4 components of great marketing
Marketing channels have proliferated over the past few decades to the point that there are too many to count. From home PCs and mobile devices to smart TVs and gaming, marketers have many potential avenues of connections with customers.
Umporn Tantipech, an industry consultant for Teradata Marketing Applications said, “A recent McKinsey report stated that ‘Marketing expenditure around the world has reached as much as $1 trillion’ (1). That’s an incredible amount so the only way to keep ahead of competitors is to be smarter than everyone else about how data and insights can be used to influence marketing decisions faster and more effectively.”
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Teradata has identified four ways to improve organisations’ marketing efforts exponentially. These elements should be embedded in the organisation’s culture for best results:
1. Using big data for a more scientific approach
Marketing organisations used to traditionally rely on focus groups and survey-based market research to gain information about their target markets. This yielded some information and was slightly more effective than relying on intuition, but still did not let marketers act with optimal degree of certainty.
By contrast, effectively collecting and analysing big data relating to their customers gives marketing organisations confidence that the insights gleaned are statistically valid, mainly because the results are not based on the solicited input of a few people, but rather the actual behaviours and history of many people. Marketers should systematically listen to every customer both online and offline, and relate this knowledge with internal insights to gain holistic, accurate understandings of customer’s need.
2. Letting marketing contribute more substantially
As marketers gain more comprehensive and detailed information about what customers want, they become the repository of essential knowledge within the organisation. These contextual understandings can be used to shape the organisation’s approach to unify proactive marketing communications with day-to-day operational notifications and service interactions.
Understanding the context is key for marketers, as marketing communications should align to individual consumer needs. For example, an organisation’s marketing material would be different for younger and older demographics. By understanding context, the organisation can increase sales and revenue without incurring huge risk in developing new products and services that the market may reject.
3. Telling stories that create richer interactions for customers
Parallel to the increasing use of technology in marketing is the increased reliance on content development and storytelling to create richer customer interactions to cut through the noise of competing marketing messages. Creative storytelling is essential as consumers become more marketing-savvy and their expectations of organisations continue to rise. Marketers that proactively tap into how consumers see themselves can develop stories that reflect individual identities. This makes audiences feel like the brand understands them and offers products that are ideal for them.
It is also vital for organisations to understand that how consumers see themselves is always changing depending on the context. They need to use specific insights about individuals to engage them at the right time with the right message.
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4. Being responsive and consistent
As the speed of the market changes, businesses must share data faster across the enterprise to become more agile and to adapt to consumers’ needs quicker. The ability to gain a first-mover advantage depends on organisations having immediate access to the latest data, being able to derive valuable insights from that data, and then having the organisational flexibility to respond appropriately. By reducing time-to-market and consistently delivering products and services that customers need, organisations can stay ahead of the competitive curve and lead the market.
“Marketers that use a closed loop model to systematically follow up on customer interactions can better understand if the customer was engaged, clicked on their offers and purchased," Tantipech said. "This hindsight helps to inform future interactions and campaigns. Consumers are individuals and the only way to engage them deeply enough to turn them into customers is to clearly understand their individual needs and desires, and the context in which they operate.”
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here