What is the ‘Future of Marketing’?
Well, yours truly went to find out, courtesy of a CIM one day conference with a no-frills title of ‘The future of marketing practice conference’.
Held at Aston University, the conference was designed to challenge the way we do marketing currently, sharing knowledge and gaining best practice from the experts in marketing.
There were multiple talks, as well as a choice of workshops, so I’ll try and pick out what I gained from the day and some of the best points shared.
Moving away from Philip Kotler’s ‘Point of Exchange’ theory
Katy Mason, Vice Chair of BAM, gave a very good insight into how we should potentially move away from Philip Kotler’s marketing management theories, particularly around ‘the point of exchange’, as we can now disrupt the market and break the rules on how to engage.
The point of exchange theory argues that we find new markets and serve them, in a very traditional sense of if you were in an actual market.
However, marketplaces are much more dynamic, and aided by technological advances in today’s world. By breaking the rules and doing so successfully, we create a new interaction and a new market.
Key Point: Take Uber, for instance, with their way of engaging with the taxi-using audiences. A much more agile approach for both the audience and the suppliers, and it’s left the competition trailing in its wake.
How do we build human brands?
Never forget that we are marketing to humans, says Neil Davidson, MD of integrated agency HeyHuman.
But how do we build a brand that communicates to humans on a one-to-one level? There’s a three step process.
- Brand Relationships – What is the relationship with the brand? We speak a lot about ‘brand love’, but that may never be achievable for certain sectors, such as financial services.
- Human Behaviour – What is the human behaviour that we want our market audience to take? Strip it right down to ground level, and then look at the key barrier and key comparison, and then understand what territory your brand takes.For instance, you want to sell Guinness pre-football match is your behaviour. Lager is your barrier and comparison competitor, what territory does Guinness take in the headspace of those pundits?
- Brain Friendly Creative – Once you’ve understood those first two points, you are now able to produce the creative to influence the behaviour. The creative needs to be:
– recognised – use your brand assets
– resonant – use the right language, and,
– relevant – what is the enjoyment of the brand at that moment
Key point: Guinness can make the best adverts in the world, and we all know the strapline “the best things come to those who wait”, but if you lose the audience at ground level, no matter how good your creative is, you will lose the consumer.
Brand Sustainability Measurement goes beyond Brand Equity
Susan Vidler, Head of Research at Harris Interactive, shows us a new model, titled hi brands, which portrays where your brand is in terms of its sustainability.
Instead of just measuring our brand sustainability through brand equity – that is, how well known our brand is – we should measure through vitality and future relevance. Vitality measures how excited we are about your brand, and future relevance measures how relevant you will be for audiences in the future.
This model takes brands into a quadrant of space which they occupy, i.e. they are either strong, compelling, challenging or in the building stage.
Being in the challenging stage potentially the best space to occupy. This space shows us that we may not have the brand equity that big brands have, we are smaller, but we are challenging the way things are done, and our audiences are excited by our developments.
Key point: Start building confidence in your market that you are going to be able to meet their needs, and stay relevant for the future.
The changing role of marketing, and how to gain influence
Included in the CIM conference were a choice of workshops to get involved in. I myself joined with the ‘increase marketing’s internal influence’ workshop, hosted by Dr Keith Glanfield of CIM.
The workshop was great as marketers from all ends of the spectrum debated how we as practicing marketers stop other departments encroaching on our activity, our expertise and our influence within our organisations.
For me personally, I feel that to gain influence we need certain things to be set up correctly before any marketing activity takes place, as unless we do so we are setting ourselves up to fail, or we aren’t doing justice to what we could be achieving with that activity.
Key Debates: Should marketers be creating activity to gain influence? Are we the most important department within the company, and the drivers for company success? How do we tell stories about our marketing successes, and not let other ‘more tangible’ departments hog the glory?
All in all, the CIM conference was a fantastic day full of insight, theory, personal stories and more.
Looking forward to the follow up workshops, and there will also be another conference same time next year to follow this up. CIM will compile the research gained and present to us marketers a toolkit for best practice.