Marketing reimagined: From cost centre to revenue generator

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Perception is everything in marketing and a new study supplies evidence of the tainted view many employees have of their marketing department, however there are visible traces that this stance is weakening.

Forecast and advisory firm the Economist Intelligence Unit, which conducted research on behalf of Marketo, discovered that 68% of marketers believed the rest of their company viewed the marketing department as a cost centre.

Likely fuelled by misinformation, the study reports that non-marketers’ ill-educated comparison is set to fade over time. Although this will not happen for another three to five years when approximately four out of five businesses will classify the marketing function as a revenue driver.

Customer experience

Part of the transition will be attributed to more focus on customer experience, a trend that Sanjay Dholakia, CMO at Marketo, could take some time because of how a third of marketers presently hold such responsibilities.

“Three out of every four marketers say that in three to five years, they will own the end-to-end customer engagement. That ownership puts marketing right at the centre of revenue generation and setting the company strategy,” he said.

“For marketers to successfully make the leap forward – and drive a customer engagement strategy -- they must embrace the use of digital marketing software.”

The marketing technology landscape is bustling with solutions, yet only half of respondents use data to gain insights and engage customers. It is an area that 80% are aware requires work, saying they will rely on technology to engage consumers in three to five years.

Background in technology

Technology’s importance is reflected in the educational shortcomings of marketers. Where employers would once demand graphic arts and branding experience, these have been demoted in favour of marketing operations and technology as the top areas that need skills development.

There has been a similar changing of the guard in terms of technology investments too. Search marketing, once the primary form of online advertising, has been displaced by almost every other discipline.

Social media marketing is now the channel due to receive the most investment over the next three to five years, news that will be music to the ears of those companies who are the early adopters of a relaunched Atlas.

Social and the smaller business

One benefit to social marketing is its ability to attract companies at the lower end of the revenue-earning spectrum. Social manages to draw more investment from the $500 million or less revenue bracket than any other marketing opportunity.

Each of the top-ranking investments are primarily used for customer engagement, whether it is the previously mentioned social, mobile or email..

Analytics is also deserving of its place because of how it can link channels together for that single customer view. Although Gilda Stahl, editor of the Economist Intelligen Unit’s report, warns that marketers will need to adapt to take advantage of these investments.

“New tools are enabling marketers to play a bigger role in driving strategy, but to fully embrace the opportunity marketers need to constantly evolve—and arguably—reinvent themselves.”

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