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Delete the marketing department
Posted by
David Blyth at 10:00

Imagine asking your Dad to call a girl you like to ask her out on a date. Is this awkward, odd or just plain silly?

Well, us marketers are doing this all the time.

Consider this; if marketing's role is about ensuring that the business has engaging relationships with its customers why do we as marketers allow a 20-year old call-center operator to have a conversation with the 45-year old man when their world views are likely to be poles apart. Yes, many large organisations have great CRM and Contact Management software in place but in an always-on, connected world, where customer expectations change in the moment, many marketers are letting IT manage the conversation for them with a standard scripted response. Instead, marketers should be ensuring that every single customer is able to have a real human relationship conversation with the business.

It's no wonder that"Most CEO's believe that marketers lack business credibility. Moreover, they feel marketers are not the business growth generators they should be, and are not focused enough on effectiveness."  This was the key finding of a recent survey, conducted by global consultancy, the Fournaise Marketing Group. The survey interviewed over 600 decision-makers in large corporations and small-to-medium sized businesses across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States.

There is no question that marketing as a discipline is in need of a radical revamp. In a world where people can connect, filter, share and be involved seamlessly and intuitively with each other, few marketers are responding well.

Marketers need to ensure that the business is IN the conversation with customers, live and real-time not just acknowledging the conversation in a weekly report.

In the future, marketers will have to have distributed agility to manage the consumer decision-making process. No longer a purchase funnel but a relationship spiral with many exit and entry points. The marketing discipline has to be effortlessly mapped to delivering against this with and to do so should spend 20% planning and 80% of its time in real-time conversation.

At the moment marketers are being awkward. Customers are ahead of the game, they are in control and they often know more about the businesses' own products and services than the marketers themselves.

Instead of trying to control things like we did in the past we should be conscious of the customer's unconscious decision-making across the relationship spiral. We need to re-frame our role as marketers to being executive producers of our customer's movie.

The marketing department will become obsolete unless it can:

  • Be seen by the business as being the enabler of real human relationships  with the customer - every touch-point is your responsibility;
  • Be seen inside all aspects of the business, whether they are your responsibility or not ensuring the business is DOING and not just SAYING;
  • Be responsible for enriching the businesses' knowledge of the customer in real-time to sustain engagement;
  • Ensure that marketing teams have the right level of strategic, analytical and emotional competencies;
  • Ensure your marketing people are always on, connected, living the relationship, not managing it;
  • Help the business convert engagement to sales  and realise real business growth in order to earn respect - if required, create new partnerships that help make this happen.

If marketing cannot get this right, its lunch will be eaten. IT has already taken a serious bite of the sandwich. Delete. 

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