Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Despite dramatic changes in the discipline of marketing, today’s marketers are failing at their jobs, claims a new Forrester report.

The report, titled “The New Model for Modern Marketing”, recommends that chief marketing officers (CMOs) should be the ones to drive a different business model, one with a clear focus on introducing a new mindset and processes, and focusing on a different kind of talent and insights.

Customer obsession, says the report, should form the basis of this new model and, as such, marketers need to look at taking on responsibilities such as customer understanding, brand strategy and brand experience.

The big take-out:

A new Forrester report challenges traditional marketing methods, arguing that they do not place sufficient focus on the consumer. A better model requires a customer-obsessed approach, driven by a mindset that puts the customer’s needs at the heart of all brand activity. 

Traditional marketing methods focus largely on the sale of the product or service and on sales success. Brand autocracy is crucial to this model – while the report does not argue the inherent value of the brand, it does point out that in the age of the consumer, brands should accommodate customer values) – as are many day-to-day details. As such, the report maintains that there is actually too little customer focus in current marketing models.

The report defines marketing’s purpose as “solving customer’s needs through immersive brand experiences.” It points out that there are a myriad variables that go into the creation of a brand experience: these include product, packaging, customer satisfaction and many more. As such, CMOs need to take a step back from the “business as usual” approach to ensure that whatever they are doing focuses on the customer.

The first step in this process is to understand those customers: who they are and what they value and find relevant. Marketing should then be ensuring that these needs are met in all areas of the brand – from product to service and every step in between.

Moreover, brand strategies should mirror the customer’s needs and ensure that they are provided with an engaging and authentic experience of the brand. And, importantly, these brand experiences, across every platform, should reflect the values and promise of the brand.

As such, the report advocates a new set of responsibilities for marketers. The first is a change in mindset, defined by three new rules: humanity (treat your customers as you would your friends); helpfulness (solve customer problems); and handiness (be flexible to accommodate changing market conditions).

Practices should also change and should all be geared towards customer obsession. The report further suggests that marketing should promote what it is doing to the rest of the company and how it influences the business’s bottom line, while at the same time institutionalising these changes to all staff – essentially “provoking” them to take on new roles and mindsets.

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