Written by Twink Field, White Marble Marketing's CEO and Founder.
Working remotely, and Covid-19 more specifically, has perhaps made us all a bit more mindful, more aware of our environment and behaviour. So it is perhaps not surprising that I find myself in reflective mood as another White Marble anniversary passes by. Six years ago today I went from being in-house marketer to business owner, setting out on my own with the offer to embed flexible strategic marketing resource for clients, adding bandwidth as and when needed.
Little could I have anticipated the journey, nor how much I would learn. It has been challenging, exhilarating, demanding and rewarding. Normally all in the space of one day! What I hadn’t expected was to fall in love with my craft even more. I feel like marketing, its champions, image and role in our industry, have changed significantly over the past six years. It’s a stark, exciting reality.
These are five drivers that I think are behind this change:
- Investment houses have invested in the tech. The transformation that businesses have gone through onboarding better technology has been THE game changer. Any companies dragging their feet have been at a significant disadvantage, not least due to the lack of data, insight, efficiency and understanding of performance. It has changed conversations, and in the case of martech, given marketers parity with other parts of the business to show numbers, analysis and evidence of a strategy working (or not, which is also useful).
- We are more product savvy and commercially aware. The consolidation within the industry, the pressure on margins, the growth of passives and fierce competition for market share have led to a much more acute knowledge amongst marketers as to positioning. It strikes me that there is much more confidence, awareness and fluency across marketing departments in talking about market dynamics, product propositions, the value chain, fee structures and company margins. It perhaps points to a much more healthy relationship with our sales colleagues, talking the same language.
- We are more accountable in the eyes of the regulator. How the business presents itself to the market and its customers, as well as the authenticity of the company’s purpose, are not just the responsibility of marketers - we are now liable for them. Marketing needs to be owned by leaders who want that level of visibility and accountability.
- We are closer to the client. Quite aside from running events and roadshows, our improved digital infrastructure and full marketing mix gives us unique insight into the client journey. Through the analysis and understanding of the data, we also have a proven ability to nurture and deliver sales leads. Our commercial value to our businesses is therefore even more pronounced and helpfully prevents us from being considered just a cost centre. Marketing is increasingly responsible for the customer experience. Through large data sets, we are able to offer back to the business invaluable insight around client engagement, product appetite, peer group positioning and marketing effectiveness.
- We are departments of career professionals. The days of putting any waifs and strays across a business into marketing departments are over. Instead, I witness focused, passionate marketers who have, or are building, qualifications in their discipline. There’s a hunger for knowledge, growth and specialism. I am excited by the level of bright, capable talent taking purposeful steps to build their careers.
The combined effect of all these factors means a more confident, credible, data-led marketing function that is inherently more strategic and influential within their business.
I passionately believe that the companies which really embrace this more powerful marketing presence will be the greater for it. If I could have one anniversary wish, it would be to see greater evidence of this change through having more CMOs on company boards. That small change will be the icing on the cake that will show just how far we have come.