CEOs and Boards are demanding that Marketing become a strategic growth driver and catalyst for profitable growth. To meet that demand, Marketing must make certain that its insights pervade the organization, thereby helping the company drive its growth agenda and reach its financial goals and aspirations. To meet these demands, the Visionary Marketer must learn these new truths about what Marketing must do to succeed in the future:
1. Drive strategic, board-level discussions on growth.
2. Own balanced short- and long-term perspectives, always focusing on in-market, profitable impact.
3. Recognize that customers own the brand, and be responsible (along with the rest of the organization) for guiding and enhancing brand growth through a growing network of influence.
4. Drive profitable, insight-driven strategic initiatives and innovations through an organization-wide innovation ecosystem.
5. Co-own the broad-based customer acquisition budget with the rest of the executive team.
6. Lead by executing in a directionally correct manner, optimizing through a continuous test, learn, and adapt model.
7. Work in a cross-functional, collaborative way with other functional areas (Sales, Finance, Information Technology, and Human Resources), revolving around the customer.
Perhaps you feel secure right now and don’t see the need to make these shifts. Of course, you could bet that the inertia currently in place in many organizations will continue. But sooner or later, your CEO will want to change the way your company battles for the hearts and minds of the customer. Why? Because sooner or later your CEO will face a confluence of changes and challenges. These challenges will range from the overcommoditization of everything and the resulting lack of differentiation, to the proliferation and fragmentation of messaging. All of this occurs within a competitive environment that sees action and competitive reaction happening at a breakneck pace. Factor in the increasingly global, chilly economy, which is always dynamic and rarely dependable and one can see why the war for the customer dollar feels like such a battle.
This confluence of changes and challenges, and thus apparent lack of control, seems, well, out of control. That is why many of your fellow marketers will hesitate to make changes, but your CEO won’t. He or she will realize that the business must transform how it operates and competes so that it wins. The CEO will look within the business for help in meeting these challenges. If you don’t step up to the challenge, then Marketing and your role will be pushed further into the traditional marketing paradigm – a paradigm for which time is running out.
Of the 7 new truths of marketing that Scott Davis outlines, we were most struck by #3 – especially with technological advances so obviously affecting brand visibility. What are you – or what is your organization -doing to guide and enhance brand growth? How are you tapping into the “growing network of influence” Davis mentioned? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
Excerpted from The Shift: The Transformation of Today’s Marketers into Tomorrow’s Growth Leaders by Scott M. Davis. Get the latest from Scott by following him on Twitter @scottdavisshift or learn more about his work at http://www.prophet.com/thinking/experts/davis.