How marketing mindset needs to change to overcome future challenges

03 Dec 2019

One of the biggest challenges facing CMOs today is time and limited tenure. Jenny Williams at ADMA says it takes time for CMOs to come into a role, determine what needs to be done, implement it, and see the change.

“The expectation often placed on CMOs is that they will facilitate immediate improvement. Yet if the organisation has a customer experience issue, it is much broader than just the CMO’s remit,” she explains.

The ADMA Global Forum will be held at the ICC Sydney, March 31 to April 1 2020. The theme for this year’s forum is “building a brave new future”.

According to Williams, “We are observing powerful global trends across areas of leadership, technology and politics that are changing every facet of our lives.

“High expectations around the globe are demanding more from brands, communities and countries. The goal is to challenge people’s thinking, get them to look outside of marketing to the wider world and to themselves, yet make it relevant to how they approach marketing as a discipline and meet the expectations of consumers.”

Customer experience is not a new landscape, according to Williams. She says it is becoming a bigger focus for organisations as they are grappling with what it means and how to embed it into their DNA. “Customer journey mapping and analysis is improving, as is the acceptance of new, broader measures of customer satisfaction,” she says.

“One of our speakers — Danielle Di-Masi, who recently gave a talk on the Evolution of Digital Communication — will provide some interesting perspectives on this. It goes beyond just thinking about how to make customer journeys more profitable but thinking in terms of customers as humans.”

CMOs and senior marketers have had to develop new skills to keep up with these new challenges. That means these days they need to bring a new mindset to their profession.

Williams says they need a broad knowledge of the market. “Things are moving much more rapidly these days. Having your finger on the pulse of competitors’ and audiences’ shifting behaviours — and having both the technology infrastructure and the strategic levers that enable you to pivot — are essential.”

She also says having flexible technology and strategies is crucial.

The keynote speaker at the ADMA Global Forum is Richard Hames. He is a futurist who accurately predicted 9/11, the global financial crisis and the election of Donald Trump.

Williams says “He uses some interesting data analysis from scanning news, trends and activity then filtering out noise to make his predictions. We thought this was interesting as a way to set up the ‘future’ theme and to set people’s minds thinking about what the future might hold.”

CMOs should be comfortable with technology so they can participate in the conversation.

“This is about enabling flexibility, insight and agility. Often the decisions that get made here are outside of the control of the CMO — however, the CMO is a consumer of this technology so it is essential that they are informed enough about the implications of these decisions.”

CMOs need to work faster than ever. The channels are broader, there are more balls in the air, and things are changing on more fronts. 

“To balance this, all senior marketers need to be conscious of their own mindset. Martin Steligman, often called the father of positive psychology, talks about both the need for a meaningful life and also operating in a state of ‘flow’ where we are both challenged and absorbed by our work,” Williams says.

ADMA has lined up a few speakers including Michelle McQuaid, who studied under Steligman, and Cassandra Goodman from Thrive Global.

Most marketing teams actually want to know the effect their work is having on the business, according to Williams.

“They want to know they are having a real impact on the business, and if they are given access to that information they lap it up. The challenge for a lot of organisations is actually aligning the data.”

She says there is no question that increased investment in analytics is enabling organisations to make more strategic decisions.

“We are seeing the rising importance of data — both in terms of the types of roles and the seniority of those roles within organisations. Operationally, infusing data into decision-making and enabling innovation from campaign optimisation through to product development are interesting fields of development. The growth, for instance, in the Chief Data Officer role in and of itself is a testament to that importance.

“From a speaker perspective, we are lucky to have got Warren Mackay-Smith, who until recently was the Global Director, People Relationship Marketing at Unilever, and was focused on leveraging data to drive performance through the lens of data. He is going to talk through ‘The Anatomy of Insight’.”

Williams says the Forum will discuss how the mindset of marketing is changing and how the aim is to create a balance of yin and yang. “Some speakers are a bit out there in terms of being non-marketers with quirky stories, and we have tried to balance that out with matching sessions that bring the story back to relevance to marketing and what marketers today need to consider. At the same time, we are aiming for a program that is quite different to the usual marketing conference."

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