The Marketing Strategist:
Guiding Marketing Through the Digital Maze: Highlights from Marketing Vision 2018
We have been tracking and measuring marketing’s progress over the years and have seen how, in a relatively short time, the pace of change has accelerated so dramatically.
Marketing responsibilities in B2B services and solutions have expanded to encompass new roles, new opportunities, new channels, and new tools as digital technologies overturn what were well-established business models.
This year’s Marketing Vision Conference was one of our highest rated conferences and was designed to help marketing leaders guide their organizations through this increasingly complex and demanding transformation with an agenda offering the best of strategic thinking, insights, and case studies of marketing excellence. This year’s conference featured speakers and panelists from the following companies: CGI, Cognizant, Deloitte, Harvard Business School, HP, IBM, McKinsey, Northwestern, Nutanix, Panasonic, Pure Storage, and TopRank Marketing.
New ways of working
Digital technologies and channels have created a sea change in marketing and made it far more complex. At the same time, it has given marketers the tools to have a significant impact on business growth through being more strategic and more aligned with organizational goals.
Almost 80% of the marketing leaders we have recently surveyed said they are now involved in activities well beyond what was considered traditional marketing. They are becoming more client-centric and data-driven, creating closer and more personalized relationships with key clients through omnichannel and account-based marketing, leading cross-functional collaboration, exploiting technology, and adopting more agile ways of working.
The agenda for marketing
Last year we produced our Maturity Model for Marketing Transformation to help marketers manage and guide transformation change throughout their organizations. This year’s research on transforming marketing culture, organization, and talent revealed that:
- Culture is the lynchpin of marketing transformation. The future for marketing is client-centric, collaborative, flexible, insight- and data-driven, and based on shared vision and values.
- Organizational structures must reinforce the new marketing culture. This moves well beyond the top-down models of the past and instead enables collaboration, agility, flexibility, and teamwork. The new driving forces behind marketing organizational design are agility and buyer relevance.
- Marketing needs to rethink talent acquisition, retention, and development. As marketing organizations mature, filling the marketing talent gap shifts from hard to soft skills. We need expertise in areas such as demand generation, data/analytics, marketing technology, and content. Just as important are ‘softer’ attributes such as business acumen, flexibility, passions, ability to learn and adapt, and a willingness to collaborate.
2018 Marketing Vision Conference highlights
The presentations were geared to addressing some of the primary challenges we face as marketing leaders:
- Managing and leading change, both within marketing and in the wider organization, as the role of marketing expands.
- Developing the right blend of expertise, cross-marketing experience, and soft skills.
- Improving the internal understanding of marketing’s impact and value by making sure we show how we can address key business priorities.
Some of the key messages from the conference included:
- Understanding how executives engage when building closer client relationships and the role of personalization. Any investments in content creation need to be supported by a purposeful strategy for executive engagement.
- The importance of the three ‘L’s’ in re-imagining marketing: leadership, listening, and learning.
- Overcoming cross-functional obstacles when designing a seamless customer experience across the organization.
- Understanding that ABM has to be a well-planned, long-term strategy, not just a one-off campaign.
- The importance of the personal touch in an era of digital technology.
- The critical role of culture in ensuring a successful digital transformation.
The conference also featured an awards reception that honored 21 winners of the 2018 Marketing Excellence Awards that cut across seven categories of marketing. You can see a list of the winners and download a booklet of their summaries. Six of the winners presented their stories as part of the event.
The conference concluded with workshops on NextGen ABM, The Power of Storytelling, and Value Propositions That Sell to help marketers sharpen their swords on new thinking and critical skills in these vital skill areas.
Mark your calendar for next year’s Marketing Vision Conference on October 14-16 where we will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of our annual event. We hope to see you there!