Marketers are the customer champions, business innovators and growth drivers

Peter Fisk has over 30 years of marketing experience, from his first job as a brand manager in the airline industry, through many roles in developing marketing strategies for the likes of Asahi and Coca Cola, P&G and Unilever, Barclays and Santander. In 2002 he became the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, with over 60,000 global members, member of the World Marketing Council, a fellow of the Marketing Society, and judge of the annual Marketing Excellence Awards. His bestselling book “Marketing Genius” has been translated into 35 languages, and explores “the left and right brain of marketing thinking, how to be the Einstein and Picasso of brands, combining intelligence and imagination”.

Markets have fundamentally changed

A new generation of businesses (new technologies, new business models, new leadership) is emerging to address a new generation of customers (new audiences, new geographies, new aspirations). Marketing exists to connect businesses and customers, in relevant and profitable ways.

A new approach to marketing is therefore required. Some of the new approaches, and maybe the language, will be familiar. But not all, and not joined up as a fundamental approach to driving business performance. Together, some call it Marketing 4.0 or Exponential Marketing, but whichever labels you apply, it involves a seismic shift in philosophy and practice.

It fundamentally challenges every marketer who still turns first to their strategic plan. And then to their advertising agency, or even their web developer. It is fundamentally digital in mindset, but human as well as technological. It demands analytical thinking, content and networks, but also vision and creativity. It requires new types of leaders, and a new mindset for every marketer. It is built around 7 transformations.

These are the new rules of marketing:

  • Growth Hacking … Forget strategic planning that is slow, structured and stable – instead think of strategy like a portfolio of fast and relentless experiments, seizing and shaping the best opportunities for growth. It still needs direction and choices – a vision still matters, making sense of change, having a clarity purpose, and a defined context in which to hack. Strategy becomes agile and creative, outside in, big ideas and small experiments, driven by changing markets and customer aspirations, rather than fixed by your own capabilities and products.
  • Customer Analytics … Forget mass-market segmentation, whether geographic, demographic or anything else. People are individual, and don’t want standardised solutions. The power of big data, connecting and interpreting, automating and exploiting – together with more qualitative and creative insights through customer immersion and “design thinking” – is used to focus, engage, customise, deliver, support, enable the right customers over time. Linking to the hack culture, is the ability to keep learning, about people, about yourself, and what works.
  • Platform Innovation … Forget innovation around a product, or even a service. Think strategically about how you can shape the market, in particular the platform that engages buyers and sellers, suppliers and distributors. Business model innovation, channel innovation, price innovation, then follow. Innovation is about shaping the market and all its dynamics to your advantage, whilst also personalised for each individual through micro-innovation – collaborative and customised solutions and experiences.
  • Brand Storytelling … Forget brands built around who you are – brand logos, slogans and ownership. People engage with brands about them, brands that reflect their aspirations, and brands that connect them with other people who share their values and aspirations. Brand stories are living fables, encouraged by the company, but interpreted and spread by people to people. Content must be realtime and relevant, and keep moving forwards. Encouraged but not controlled. Inspiring, human and memorable.
  • Social Influencers … Forget advertising, whether a TV campaign with 30 second slots, or even personalised mailings – people are not listening, and they don’t trust you. Instead they trust people like them, friends and peers. Word of mouth in a digital world, PR and celebrity endorsement is replaced by Instagramers or Youtubers who they trust. Brand stories, advocates, and community building help to guide and shape this influence.
  • Enabling Experiences … Forget customer experiences as a semi-automated series of incentivised touchpoints built around the “sale”, think instead from a customer’s perspective. Think about the experience they have – the outcomes, not the inputs, what they do not what you do. Which is usually more about how they use, apply and exploit the products and services which they buy, rather than the purchase itself. Use their language, think about their experience, and how they use, store, apply and even dispose of products and services. Enable them to achieve more.
  • Exponential Growth … Forget an obsession with sales volumes, even revenues, which are the short-term measure of sales people. Marketers should be focused on growing the business – profitably and sustainably – creating a better business future, and a long-term platform and guide for customers. Think profitably. Think growth. Think economic value creation. Exponential growth is now the expectation of investor, achieved by harnessing the power of branded networks, social influence and agile business models. Fast, exciting and rewarding.

These new rules of marketing, and specifically the 7 transformations, are the cornerstones of my next book and also of a new range of inspiring keynotes and practical workshops. We explore each mantra in detail, with detailed case studies together with the tools and partners for action.

Whilst of course, every market and every business is different, the 7 mantras are a provocative challenge for change. Of course, solutions are not black and white. Every business still has a mix of structured and hacked strategy, uses a box of earned and paid media, and has a balance of push and pull. But it is a rapidly changing area, a revolution.

Marketing is the driving force of business – it moves the business forwards, shapes the future, engages the customer and aligns the organisation to deliver. It is the growth engine, the innovation catalyst and customer champion. Markets are changing at incredible speed, requiring new agility and new capability.

There has never been a more exciting time for marketing, or to be a marketer.

Peter Fisk on marketing

Peter Fisk has 30 years of marketing experience, having started his career in brands and marketing at British Airways, through to becoming CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the world’s largest professional network of marketers, and authoring the bestselling Marketing Genius, which is published in 35 languages.

He helps you to develop marketing excellence in a digital world. This starts with a growth strategy – which markets, customers, and how to succeed with them. It is then about focusing in on the best opportunities – developing insights, customer value propositions, and mapping out the customer experience. At the same time, it is about building mindset and capability, so that marketers define and become the future of your business.

Examples of recent marketing projects include:

  • BAT – rethinking brands in a world of rapidly changing motivations, to engage in responsible marketing that explores new alternatives for a healthier world.
  • Bayer – developing patient-centric brands and marketing, aligning the corporate brand promise with product or therapeutic area branding and marketing
  • Cartier – reimagining the global brand for the future, less about heritage more about possibilities, less about the product more about the consumer, to drive innovation and growth.
  • Coca Cola – creating a global DNA for marketing excellence. then supporting local teams in deploying a global framework in more locally relevant and intelligent ways.
  • Coty – rethinking marketing in the beauty industry, given the disruption of digital start-ups, to develop new market and brand strategies, new business models and go to market strategies.
  • GSK – developing a more patient-centric approach to the market, building brands around benefits not drugs, embracing new technologies and channels, to engage all stakeholders.
  • Microsoft – helping the B2B sales and marketing teams to engage business leaders, rather than just technologists, in solving bigger problems, rather than just selling products.
  • Oriflame – developing markets and propositions for global growth, built around a redefined Swedish brand, and “customer get customer” business model.
  • Red Bull – thinking beyond the can, to engage audiences more deeply through inspiring content and extreme experiences that build the brand as an attitudinal community.
  • Visa – brand sponsorship strategy for the Olympic Games, seizing on a unique moment to showcase the brand and its future potential in incredible ways.
  • Vodafone – rethinking marketing practices in a world of mobile and social consumers, tapping into the power of influencers and facilitating the development of brand communities.

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