This past year, the American Marketing Association recently introduced its first-ever intellectual agenda, identifying what academics and practitioners believe are the seven biggest challenges facing marketers today. Rapid technological advances and the resulting changes in business processes have impacted how and when we communicate with customers, tell our stories, execute our campaigns and innovate for future growth. At AMA Baltimore, we’ll be delving into these topics throughout the year, focusing on thoughts to consider when meeting these challenges head-on, and what companies have succeeded. Think about how you and your company have faced these challenges and what you have learned that you can share with others. We want to hear from you!
- Effectively targeting high value sources of growth: Whether you are in the product or service industry, you are always challenged to identify which market segments will provide the highest ROI. You may discover that the segment with the largest growth potential may, in reality, be difficult or expensive to reach. How can you, as a marketer, determine which segments to target effectively and profitably?
- The role of marketing in the firm and the C-suite: Some companies are doing away with the CMO role while others are expanding the scope of the marketing function. In some cases, a Chief Brand Officer has replaced the traditional CMO. What is the ideal role and scope for marketing within a business and does that vary with company size or industry? What is the most effective way for marketers to have a ‘seat at the table’ and ensure the marketing voice is part of the conversation on strategy and growth?
- The digital transformation of the modern corporation: When marketers think “digital,” we think of social media, marketing technology, video marketing, marketing automation, and data insights and analytics. At the C-suite level, leaders are concerned with how their company can adapt and harness new technologies to transform their products and services in order to stay competitive in a changing world. With those demands come changes in workflows, internal processes and how we communicate with customers. How can marketers use these changes to improve performance and customer interaction and relationships? How can marketers use interactions between customers in the wider digital world to their company’s advantage?
- Generating and using insight to shape marketing practice: We have the tools to generate massive amounts of data and track all campaigns, content performance and customer touchpoints. But what does this really tell us about our customers? We can map their journey, but how can we capture what is unique about each journey, i.e customer pain points, and how can we use this knowledge to develop more effective marketing approaches? Can we determine insights about our channel partners, suppliers and competitors, too, and how do we use this information to build our marketing strategy, along with other business processes, to drive revenue growth?
- Dealing with an omni-channel world: Social media, mobile media and the Internet of Things have created a world where customers and businesses are communicating 24/7. Some of the channels are outside the company’s owned media, i.e. Yelp. How can companies leverage each of these channels to their benefit? What does an omni-channel strategy look like in 2017 and beyond? How can companies train their front-line employees to interact with customers in today’s business climate? How do the demands of an omni-channel world influence our selection of channel partners?
- Competing in dynamic, global markets: Technologies that allow businesses to connect with and serve customers all over the world provide boundless growth opportunity. But with that opportunity comes the challenge of serving fast-growing and unpredictable emerging markets. Mobile apps and location-based marketing provide data to track customer behavior and identify new market segments, but how can companies transform their systems and processes to meet the needs of customers in unfamiliar places? How can companies predict purchasing trends and future competitors?
- Balancing incremental and radical innovation: Innovation is a business requirement. We know that companies and industries that fail to change with the times will fade into obscurity. But with technology and globalization constantly changing customer preferences and business processes, how can marketers respond so that their company can compete effectively? How can we balance the need to be ready for the future while meeting the needs of our customers in the present? What metrics do we use to evaluate innovation? What can we learn from companies (and individuals) who have rebranded themselves to compete amid changing times and customer expectations?
How have you and your company responded to these challenges? Are there other challenges we should be considering? Join the conversation and let us know.