The future of marketing: From monologue to dialogue

EIU.com

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Until a few years ago, marketing was a monologue. Marketers invested time, talent and money to broadcast messages designed to correspond with each stage of a theoretical buying cycle: awareness, research, consideration, testing, negotiation and transaction. The past two years have witnessed the first examples of true two-way marketing "conversations" between customers and some of the world’s leading consumer brands. Driven by a confluence of innovation, competition and big shifts in consumer behaviour, the dialogue between brands and their customers is replacing the traditional marketing monologue.

Among the key findings:

  • Chief marketing officers (CMOs) will need to rethink four basic elements of their work–branding, integration, measurement and accountability, and internal organisation–in order to conduct online and offline marketing activities that are relevant, measurable, and accountable to the C-suite in terms it understands, such as top-line growth and speed to market.
  • In the area of branding, the survey and in-depth interviews with senior marketers reveal that online marketing enables marketers to create interactive brand experiences that also contain a path to action for the consumer. The result is that online branding has the potential to become the central marketing expression for organisations.

  • The Internet blurs the line separating creative media and media planning/buying functions, offering marketing executives new scope to integrate these activities. Online tools, especially search engines, help marketers combine two important elements for truly integrated marketing: intelligence into customer thinking and intentions generated by other media.

  • Marketers are dissatisfied with their current ability to measure results of marketing campaigns, both offline and online. The ability to measure results will improve, however, given that CEOs are requiring direct evidence of a return for marketing investment. Return on investment (ROI) is accountability by another name and a burning concern of CMOs.

  • As the role of marketing expands to affect other corporate activities such as joint ventures, alliances and even product development, top marketers recognise a need to create new incentive structures in order to prepare their internal organisations for the increased level of accountability.

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