Sitting on the train after the recent Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders, Katharine Hulls, VP of Marketing for Celebrus Technologies, was awash with thoughts and ideas as she digested all the information and key points that had been discussed during the two days. But, while marketing has always professed to be customer-centric, it was clear from the forum that it is the sophistication of today's consumers and their 'savviness' that is setting the agenda and driving forward new innovations within marketing.
When she first started out in her marketing career Hulls would often feel envious of friends whose jobs had a positive impact on society. For example, those working in the charity sector or involved in building fantastic structures that provide a welcoming home or place to work.
"At that time, the only way that I could impact on people's lives was to make sure that my marketing team felt positive about their jobs and valued by the company for the work they did," said Hulls. "Today, marketers have a broader role to play with marketing's contribution to the overall consumer experience being increasingly vital."
With the right approach, marketing can transform the quality of experience that a consumer has when interacting with that brand. If marketing gets the experience wrong it can have serious implications for both brand reputation and customer loyalty.
"But get it right and it can turn a boring task such as setting up a bank account into a swift, seamless experience - freeing up people's time for the better things in life: horse-riding and sailing in my case!" explained Hulls.
From an easy to navigate, informative website that is mobile optimised, to accurately targeted email campaigns filled with personalised offers, to intelligent mobile apps that streamline stressful tasks - such as flight check-in or insurance claims - marketing is today having a positive impact on society beyond increasing company profits. The tech savvy consumer is pushing marketers to embrace these new digital marketing channels that make their life easier and as marketers it up to us to not only listen, but embrace and welcome that pressure.
The modern marketing department is an exciting hub of activity. Savvy consumers bring challenges to marketers - there is no doubt - but also a number of opportunities to make the brand shine amongst the competition. For the time poor consumer that wants instant gratification, anything that makes life easier, simpler and automated will always be met with open arms.
Over the next few weeks Hulls will explore all of these opportunities further, focusing on three key themes:
- The savvy consumer;
- Always on and always everywhere;
"Behind every strong brand there lies a strong marketing team, and with more ways than ever to reach existing and new consumers, there is no excuse for tired, boring marketing campaigns executed over a single channel," concluded Hulls. "Those brands that adapt their strategies and embrace a multichannel approach that makes their customers lives easier will be the ones to succeed... and perhaps even feel that they are truly making a difference to other people's lives."