The Future of Marketing

Top management recognizes that marketing requires more accountability than in the past. “Marketing Memo: Major Marketing Weaknesses” summarizes companies’ major deficiencies in marketing and how to find and correct them.

To succeed in the future, marketing must be more holistic and less departmental. Marketers must achieve wider influence in the company, continuously create new ideas, and strive for customer insight by treating customers differently but appropriately. They must build their brands more through performance than promotion. They must go electronic and win through building superior information and communication systems.

The coming years will see:

The Marketing Excellence Review: Best Practices

  • The demise of the marketing department and the rise of holistic marketing
  • The demise of free-spending marketing and the rise of ROI marketing
  • The demise of marketing intuition and the rise of marketing science
  • The demise of manual marketing and the rise of both automated and creative marketing
  • The demise of mass marketing and the rise of precision marketing

To accomplish these changes and become truly holistic, marketers need a new set of skills and competencies in:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Partner relationship management (PRM)
  • Database marketing and data mining
  • Contact center management and telemarketing
  • Digital marketing and social media
  • Public relations marketing (including event and sponsorship marketing)
  • Brand-building and brand-asset management
  • Experiential marketing
  • Integrated marketing communications
  • Profitability analysis by segment, customer, and channel

MARKETING MEMO Major Marketing Weaknesses

A number of “deadly sins” signal that the marketing program is in trouble. Here are 10 deadly sins, the signs, and some solutions.

Deadly Sin #1: The company is not sufficiently market focused and customer driven.

Signs: There is evidence of poor identification of market segments, poor prioritization of market segments, no market segment managers, employees who think it is the job of marketing and sales to serve customers, no training program to create a customer culture, and no incentives to treat the customer especially well. Solutions: Use more advanced segmentation techniques, prioritize segments, specialize the sales force, develop a clear hierarchy of company values, fos­ter more “customer consciousness” in employees and company agents, and make it easy for customers to reach the company and respond quickly to any communication.

Deadly Sin #2: The company does not fully understand its target customers.

Signs: The latest study of customers is three years old; customers are not buying your product like they once did; competitors’ products are selling better; and there is a high level of customer returns and complaints.

Solutions: Do more sophisticated consumer research, use more analytical techniques, establish customer and dealer panels, use customer relationship soft­ware, and do data mining.

Deadly Sin #3: The company needs to better define and monitor its competitors.

Signs: The company focuses on near competitors, misses distant competitors and disruptive technologies, and has no system for gathering and distributing competitive intelligence.

Solutions: Establish an office for competitive intelligence, hire competitors’ people, watch for technology that might affect the company, and prepare offerings like those of competitors.

Deadly Sin #4: The company does not properly manage relationships with stakeholders.

Signs: Employees, dealers, and investors are not happy; and good suppliers do not come.

Solutions: Move from zero-sum thinking to positive-sum thinking; and do a better job of managing employees, supplier relations, distributors, dealers, and investors.

Deadly Sin #5: The company is not good at finding new opportunities.

Signs: The company has not identified any exciting new opportunities for years, and the new ideas the company has launched have largely failed.

Solutions: Set up a system for stimulating the flow of new ideas.

Deadly Sin #6: The company’s marketing planning process is deficient.

Signs: The marketing plan format does not have the right components, there is no way to estimate the financial implications of different strategies, and there is no contingency planning.

Solutions: Establish a standard format including situational analysis, SWOT, major issues, objectives, strategy, tactics, budgets, and controls; ask marketers what changes they would make if they were given 20 percent more or less budget; and run an annual marketing awards program with prizes for best plans and performance.

Deadly Sin #7: Product and service policies need tightening.

Signs: There are too many products and many are losing money; the company is giving away too many services; and the company is poor at cross-selling products and services.

Solutions: Establish a system to track weak products and fix or drop them; offer and price services at different levels; and improve processes for cross-selling and up-selling.

Deadly Sin #8: The company’s brand-building and communications skills are weak.

Signs: The target market does not know much about the company; the brand is not seen as distinctive; the company allocates its budget to the same market­ing tools in about the same proportion each year; and there is little evaluation of the ROI impact of marketing communications and activities.

Solutions: Improve brand-building strategies and measurement of results; shift money into effective marketing instruments; and require marketers to estimate the ROI impact in advance of funding requests.

Deadly Sin #9: The company is not organized for effective and efficient marketing.

Signs: Staff lacks 21st-century marketing skills, and there are bad vibes between marketing/sales and other departments.

Solutions: Appoint a strong leader and build new skills in the marketing department, and improve relationships between marketing and other departments. Deadly Sin #10: The company has not made maximum use of technology.

Signs: There is evidence of minimal use of the Internet, an outdated sales automation system, no market automation, no decision-support models, and no marketing dashboards.

Solutions: Use the Internet more, improve the sales automation system, apply market automation to routine decisions, and develop formal marketing decision models and marketing dashboards.

Source: Philip Kotler, Ten Deadly Marketing Sins: Signs and Solutions (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004). © Philip Kotler.

Source: Kotler Philip T., Keller Kevin Lane (2015), Marketing Management, Pearson; 15th Edition.

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