Last week’s exclusive content on CMO.com focused on some key changes that organisations must make to reach more customers with their marketing. No discussion of the development of marketing would be complete without mention of the vital role of digital. Digital transformation can be a difficult transition, but without it, many businesses are in danger of becoming irrelevant. Digital is no longer a nice addition to an organisation’s strategy; it is, as one of our contributors mentioned this past week, the water in which all organisations are swimming. Other key discussions this past week focused on the evolution of consumer taste in brand content, the space that branded content inhabits, and the role of data in an organisation’s pursuit of customer-centricity.
Paul Randle, Digital Capability Director at Brand Learning, touches on an insightful metaphor for the way brands relate to digital. Because so much of the world lives in the digital economy, a brand’s immersion in the digital world is vital to its marketing success. Randle describes digital as the sea in which all brands swim. The problem is that many brands are merely dipping their toes in the water by hiring a few experts. True immersion will require a brand to root its digital identity in every area of the organisation.
Last week’s CMO.com interview with Julia Porter, Director of Consumer Revenues at Guardian News and Media (GNM), highlights The Guardian’s success with marketing in the digital space with a 20% subscription increase in just two years. Porter discusses the differences between analogue and digital as well as the challenges that come with moving to digital. The Guardian strives to develop a culture that is data driven and comfortable with managing a large amount of data available to them. Porter has also pushed her organisation to focus on details and develop the single customer view, which she says is all about “modelling and profiling customer behaviour”.
The CMO.com video highlight last week featured an interview with the charismatic Andreas Gall, Chief Technology Officer at Red Bull Media House. Gall believes that the days of branded content being restricted to advertising slots are over. He sees branded content being more integrated into prime-time programming and gives the example of his own organisation, which creates a lot of productions that “give wings to the ideas from people inside the master-brand”. He mentions the incredible leap from the edge of space made by Felix Baumgartner as a pivotal moment in the way media companies perceive branded content. It’s an evolution of branded content to being eye-level with media companies.
Tom Ollerton, Marketing and Innovation Director at We Are Social, demonstrates the ways in which consumers have evolved when it comes to the use of sex in marketing. While it can still be said that sex sells, consumers have become a bit more sophisticated. Today’s consumers require marketers to exercise a bit more thought. Ollerton uses the example of Abercrombie and Fitch to show that a brand’s use of highly sexualised imagery may increase sales in the short term, but may hurt the brand in the long run. Abercrombie and Fitch, after all, has had to change its approach to marketing to get people more focused on the product. Many consumers expect brands to produce good in the world, so sex in marketing must be used with a bit more care and calculation.
Shubhen Chitnis, Head of Digital Consulting at Tata Consultancy Services, ended the week by discussing the vital evolution organisations must embrace to be more customer-centric. Traditionally, CMOs and CIOs have kept to their own space within an organisation. But in today’s digital economy, customer-centricity requires marketing and IT professionals to join together. In the past, data plus analytics was a nice luxury to have, but no more. Chitnis calls for an alignment of the vision and strategies of CMOs and CIOs, and he uses the example of customer-centric businesses such as Amazon and Lego. He also gives some helpful tips on how to make the partnership work within an organisation.
We invite you to take some time this week to read and engage with our exclusive discussions on CMO.com with some of the industry’s top marketers. Please let us know what you think.