A couple of weeks ago, I was the guest of Gordon Donkin and Andrew Knight at an introductory discussion session for a research paper which the Chartered Institute of Marketing is developing in association with accenture. Titled, as above, “Marketing Capability 2010 – 2020”, the paper looks at the position of the marketing profession today, and the opportunity which recovery from recession presents.
The basic premise of the research is that business is in a new era, initiated in part by the global recession and I was reminded by a speech Steve Ballmer gave back in January, “We’re certainly in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime set of economic conditions. The perspective I would bring is not one of recession. Rather, the economy is resetting to a lower level of business and consumer spending based largely on the reduced leverage in economy,”
The CIM argues, quite rightly, that this has implications for Marketing as a function.
- Marketing has a golden opportunity to re-focus and re-align with this new business context
- As a profession or function, it can act to change the context of marketing …
- But it must move quickly.
As part of their thinking, Thomas Brown, the CIM’s Research Projects manager, presented three Strategies for Change and five Pillars for Growth.
Strategies for Change
- Create Oxygen – free time and resource to reinvest in creating value
- Build the Right Foundation – marketing needs to become commercially savvy. Marketers must become more numerate.
- Drive Growth and Value
Pillars for Growth and Value
1. Customer Centricity
2. Customer Experience Management – “the last source of differentiation”
3. Digital and Social Media
4. Strategic Insight – This is more than simply a re-branding of research
5. Value Proposition Development – “Stop making products and services and start making value propositions”
Two things struck me.
Firstly, that the theme of “representing the voice of the customer” percolated all through the session. It’s so easy for businesses to pay lip-service to this apparent truism. Too few businesses actually “get it”.
Secondly, “serious” marketers often complain that senior management doesn’t understand marketing; and too often it’s true. However, there is also an onus on marketers, especially in this newly focused business climate, to ensure that they understand business – not the woolly crayons and jargon stuff, but the hard-edged, commercial, numbers-driven, bottom-line stuff too.
If marketers can truly be the ambassador of the customer inside the business, translating the customer voice into numbers, then marketing can begin to become the strategic function which it so often aspires to be.