Long road ahead to make marketing fit for future purpose

Well, there’s a lot of work to be done.

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That was my first thought on reading the top line findings from the Marketing 2020 study this week. This rich, global research, led by EffectiveBrands with the help of regional partners such as Marketing Week, sets out to explore and define the future role of marketing and how business structures should change to meet these challenges.

You can dig into the study’s findings and observations from senior marketers on the insights here. It’s a large piece of work with many facets but I’m going to highlight one strand to do with training and recruitment. Surely any organisation knows that it’s going to stand or fall on the quality, knowledge and commitment of its employees.

This is raised in the report, which has some eyebrow-raising statistics – especially for the marketing departments of UK businesses. One finding is that 37 per cent of UK respondents receive no formal marketing training compared to 33 per cent globally.

Only 24 per cent of the overall poll say they receive more than three days training a year, but that rises to 35 per cent for companies classed as ‘overperformers’ (those that scored their current performance higher than their competitors), establishing a link between investing in developing people’s skills and capabilities and revenue growth.

The quality and commitment of teams and individuals will be very relevant to chief marketing officers developing a ‘societal purpose’ and trying to permeate that purpose throughout the organisation. Which leads to another major point. There’s been much written about how vital it is to work in collaboration with departments such as IT and finance. Well there’s another department rising up the priority list – HR.

Only 18 per cent of respondents say that marketing always works closely with HR on recruitment, retention and development plans. How can you ensure you recruit the kind of people who can help solve the challenges ahead or help nudge company culture to orientate towards customer-focused goals without the aid of HR? I feel that it’s time to make some new friends within your company.

The study findings and accompanying advice on how to create business structures and marketing strategies fit for purpose for the next decade provide plenty of food for thought. We are not suggesting there are one-size-fits-all solutions so do let us know what particular challenges you have identified that will surface over the next five years and how you are preparing to meet them.

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