The lost generation in marketing | Marketing


“We’re going to lose a whole generation of marketers because many executives see marketing as uniquely digital or social and don’t see marketing as a 360-degree package based on consumer information. “
Erica Kerner, SVP Marketing Strategy and Partnerships, ONE Championship

How did we get there ?

We spoke to over 30 Marketing Managers, globally and across APAC (see “Asia Pacific Marketing Managers Struggle to Align Staff with New Marketing Challenges”), and the message was loud and clear. on the future marketing organizations they wish to set up: strategic, client-targeted, influencing business programs and having an impact on company objectives. We’ve heard unanimously that marketers have become too focused on fast execution. They disperse, caught in a downpour of data. The concern was evident that the marketing leaders of the future are not exposed to enough opportunities to develop basic strategic skills.

The fundamentals of marketing have not changed. Understand your potential customers to decide who you want to target. Determine how relevant you are to them. Develop and position your offer accordingly. Establish what you need to deliver to meet business goals. How to achieve this with the resources you have. And what you’re going to track and measure to find out if your strategy is working.

The next part — the what, tactics, execution, social media, content, influencers, distribution channels, partnership opportunities — is where things get more and more cluttered. The lines are blurring when it comes to marketing accountability, challenging us to stay relevant and keep abreast of the latest skills. Being a marketer today is like standing in the middle of an ever-expanding candy store with more enticing, new, and different things that we could try, that just might taste better than the last. We are overwhelmed with possibilities.

Add instant gratification to the mix. The opportunity to find out, almost immediately, if what we have done has worked. Not enough commitment? Change the key visual. Not enough clicks? Change the channel. Not enough views? Edit the message. We risk being so busy chasing short-term measures that we miss the ultimate goal. For marketing to generate revenue, profit and business goals.

“There has been a systematic build-up of myopia in the work of a marketer,” said Rupen Desai, global marketing director for Dole Sunshine, one of the people we interviewed. “Unless short-term thinking is balanced with a long-term strategic vision, the role will continue to be degraded in its ability to have impact.

We are on the brink of a precipice in marketing. If that sounds dramatic, here are the hard facts.

The recently released Better Briefs project surveyed over 1,700 respondents from 70 countries and found that 78% of marketers believe they write briefs that provide clear strategic direction. But how many creative agencies have said that briefs written by their clients provide them with clear strategic direction? Only 5%. In case you got a skim read, here it is again: 5% of marketers provide clear strategic direction.

I’m not here to wave the agency flag, nor do I think that if we could wave a strategic wand and gradually change the quality of briefs, that alone would transform the execution jumble around us. But we could reduce the huge waste by giving marketers the time and skills to develop solid strategies that provide clear direction and direction.

A few weeks ago, we briefed an agency on behalf of a brand for which we had developed a market entry and positioning strategy. The agency shared with the client that it was “one of the most thoughtful and precise briefs we have received in years”. Nice feedback for us, but shocking to hear. We are not the gods of marketing briefs. We just worked with a brand owner who was willing to invest a few weeks and a little bit of money to understand the market, figure out which consumers to target, and then talk to those consumers to figure out how to be relevant and attractive to them.

Next. Coaching. When was the last time you received training or provided training to your team on marketing strategy? I’m not talking about digital strategy, content strategy, or any other marketing channel or tactic with the word “strategy”. I’m talking about marketing strategy (I hope what I mean by that is now clear).

Mark Ritson’s mini-MBA in Marketing costs US $ 2,000. By the end of this year, approximately 20,000 people will have completed the course since its inception in 2016. Alumni come from 86 countries. Less than 2% of them come from Asia. Excuse me for the repetition: less than 2%.

Again, taking 10 training modules won’t suddenly turn marketers into respected business advisors. But it will help build confidence in strategizing, engage with business stakeholders to gain support for what they’re doing and why, and get out of the hamster wheel of execution. .

The CMOs we spoke to were clear. As an industry, we risk losing the skills of marketing strategy and organizational impact that fuel great execution and business results. Whether you are, or aspiring to be, a current CEO or marketing leader, ignore this at your peril.


Jennifer Woollford is the founder of Neon Leaders, an open community of talented independent and strategic marketing leaders.

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