Econsultancy’s 2014 Cross Channel Marketing Report is weighty and eye-opening. If you get the opportunity it’s definitely worth a read but, if you don’t, the 3-point summary slide in the Powerpoint presentation gives you a steer on where we’re at;
1. Businesses are struggling to get to grips with important components of cross-channel.
2. Marketers are disproportionately pre-occupied with planning, design and content.
3. The focus on mobile and its integration is small compared to the opportunity.
So, there’s obviously still work to be done and progress to be made. “Getting to grips” isn’t really quantifiable and mobile, well mobile, it’s the opportunity we’re all aware of but often struggle to know where to start. For me, what screamed off the screen was the 2nd point…
An article in June’s Marketing Week summarised the views of some of the UK’s top marketers. The consensus being that marketers were allowing their role to be downgraded and down-played. Bupa’s marketing and strategy director Saj Arshad went as far as to say,
“As a professional body, we have allowed ourselves to be positioned as the colouring-in department, which is symptomatic of the fact that we have not grown commercial marketers.”
The colouring-in department indeed. It’s a tongue in cheek reference that I’d happily not heard in some time and one which demonstrates how, for many, marketing used to be viewed. That marketers made things pretty, they designed logos, brochures, advertisements and well, spent money. And that they were a cost-centre (and an expensive one at that).
But this was at a time when the consumer journey was different…simple. We talked of “the funnel” - a linear process of Awareness, Familiarity, Consideration, Purchase and Loyalty - and marketers strived to touch the customer or prospect at every stage of that journey with elements that might influence their buying decision.
Now, with the advent of mobile devices and the influence of the social media, customers have seized control of the process. They “pull” the information that is helpful to them (think online reviews, peer word-of-mouth recommendations, etc.) and only a third of the touch points involve traditional push-marketing.
And that’s a problem; because the report uncovered that only “43% understand customer journeys and adapt their channel mix accordingly”. Focussing attention on the planning, design and content might make for clever and creative materials but with the marketer’s opportunity to influence reduced to only a third of what it was, not implicitly understanding the new consumer journey and taking a single customer view risks our campaigns being misguided and our marketing efforts wasted.
The commercial marketers that Saj Arshad was referring to will recognise this. They’ll understand that aligning marketing with the consumer decision journey is the only way to have any influence over it and that colouring-in skills, however good they are, don’t win customers’ hearts and minds!