In its simplest form, marketing means shaping the exchange process between a company and its customers. When executed on an overall level, we talk about strategy, while marketing on an operative level is all about communication. Marketing guru Philipp Kotler loved to say that if you know your 4Ps – product, price, place, promotion – you are more than well prepared. Once upon a time, communication was divided into “above the line” and “below the line”, and the channels available for communication were limited to radio, TV, print, posters and promotions. And then the internet was born.
The developments in marketing over the last decade have given us a lot of new advantages, such as transparency, connectivity, access, integration, and speed. But also, a lot of complexity.
The number of communication channels has multiplied exponentially. And this trend is growing, leading to a fragmentation of marketing tools. Just a few years ago, university courses were dedicated to email, social media, mobile and online marketing. Today, these terms are hardly used anymore. Instead, terms such as content marketing, influencer marketing, performance marketing, growth hacking, video marketing, search engine marketing, conversation marketing, personalised marketing, guerrilla marketing, affiliate marketing, account-based marketing and conversational marketing have taken their place. While marketers are busy keeping the ball rolling in marketing, product owners and requirements engineers are busy defining the requirements for software implementations. Wasn’t marketing just at the forefront of defining requirements, market know-how and user interests? And who is actually responsible for an exceptional user experience?
Staying on the ball in all the relevant marketing areas is a challenge. This is how expert careers emerge, with great expertise in small sub-areas. While the individual marketer has in-depth know-how in one field, a group of marketers can dispose of a great wealth of expertise in a wider range of marketing disciplines. By getting UX specialists, product owners and requirements engineers on board, you really have covered all requirements. Now we can only hope that our specialists speak the same language to achieve their common goal. But what is our common language? And what is the actual goal again?
I am a huge fan of working with skilled people with in-depth know-how because it is the only way to successfully manage the complexity of today’s marketing world. Yet it’s a reminder that marketing still needs to define the business model and marketing strategy, an overall game plan for reaching an audience with the right information and turning them into customers, before all the experts set off. A strategy which ensures that everyone on board speaks the same language, follows the same rules, and is keen to achieve one common goal.
Meeting marketers from different companies, industries and departments has shown me that almost all of them are under enormous pressure in trying to meet the broad customer demand of digging deeper and deeper into specialisations – and missing out on a higher marketing level. This leads me to the conclusion that marketing’s claim to omnipotence might no longer be the right path to success. Yet, a humble step towards the development of a marketing strategy that provides a strategic framework for interdisciplinary experts and operations teams to collaborate more effectively, may prove a more successful step forward.
– Anna, Marketing Director