Originally published on AdAge India
The digital age has transformed marketing possibly more than any other business function, through changing customer preferences and the shift in power from the business to the consumer.
Today’s marketers need to focus the business on the customer, but must also understand and drive the marketing technology stack and analytics. They need to be creative leaders through countless channels, all while organising the business behind their revenue growth and innovation agenda.
Here are five ways marketers can up their game.
1. If you’re not accountable, then you’re a cost
Marketing needs not only to show that their activities provide a return on investment (ROI), but must also make a better contribution to the organisation’s strategic goals. Incorporating the company strategy into plans is key in establishing marketing’s value to a business, although it can be a challenge to prove their activity is having an impact, often due to the fragmented nature of digital platforms leading to poor data analysis.
2. Let the data speak
Data and analytics are driving huge shifts in marketing today. Marketers must learn how to leverage data to determine the right strategy. They need to understand what value they’re trying to get from their data – data shouldn’t be an objective, but should be fundamental to marketer efforts.
Reaching the right user at the right time with the appropriate message in the right place and motivating them to an appropriate action presents a major and important challenge for companies. At Xaxis, we have always believed in using a data-droven approach to help brands make their marketing message a welcome occurrence rather than an unwanted intrusion.
In order to meet this challenge, companies need to analyse potential and existing customers’ interests and behaviours and accurately target users based on this information. Data has become the cornerstone of modern marketing.
To get the most from their data and analytics experts, marketers should make additional investments in the tools that support their real-time customer-facing efforts, namely web personalisation, and marketing automation.
3. Package your marketing plan
Marketers need to have a broad insight into the whole of the rest of the business — sales, engineering, finance, etc. They need to understand and internalise the practices and priorities of all those other teams and then package it all together in the marketing plan. To deepen such partnerships, marketing leaders should speak the language of their peers across the C-suite, translating marketing concepts and insights into terms that align them with other stakeholders’ objectives.
Marketing leaders who can do it effectively are better primed to contribute to organisation-wide long- and short-term objectives, as well as to secure the support of the top management team.
To become influential, marketers may need to position their customer insights and goals not as marketing objectives per se but as ways to help their C-suite colleagues reach their own goals.
4. Getting started with AI
AI is the game-changer for marketing today. By handling repetitive and rote functions at massive scale and speed, AI can augment people, elevating marketers to stay focused on the higher level work - the strategies that lead to the business outcomes they want their marketing to achieve.
AI’s most powerful capabilities are unearthed when brand marketers feed in first-party data. Businesses with strong customer touch-points such as retailers, restaurants, and car dealerships tend to have rich data on who their customers are, their buying habits and preferences, their locales, what incentives might motivate them, and more.
The hard work comes in getting hold of it all — from CRM systems, websites, POS databases, frequent shopper cards, and other online and offline sources — normalizing it, and figuring out how to get it to interact properly when mashed together.
Marketers could work with data scientists and engineers to get them to help use data to answer questions, then apply machine learning to better hone in on goals.
5. Have a voice at the table
According to Darell Sansom, CMO AXA UK, “Data is useless without the ability to analyse it and gain insight that lets you talk to the right customers at the right time and makes you more likely to be effective.”
There is therefore an increasing demand for marketing people who not only have all the soft skills, but who can also understand the data, the analytics, and the technology that underpins it all. There is also a growing need for marketing and IT departments to work more collaboratively within a business.
Marketers have to learn how to use data science for their work on a global scale, and they need to position themselves for success, regardless of how accessible data scientists may be on any given day. 91% of senior marketers indicated that customer data was essential to making decisions. With that said, we are undoubtedly seeing the immense value of marketers who know and understand data science. But the question is, how much data know-how is necessary?