Debate: Are marketers today more accountable for growth than ever before?
Topic sentence: Marketers today are more accountable for growth than ever before and are being rightly charged with the task of developing new markets as well as new business.
Positive – I remember my marketing lecturer reinforcing that good marketeers had to succeed in four areas: creativity, project management, understanding profit/ loss (return on investment) and people management. It’s quite a mix and without denigrating my CPA friends, I would suggest that finding people who are creative geniuses and profit/loss gurus are few and far between. It’s akin to a neuroscientist also performing in the Bolshoi Ballet.
Okay, so I am being a bit extreme, but my point is that as a good marketer you must perform in these four areas. But, as a great marketer, more than ever you must get cut through, drive the brand, extract a premium (rational or irrational) and forge new opportunities. On balance it appears that I am on the affirmative, but what I have seen all too often is talented creative marketers forced into a business growth mindset and not play to their strengths. In a world full of generalists and in a world needing creative geniuses, let’s please allow great ideas to flourish, and let the idea be unconstrained.
New market development is a cross-functional accountability with marketing, research and development, sales and strategy all collaborating. And success in new markets has to be a formula of:
a. accelerating innovation
b. gross margin expansion
c. brilliant creative, and
d. point of buying excellence.
Don’t make all marketers business generalists.
Vice president, client service Epsilon
Positive – Marketers today are responsible for more than branding and lead generation. They are an extension of the sales team, having serious revenue targets and accountability for every dollar spent. Over the years, return on investment, data and revenue-driven responsibility have become a major KPI for marketers across all silos.
Technological advancements have been a core driver of this change, particularly as a vast amount of today’s marketing is digitally driven and digitally measurable. Marketers are employing data-driven strategies and campaigns so advanced, an audience can consist of just one person. Good marketers can thus border on the utopia of one-to-one marketing with outstanding results.
In addition to advancements in marketing technology, we have seen the proliferation of communication channels and campaign management tools, which in turn has seen business development become a significant part of marketing strategy.
Marketing business development is a different model to a traditional sales business development, as marketers typically have money to invest to reach their numbers. Smarter organisations, however, don’t necessarily have a fixed marketing budget. They may start with one, but if each dollar spent generates 1+x in return, they will reinvest a portion to keep on spending. Their marketing budget is essentially unlimited if the marketing generates sufficient revenue and this places them squarely in the position of business development.
Today’s marketers are being increasingly charged with new business and new market development, and appropriately so. They play a very important and strategic role supporting sales and client services in the growth of any business.
VP operations and marketing programs CMO Council
Positive – Amend this to read: ‘Marketers today are more accountable for growth than ever before and if they are not rightly charged with, supported in, and compensated to take on the task of developing new markets as well as new business, customer revenue optimisation opportunities will be lost.’
Today’s chief market- ing officer serves as the owner, shepherd and nurturer of the customer experience. We have taken our legacy as brand steward and begun to translate brand into business through targeted, intelligent and relevant experiences for our customers. For example:
> Customer experience: marketing connects the touch- points where our brand and business intersect with the customer’s needs and expectations. Who better than the marketer to take that architectural experience and leverage it into new markets?
> Marketers access, aggregate and analyse reams of data from across the organisation and the market to best understand the market opportunity and the competitive landscape. Who better to arm the enterprise with a fact-driven roadmap for market development and opportunity identification?
> According to the CMO Council’s ‘State of Marketing’ research, marketing already anticipates allocating significant budget and resources to identifying new business opportunities. In fact, 34% will allocate specifically towards new regional and country market development while 16% will invest in new or adjacent market entries.
Head of marketing and communication Southern Cross Austereo
Positive – The bottom line is marketers are already tasked with owning the customer experience and engagement strat- egy, boosting the bottom-line and improving operational efficiencies. If this doesn’t translate into being charged with developing new markets and business, what does?
The measurement of accountability is a difficult one to assess from an overall industry perspec- tive given the varying KPIs attributed to marketers across fields. However, to note that marketers are less accountable would be ludicrous. So by virtue, accountability must be on the rise and necessarily so. That said, if growth accountability through contribution to new product and business development is not a bestowed measure on a marketer by his or her business, it should without question, be self-imposed. The ability for marketing to add value to its business widely is an exciting one. Led mostly through marketing’s core output of consumer insights, big ideas and marketing activity, its true potential to drive growth comes from much more than the results of the day-to-day campaign activities.
A team of good marketers have within their core skill set the ability to develop a valuable business differentiation model and, like any other outward-facing marketing activity, the ability to recognise and identify the core capabilities a business has to create demand. Like all marketing solutions, the business solutions that will lead to growth start with insight and creativity and this is at the heart of getting it right. A marketer, with his or her core discipline of ‘what will connect with the consumer’ can guide the business towards solutions that existing and potential consumers are yet to even identify themselves.
Understanding corporate brand perceptions, evolving corporate positioning, assessing gaps in the market, identifying trends, understanding the product development cycle and leveraging the diversity of creative talent across the business are all critical considerations to developing new ways forward. Good marketers make these considerations instinctively and a business is enitled to look to its marketing team to add value to its growth strategies.