Every year in our State of the Marketing Profession study we ask about top marketing priorities. We have been doing this for 20 years and the tracking provides fascinating insights into how the function is changing.
This year’s is no less revealing. Here’s what it tells us.
A growing emphasis on culture
Note the position in the list of ‘data-driven marketing culture’ and ‘agile marketing culture’ compared to just a few years ago. Cultural change is becoming important to marketers as marketing transforms, expands its influence, strives for operational excellence, and becomes more strategic.
An agile marketing organization breaks down departmental walls by creating cross-functional teams that work in parallel rather than serially. And a data-driven marketing culture is the basis for fine-tuning marketing performance. Taken together, agile and data-driven cultures give rise to a marketing organization that operates with rapid iterations and is geared to business outcomes rather than marketing activity as the measure of success.
Focus on marketing execution and relationship building
Six of marketing’s top 10 priorities for 2019 are focused on marketing operational excellence:
- Digital and social media marketing
- Lead generation, management, and nurturing
- Integrated marketing programs and messaging and marketing performance
- Data-driven marketing culture
- Agile marketing culture
Another three priorities are concerned with relationship building:
- Account-based marketing
- Sales and marketing alignment
- Thought leadership
Still a ways to go strategically
The sole strategic priority for 2019 is brand/reputation management/differentiation, although thought leadership arguably is as much about strategy as relationship building.
So, while there is definitely a shift from marketing activities that are predominantly transactional to ones that are more outcomes- and relationship-based, what we are not seeing–yet–are marketing organizations prioritizing the areas that will enable the function to contribute to strategic growth, such as:
- Customer and market insight
- Opportunity identification
- New offering development
- Customer success
- Customer experience management
- Partner-alliance development
The conclusion? Marketing’s immediate priorities do not reflect its aspirations. Operational excellence and relationships are important, but marketing must also go further to provide the customer and market insight and thought leadership to launch new solutions and business models, and lead the company in delivering an outstanding, well-orchestrated, end-to-end customer experience.
Perhaps next year’s priorities will reflect marketing’s ambitions.
But in the meantime, learn more about marketers top priorities and other key highlights in ITSMA’s 2019 Services Marketing Budget Allocations and Trends study.
In our State of the Marketing Profession study we ask about marketing priorities. The tracking provides fascinating insights into how the function is changing and this year’s is no less revealing...