminar about the power of being provocative. He spoke about Coke’s desire to develop more real time content, and the ability to do that centered on hiring data scientists, coders, designers and other team additions normally found inside agencies which he felt needed to be in house in order to respond in a timely manner. As a former digital marketer, now running employer branding for one of the largest technology companies in the world and advising start-ups in the food & fashion space, I am often encouraging brand-consumer facing leaders to retain as much creation oriented control of their content while outsourcing infrastructure oriented tasks to industry specific specialists.So the specialty area of Ephlux EMEA is a creation called the CX Cloud that bridges marketing campaigns with technological infrastructures – regardless of the platforms on either side – and is one of 3 similar creations on the planet (the other two being from SAP and Oracle). When clients like Disney, IKEA and Gibson approached the firm with briefs with digital marketing components, the response insisted on building in house capabilities and handing over future techno-brand breakthroughs to the specialists instead. The future of this industry places a great deal of control and insights in the hands of the brand while the specialists come in to explain how the data and current tech work together to create a seamless experience.wordBrand_v1.1

Just this past week, I posed the question at several universities on how Savaree App can make money if the downloads are free. The marketers in the audience responded with suggestions based on location based marketing & services, linking in interactive billboards in a smart city and cited the Dubai Metro as an application point wherein the taxi and connected network of public transport could display location & behavior specific offers to commuters at various points of their journey, granting the app and addition revenue stream as a source of leads for brick and mortar retailers.

Think fast! Think of ideas on what consumer wholesalers like Metro Cash & Carry Pakistan can do to build brand preference and customer loyalty from its four target segments: HoReCa, SMEs/Offices, Families/Communities and General Store/Kiryana. As a marketer of the future, you must step outside of the traditional marketing mix and integrate technology solutions. Think consumer data. Think purchase patterns. Think prediction software. Think of creating a link between buying behavior to ascertain an upcoming purchase journey. It goes beyond the idea of mobile and the mobile app to assist with in-store shopping. Today it goes beyond loyalty cards. Sales does not equal success – a deeper understanding of the customer leveraged for repeat sales is the only measure of success.

Another measure of success is understanding weaknesses and partnering with relevant players in a similar space to offset those weaknesses with your own strengths. A local desserts business called Cookie Time recently pitched a bold move by adding its branded menu on that of existing niche cafe’s, thereby fulfilling customers desire to eat OOH and enjoy the delicacies in a familiar setting. And for the niche cafe’s taking on this innovative add on, giving the dessert brand leverage of its ground presence, they benefit from leads and walk-ins of customers coming just for the dessert.

This relates to what is also on the table – the voice or “pulse” of the consumer – and the CMO’s of 2014 agree that community managers and customer service representatives need to have a voice in the narratives derived before short or long burst campaigns – mutually agreeing that these two consumer-interaction roles embody a stronger understanding of the pain point and motivational levers influencing the consumer behaviors midst external forces.

Think fast! Aside from selling the hardware for USD 1.5k, how else can Google profit from Glass? Popular answers are again location based services, big data prediction of behaviors but perhaps the largest game lies in retinal tracking to give marketers data on what catches the users eye and use that data to amend campaign designs to be more attractive and centered. The rise of the marketing operations departments has fundamentally changed the approach towards data in organizations, with lines blurred between what is a marketing and what is a technology project. More and more projects from CMO’s involve the use of technology, middle-ware’s and CX Clouds that bridge the marketing and technology department. Are these investments for the CMO or CTO? Lines are blurred like never before.London 2012 was the ticking point, with brands shifting from the campaign model to the consumer engagement approach, and we’re seeing that with social newsroom where a team can comprise of content, production, distribution, creatives and strategy experts, all of which play the origins role from content to context approaches, i.e. the agile methodology.
There are two roles I’m looking for, one is the passive marketing mindset and then there’s the creative needs in my department, which we’ve covered. But then there’s the ROI driven marketer, one which speaks the language of the CFO. A report last year from the CMO Council covered how brands are managing programmatic buying, results showed that 30% managed their campaigns via an agency partner while the majority were split between DSP partners in the planning and execution functions. What we need are strategy partners that think beyond the P’s and marketing mixes of the past, that engage in fluid conversations and maintain a core message around the brand.

To sum up, the primary trend is  that of merging technology with marketing initiatives. We’re encouraging banks to utilize their history & knowledge of buying behavior to create paths to purchase, creating psychographic profiles and offering the data for customized offers in the future. We’re encouraging an era of smart understanding of the customers heart beat. The secondary shift is taking place with in-sourcing; production and procurement being moved in house while infrastructure and cross channel planning remaining in creative control of agency partners. The CMO of the future will need a technically creative team with a consumer approach and real time authority to distribute and publish. It is now the game of seconds.

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