The marketer and successful digital transformation

The role of the modern marketer is evolving rapidly, with some even predicting that CMOs will spend even more on technology than CIOs by 2017. So what can marketers do to step up and bring about the internal organizational changes needed to better advance the marketing agenda?

At Microsoft’s “Future of Work” conference held last month at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, a trio of senior marketers and a chief digital officer sat down with CMO Innovation as part of the marketing track on a panel discussion.

Among other topics, the panelists discussed the roles of the modern marketer and the need for organizational change as part of the marketing track. We highlight some key pointers from these two façades of the discussion.

Role of the marketer

“You see yourself as a tailor. You need to thread a lot of disparate pieces; you have to find the angle to thread it, to make it strong,” said Tang Mei Sin, the director of marketing and branding at the Singapore Institute of Management, as she spoke on the multifaceted role of the modern marketer.

“You need to be an artist, you need to be creative, you need to be visual, you need to bring your message across in that simple and effective way,” said the veteran marketer. “You need to be a matchmaker. It’s not just about doing a great digital campaign, but you must be able to match your internal folks with the customers out there.”

While technology and data should certainly be at the heart of modern marketing initiatives, its more than that, hearing from Neil Hudspeth, the chief digital officer of the Leo Burnett Group in the Asia Pacific during his presentation just before the panel discussion.

“[The] triad of content, conversation and commerce… form the heart of every brand engagement and brand communication. They are all interdependent,” he told the attendees. “How do you use phase content to drive conversation. How do you use conversation to drive into conversation or into commerce itself?”

Organizational change required

If there is one message that the panelists agreed on, it would be the somber message here is how organizational change is not optional. This means that marketers cannot do it alone if they want to bring true marketing successful to their organizations.

“If your organization is not wired correctly, you may not be poised to actually make the change,” quipped Tang.

“Yes. It’s absolutely critical that whoever is in the marketing organization, or in the operations of any businesses itself, whether in management or HR or IT, they all have to be interconnected and they have certain disciplines that is going to impact the customer,” agreed Hudspeth.

“It requires that organizations to change from top down. What types of system you need to put in place so that you can optimize that point of integration… so that it is more relevant and engaging to your consumers?”

Ultimately, Todd Kurie, vice president of marketing at RedMart offered perhaps the most controversial – and perhaps even workable – suggestion.

“Every six months, [our staff] have to spend a day at a deployment center, they have to spend a day in customer support, and they have to spend a day on the delivery route as well,” said Kurie. “We do it to everybody. Everybody has to do it every six months, because that’s the only way to understand your customers.”

“It’s amazing how much an organization can learn when you get in touch with your customers like that,” he added.

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