Take great confidence from your ‘superpowers’

Having the ability to be of value to customers, while assisting colleagues and the company in delivering profitable growth, is something marketers should be proud of.

marketing superpowerThe decade that just ended was tough for marketers. Challenged by peers to deliver more with less post-financial crash, some got trapped in a data-driven digital dead end where efficiency trumped effectiveness.

Outcomes were arguably more attributable and success ostensibly more easily demonstrated but influence on strategy diminished.

Others doubled down on comms, happy to amp up real-time content at speed and scale. Product, price and other responsibilities traditionally overseen by marketers were left to others.

Perhaps through an eagerness to please, or maybe exhaustion, many marketers readily accepted their lot and what others in the organisation came to think of them.

Subsequently, some were shorn of responsibility for control of some of the levers typically available to marketers. The consequence: either a reduced role overseeing marcomms, or the ceding of control of what should naturally be the domain of marketers to newly conceived roles such as chief growth officer or chief customer officer.

In lots of organisations, marketers are now direct marketers or communication leads.

This is not the case for all, of course. A large chunk enjoy the full confidence of their peers by taking advantage of the advances in targeting and measurement, while underpinning it with good solid strategic nous. Effectiveness cultures were born in many organisations with outputs married to outcomes.

However for a significant number, even most, there is a problem. It’s a problem of confidence others have in marketing’s ability to drive strategy and the confidence marketers have in their own ability to deliver.

Having the ability to be of such value to customers, while assisting colleagues and company in delivering profitable growth, is something to be proud of.

This month we are exploring the problem, the consequences and the way forward.

It’s time to change the conversation, as our accompanying article has it. I want to draw a line in the sand and deliver this rallying call: Appreciate your value. Be confident about all that you can do and all that you can offer. Regardless of whether you work in B2B or B2C, for a large or small company, you can be more than just an executor of someone else’s strategy. As a marketer you should be in a position to set that strategy. By way of a reminder…

Marketers have a ‘superpower’

There’s a lot of fluff spoken about customer centricity. Building a company in service of its customers should, however, be every brand’s priority.

As much as it could be argued this is the same as it ever was, marketers should take the opportunity to do what only they can – be the customer’s spokesperson. It’s a cliché, but undoubtedly true: good marketers are the “voice of the customer”.

As Eve Sleep CMO Cheryl Calverley recently said on a panel I hosted, it is marketers’ “superpower”. Through research, data and natural empathy you can do what no one else around the top table can – bridge customer with company. You are the conduit for customer centricity.

Marketers have the key to the future

Discussing his love of marketing on our monthly Marketing Week Meets podcast earlier this year, Gareth Helm, veteran of Unilever, Moneysupermarket and Innocent, and now CMO of McDonald’s, said to
me he relished the challenge of “making money from the future”. In other words, setting the conditions to embrace changes to people, culture and technology.

Marketing Week Meets…McDonald’s UK CMO Gareth Helm

It is incumbent on marketers to plan for the long-term, to build brands and meet customer needs. Although greater weight should be given to what’s next, marketers also have to think about the here and now, the next quarter, the next half. It is this duality, adroitness and ability to balance the long and short that sets marketers apart.

Marketers can transform businesses

One of our most insightful features is Inside Story, where we look back to some of the most significant campaigns, products and launches in the modern marketing era to find out where they came from, how they came together and the impact they had. From the relaunch of Levi’s 501 in the mid-1980s to Tesco’s introduction of Clubcard in the 1990s, it is clear marketing can transform businesses.

The insight-led marketer orchestrating the pulling of all levers can save a company from becoming a cautionary tale and instead turn it into a case study.

Seize the moment

This is a just a snapshot. More attributes could be added. I appreciate the majority of you don’t have the budget for a Nick Kamen starring, BBH created ad, or a large scale loyalty programme. Any good marketer out there, however, has the hard and soft skills to make a difference. You can be strategic, commercial, customer orientated, data-driven and digitally attuned. You don’t have to just have to wait for instruction, you can lead change.

Having the ability to be of such value to customers, while assisting colleagues and company in delivering profitable growth, is something to be proud of.

The relative certainty the general election result has afforded may dissipate very quickly as the reality of the task of agreeing a future trading arrangement dawns, but let us take advantage of this respite, let’s attack the year and the decade ahead with confidence.

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