Seven steps to constructing the marketing departments of the future

Published on 19th Mar 2018 in Marketing

Standing still is never an option, and nowhere is this truer than in marketing. A message that cuts to the core of the zeitgeist one day can be passé by the next news cycle. A social channel that is the toast of the Silicon Valley elite at SXSW can be a total ghost town by the time you’ve built a strategy for it. Times change, and we need to move with them.

This does not mean leaping onto every trend going. It requires heads of marketing to take stock of the internal changes they need to implement in the coming years, as well as the external changes they need to prepare for.

1. Get stuck in

As companies grow, it can be easy for silos to develop in different departments. This will cause major problems if these departments lose focus on a company’s goals and ethos, especially if they lose sight of how the company functions as a whole. Marketing teams need a clear knowledge of how their company operates and where it sits in their customers’ lives.

A lot of people in marketing still don’t really understand how their business works. Spend some time in the contact centre, or on the shop floor, really see how all the nuts and bolts fit together. Gaining this experience means you can present solutions that are far more aligned with the challenges that both your customer and the business face.

Otto Rosenberger | Chief Operating Officer, Iglu.com

2. ‘Digital’ dies, because it lives in everything

There is already a clamour to stop the talk about ‘digital marketing’, as many traditional channels now have a digital element and a lot of digital campaigns have traditional aspects baked into them. As this line blurs, marketing teams may still look for specialists in certain channels, but the broad brush of ‘digital’ will not be needed.

"In recent times we've begun taking the word 'digital' out of job titles. It's so intertwined with other channels that it began to feel pointless specifying it."

Hilary Cross | Director of Strategy and Engagement, British Council

3. Don’t be scared of AI

Marketers need to operate with increasing levels of accuracy and efficiency, while also retaining the creativity to capture the imagination of their audience on a large scale. Iterative performance tests powered by AI will operate at a frequency and complexity marketers can’t, making continuous iterative improvements. For example, at a recent event we heard from AI copywriters Phrasee how they had been improving Domino’s subject lines. Only one of these was written by a human, with many of the others getting higher open and click rates.

AI Pizza Subject Lines.jpg

Not only do such improvements boost the ROI of the campaigns you work so hard on, they free up marketers to work less on admin-heavy tasks and more on those that need to be powered by human ingenuity and judgement.

Artificial intelligence is a hugely positive development for marketers. It’s already baked into a lot of the technology we are using, and as it develops it’s only going to make us better at doing our jobs. This future of being smarter, quicker, and more informed is something to look forward to.

Otto Rosenberger | Chief Operating Officer, Iglu.com

4. The value of marketing data grows in appreciation

One example given at Marketing Week Live this year was Jeremy Ellis, Marketing and Customer Experience Director at TUI, revealing that their marketing team had built a whole new customer persona from analysing their data. Following this announcement, there was significant interest from other departments asking for more insights on the audience, and looking for ways to work together.

As gatekeepers for so much of this data, the marketing departments of the future can expect more attention from elsewhere in the business looking to capitalise on this advantage. It is therefore vital that best practice is established when working across departments with large volumes of data.

5. Marketers must mirror audience habits, not technology

It’s tempting to throw all of your budget behind exciting innovations, new trends, and VR headsets, but have your audience’s habits really changed that much?

"Rather than being made redundant, traditional channels are evolving to match modern technology, and will continue to. Saturday night is still the most expensive ad slot, and millions of people still pick up newspapers every day. Those mediums aren't going anywhere yet, so the challenge still lies in knowing what combination is going to be most relevant to your audience."

Hilary Cross | Director of Strategy and Engagement, British Council

6. Marketers will make up more of the C-suite

In the age of the customer, it makes sense that those with the closest links to the customer will often be best suited to guide the business. Years of building big ideas to reach the customer, backed by solid data on those customers, is a skill that is highly transferable to the top positions right across a business. In a lot of businesses, marketers have been doing this with flair for decades.

An organisation needs customer experience, but few really understand what it is. One of the biggest strengths I have as a COO is that I came from marketing. Our obsession with the customer, that all senior figures now need, is part and parcel of what I have done for years. Marketers have learned how to look at an audience, and get results. Our next challenge is expanding that second-nature understanding to sales, product, tech, and all other areas of a business.

Otto Rosenberger | Chief Operating Officer, Iglu.com

7. Disseminating data makes everyone win

Enterprise businesses, and many smaller ones, have already invested substantial amounts of their budget in looking at a wide range of data on their audience. Social listening, customer research, call tracking data, and more all bring value to a company. That value grows exponentially when it’s easily accessed by everyone that needs it, and compared with other teams that may have a focus on other markets, services, or products.

"A major change for us has been building a global marketing insights team. We've previously had teams doing this on a country by country basis, but this data needs to be shared centrally for everyone to benefit."

Hilary Cross | Director of Strategy and Engagement, British Council

The customer journey remains vital

As companies change and audiences evolve, retaining a clear view of your customer journey is just as important as ever. Unfortunately, without call tracking, the moment someone picks up the phone to enquire about a purchase or request support, you have no vision of the journey that led to the call.

Start a conversation with Infinity today to see the role that call intelligence data plays in the marketing teams of tomorrow.

Head of Content

Andy Vale
Head of Content

Andy has spent years obsessively analysing B2B and B2C digital marketing campaigns and technology. Outside his family, his main loves are Woking FC, his Xbox, and his National Trust membership.

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