At the beginning of every year, there are hundreds (thousands?) of blog posts sharing their top marketing priorities for the coming twelve months. There are also many similar ones for the priorities of creative content, digital marketing, strategy, economy or whatever else the blog covers.
When I was researching for this post, I was surprised to find, perhaps naively, that most articles about marketing priorities referred to digital marketing. While I agree that online is important, it is only one piece of the marketing puzzle for most brands.
CMO magazine online interviewed a number of analysts and executives about 2017 marketing priorities. The result was five main areas as shown in the chart on the right.
Once again customer experience is mentioned together with the importance of achieving a single view of the customer. Thank goodness that marketers are finally waking up to the fact that:
“There may be customers without brands, but there are no brands without customers.”
Here at C3Centricity, we have been measuring marketing priorities with our blog followers for several years. (Thanks if you completed this year’s survey by the way; the WINNERS of the five prizes are listed at the bottom of this post)
So here are this year’s top marketing needs of C3Centricity readers. Why not compare them with your own?
Topics Marketers Want to Learn More About in 2017
#1. Developing more actionable insights
#2. Understanding my category landscape and customers better
#3. How to be more customer centric
#4. Increasing my impact on the business
#5. Innovation and business growth
It is immediately clear that things have changed dramatically. This shouldn’t surprise us, as the world is moving ever faster and we all need to keep up. This has created a lot of tension for marketers, which is now showing up in their list of marketingchallenges for this year. But more about that in a future post.
What I also find interesting about this year’s list, is that many topics such as storytelling, business strategy development and segmentation are no longer in the top five. Hopefully, this means that progress has been made in these areas over 2016.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 2017 marketing priorities.
Insight development has moved from fourth position last year, to first place this year. It seems that even though we have been talking about it for decades, most marketers are still struggling to find insights in their information. This is such a pity with so much data and information readily available these days.
For this reason, I decided to record a short video class on the basics of insight development. It will be launched soon, so if you want to be invited to participate then please sign up HERE.
Insight development takes time and far more information than just a piece of market research. The major CPG companies spend weeks if not months with a team of experts from different specialities including psychology. I’m not saying you have to team up with psychologists but you do need to work as a group for insight development. Don’t leave it to just marketers and marketer researchers to work out.
You can read more on the topic of insight development in “Marketing solutions to more actionable insights” and “How the best marketers are getting deeper insights” that include all the basics.
If you would like to learn more about insight development and get the tools and templates I share with my private clients, then sign up for the forthcoming Insight Development Video Class. Just click the link below.
Understanding the Category and its Users
These are the foundations of marketing, so it may come as a surprise to you to see them in the top five priorities for this year. Not to me. Our customers are changing dramatically, as we ourselves are too. This means that it is vital to keep our fingers on the pulse of our markets.
Regularly update your brand personas and follow the changes in your customers as closely as you can.
Also, don’t forget that your competitors may also be changing and new ones are emerging as a result of these trends:
● From ownership to sharing/rental; this is rapidly becoming the norm and industries that have witnessed the most impact to date include cars, hotels and tooling.
● From service to data; telecoms now sell more data than phones, personalisation is coming to beds, clothing and nutrition.
● From curing illness to prevention and wellness; this actually overlaps with the previous change. People are taking their wellbeing into their own hands with the purchase of wearable scanners, monitors and trackers for monitoring the heart, glucose levels and even employee time management! In fact, the wearables market is expected to double to reach over 4 billion in 2017. (Source)
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Therefore it is vital to understand what business you are in today and how your industry is likely to change in the future. Whether changes will happen because of consumer preferences or technical innovation, the time to prepare is now. Whether change happens because of consumer preference or innovation, the time to prepare is now!Click To Tweet
How to be More Customer Centric
Almost everyone understands the importance of customer centricity today and most companies have it as an objective. However, there is a huge gap between those who are talking about it and those who are walking the talk. Are you one of them? If you are, apparently you’re not alone, based on the vote for top marketing priorities for 2017!
Why not decide now that this will be the year you really put your customers at the heart of everything you do? Every time you take a decision ask yourself this killer question: “What would our customers think of the decision we’ve just taken?” What would our customers think of the decision we’ve just taken? Click To Tweet
If you need to convince management or your boss about the importance of customer centricity, here are a few statistics to persuade anyone:
● Customer centric organisations are 60% more profitable. (Source)
● The average revenue growth of Customer Experience Leaders is 14% points higher than that of the laggards. (Source)
● 64% of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand. (Source)
Customer centricity needs to be a company-wide objective, led by the leadership team, in order to succeed. These numbers will make any manager rethink his objectives for the year! Customer centricity needs to be a company-wide objective, led by the leadership team, in order to… Click To Tweet
Increasing my Impact on the Business
I love this priority because I believe we all dream of having more impact in our organisations. In particular, marketing and market research professionals feel the most pressure to provide substantiated ROI, which is still challenging, even in this age of Big Data.
The average tenure of a CMO in leading U.S. CPG companies has dropped from 48 months to just 44 months. (Source)
In comparison, market researchers often complain that they have too few opportunities to get promoted. As a result, businesses often have relatively inexperienced professionals in the department as more senior personnel move into marketing or sales. The majority of market research departments also still report into the CMO, at best, despite having a larger role to play in this information-rich age.
Millward Brown Vermeer’s Insight2020 research clearly demonstrated that overperforming organisations had insights and analytics managers leading the business in customer centricity. (Source) This is a huge opportunity for the market research and insights professionals to finally get the business impact they crave. What are you waiting for? There is a huge opportunity for MR&I professionals to get the business impact they crave. Click To Tweet
Innovation and Business Growth
Despite the continued abysmal success rates of new product launches in many industries, companies continue to regularly launch them. They hope that their next initiative will be the one. Companies continue to launch new products in the hope that this will be the one. Less than 10% succeed! Click To Tweet
According to HBR “Less than 3% of new consumer packaged goods exceed first-year sales of $50 million—considered the benchmark of a highly successful launch.” There must be a better way, no?
I suppose that is why innovation and business growth remain top marketing priorities. After all, they are intimately connected. Governments across the globe understand this and encourage it through support, training and incentives.
Business growth and the success of innovation rely heavily on the previous priorities of category and user understanding and insight development. You are unlikely to succeed with new product development if you don’t have these basics primed. Customer centricity will bring both of these automatically, which is why I am such a believer in bringing the customer to the heart of every business.
I want to finish this review with a comment on the recent Autopilot report. It stated that US marketers’ priorities for 2017 are to grow brand awareness (23%), convert more leads to sales (20.4%), and to generate more leads (18.4%). These top three surprised me by their consistency. I think these same three topics have been a priority since I first started in marketing many decades ago!
But, how they plan to accomplish these priorities are new. According to this same report, high-performing marketers are investing in customer events and marketing, referral and satisfaction programs, and analytics and attribution, rather than in online ads.
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This for me is a positive sign that customer centricity is now more important than ‘mere’ advertising. In other words, pull rather than push marketing. This is something which I and many other global marketers have been shouting about for years. Looks like our message is finally being heard by the masses!