Friday, 12 June 2015

The future of marketing as we know it

Where does the future of marketing lie? What changes must we implement in order to better market our discipline?

Time and time again you come across people who don’t really understand what marketing is and don’t really quite get what marketers do. So with this being said, what can marketing do to market itself better? An odd question you might think, however, it’s a no-brainer: launch a new campaign, improve social media, host a extravagant event, plant a couple media stories, hire a new marketing manager, devise a digital content strategy, set up an online community…the list goes on. Surprised? Don’t be, this is not too dissimilar from how marketing is perceived by many today.

At the other end of the scale, there are academic talks and papers circulating matters on marketing leadership, which has said to have revolutionised the way marketing is perceived. Mahesh Enjeti, Managing Director of SAI Marketing Counsel, mentions a paper based on the future of marketing, named “Six Visionaries Speak”. One of my favourite visionaries, Seth Godin, advises today’s marketers to create things that matter. What does he mean by this? The term “things that matter”, refers to a creation or innovation that generates a buzz amongst its targeted audience, opposed to marketers being stuck on creating the buzz itself.

Unilever’s, Marc Mathieu, reiterates a quote which resonated with me, stating, “Marketing is no longer about creating a myth and selling it, but finding a truth and sharing it.” A quote so powerful, yet simplistic, stresses the importance of sustainability, transparency and trust within our discipline.

If we as marketers are meant to progress from our roles today and lead the aspirational future, we must start to look beyond the confines of our own discipline, because “marketing will cease to be a strait-jacketed function and will soon assume the mantle of a facilitator and fountain head.”

 “Six Visionaries Speak” interestingly discusses how the future of customer needs will revolve around the notion of well-being, and sustainability. “Research will investigate how products and services actually fit into peoples lives. Metrics around market cap of brand value will be talked about in the same breath as brand health. Market segments will make way for channel and hour of day clusters, and so on.”

So then what? The important challenge for us is being able to manage this transition, so others who are practicing marketing, as it exists today, will be able to lead the business of tomorrow built on completely new models.

This is a time where influential groups such as the Australian Marketing Institute can lead exponential change. Through a continual learning of the marketing discipline, organisations such as AMI can start to prepare marketers for a future where their roles within the discipline could be completely transformed, enabling them to perform more efficiently within their roles and begin the initial steps for change.

We all have to learn how to speak the language of both profit and purpose, bridging the gap between art and science, whilst at the same time promoting a culture of customer intimacy across the discipline. The 4Ps as we have been taught in the many marketing subjects at university may take on a new significance as those in the profession “pursue marketing careers and networks, perform to their peak, progress in their roles while enabling their businesses to prosper”.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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