XT … The Rise of the Marketer (by EIU)

Report by Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015


Marketers have seen their jobs transformed over the past ten years. The transformation is happening again—but faster this time. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey of 478 high-level marketing executives worldwide, more than 80% say they need to restructure marketing to better support the business. And 29% believe the need for change is urgent.

Marketers believe that change will occur in six areas:

  • Marketing will increasingly be seen less as a cost and more as a source of revenue. The proportion of companies where marketing is viewed as a cost centre will dwindle and the number where it is seen as a driver of revenue will grow. In three to ve years, survey respondents say, approximately four of ve companies will classify the marketing function as a revenue driver. (Whether marketing has a formal P&L is another matter.)
  • Marketing will take the lead in the customer experience. The customer experience is increasingly seen as a key to competitive advantage in every industry. Slightly more than one-third of marketers polled say they are responsible for managing the customer experience today. However, over the next three to ve years, 75% of marketers say they will be responsible for the end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetime
  • Engagement is becoming paramount. A marketer’s greatest achievement is an engaged customer. And because an engaged customer keeps coming back, engagement is de ned most often in terms of sales and repeat sales. More than six out of ten (63%) marketers polled say that engagement is manifested in customer renewals, retention and repeat purchases. Adding in the 15% who see engagement in terms of impact on revenue, a full 78% of marketers see it as occurring in the middle or later stages of the classic funnel.1 A minority (22%) view engagement in terms of love for a brand—still important, but part of marketing’s legacy skill set.
  • The new marketer combines operational and data skills with a grasp of the big picture (and possibly working within a different organisational structure as well). Marketers are aggressively seeking new skills—especially those who believe that change is urgent. Nearly four of ten marketers (39%) want new blood in the two areas of digital engagement and marketing operations and technology. A close third, and not signi cantly different, is skills in the area of strategy and planning (38%). Meanwhile, marketers are tinkering with organisational structures to foster agility, increase cross-functional co-operation and help the organisation to scale.
  • Digital and data dominate investment. Technology investment plans by marketers illustrate both the dominance and fragmentation of digital channels. Three of the four most widely cited investments are aimed at reaching customers through different channels: via social networks, on mobile devices and on the old standby of e-mail. The fourth, analytics, is needed to knit together data from multiple channels into a coherent and actionable portrait of the consumer.
  • Two trends to watch: real-time personalised mobile and the Internet of Things. Just over half of marketers expect the Internet of Things— where ubiquitous, embedded devices with unique IP addresses constantly convey real-time data—to revolutionise marketing by 2020. Almost the same proportion cites the power of real-time personalised mobile communications as the trend with the biggest impact.

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