Why Marketers Should Be Proud To “Wear Their Brands On Their Shoulders”

As the world emerges from the pandemic, marketers should relish their unique dual role of communicating brand values ​​and driving growth by understanding consumer behavior.

That was the opening proposition of a recent panel discussion titled “The Future of Marketing – Silver Bullets or Double-Edged Swords?”, chaired by Marketing Week editor Russell Parsons. Panelists, Salesforce CMO Sarah Franklin and DMA General Manager Rachel Aldighieri, were asked to share their thoughts on marketing progress to get the C-suite’s attention.

For Franklin, the way to finally ensure that their colleagues are on board, so that marketing’s contribution is fully recognized, is very clear. Marketers need to help their companies stand for something and communicate it.

In very challenging times, as the world emerges from the Covid pandemic, marketing must continue to drive growth, but it must also drive values ​​and culture within organizations.

“We carry the brand on our shoulders,” she said.

“We need to drive growth and first-party data strategies when the economy is completely changed and investments are challenged. Our most critical role in our businesses is not just to drive growth, but to drive culture, as well as efficiency. When our people are sad and anxious, we need to calm them down and tell them ‘it’s okay.’ And that includes our CEOs. We need to say ‘we get it’. We need to be there to our businesses and our employees.

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But the marketer’s role obviously goes beyond an internal need to reassure the C-suite and the entire organization. Franklin suggested that marketing needs to position itself as both the champion of brand values ​​and also the communication channel through which they are presented to customers.

“[Every marketer] wants to stand up for something, leave a legacy for our children,” she said.

“That’s why I believe, more than ever, that our roles are the most important in today’s society, because it is we who will have a message, we will have an impact. We will be this vehicle to communicate on the performance of our companies.

Talk business, not vanity

To reach the point of being both the voice of the customer and the protector of brand values, marketing must gain buy-in from the highest levels of organizations. However, a major stumbling block could be the alarming finding that, according to a DMA study, there was a 23% decline in marketing effectiveness.

Aldighieri told panel attendees that the decline was noted among the past decade of DMA Award winners, who represent the “crème de la crème” of attendees. While there could be multiple factors at play, she said it should be kept in mind that the decline in efficiency has been accompanied by an increase in the measurement of campaign attributes that matter very little in business terms. .

“It could be the Covid effect – the short term that has come into play over the last two years – and that could change in the next few years,” Aldighieri said.

“But what’s really interesting is that almost 50% of the metrics [in award-winning entries] were measures of vanity. We rely too much on short-term language that doesn’t interest the CEO. They are not really concerned with website visits and likes. They want to know more about sales, they want to know more about engagement, they want to know more about loyalty. We just don’t see enough of these metrics, and that’s a concern for the industry.

Our most critical role in our businesses is not just to drive growth, but to drive culture.

Sarah Franklin, Salesforce

If marketing claims success from metrics that the rest of the business does not hold in high regard, then the question arises, what needs to be done to make the role more taken seriously? For Aldighieri, the answer is to adopt universal professional standards.

“We found there are over 170 marketing metrics, which is crazy,” Aldighieri added. It only gets more complex, as 90% of marketers in Salesforce’s “Marketing Intelligence Report” agree that recent data privacy changes have fundamentally changed the way they measure marketing performance.

“We need to create a clear and credible measurement framework, which everyone uses to bring some uniformity. So we’re looking to do that now, to create a framework that industry can adopt that builds credibility by integrating those trade measures into everything we do.

Better understand customers

This was welcomed by Franklin, who thinks the big problem with digital marketing is that it offers so many options for data and metrics that the unnecessary and the mundane are often analyzed. Just because something can be measured, it’s easy to think it should be, but that takes marketers down a dangerous path, she warned.

So instead of worrying about how the phasing out of cookies will restrict the data they can collect, brands should take the opportunity to rely on first-party data and be more mindful. to the wants and needs of their customers. As data laws are tightened around the world, Franklin had a clear message for participants in the discussion.

“Come on, I’m excited, because it’s not even just about intimacy,” she said.

“Our behavior has changed, our expectations have changed, we don’t tolerate shit. Our attention is short, so I say bring it. As a marketer, I want to create great marketing, I want to create relevant messages. Let’s get rid of a lot of vanity metrics, let’s get back to the basics of amazing marketing.

Answering this call to arms is only the beginning of the fight – the next brands will face the “war for talent”, especially the competition for data and analytics skills. The debate ended when the panel agreed that marketing departments should refrain from simply poaching staff from each other. Instead, they should hone their skills and equip staff with new capabilities.

By doing so, marketers can also feel good about what they’re doing, Parsons concluded. More than ever, marketing is now the one department of a business that is critical both to driving growth and better serving customers, as well as driving positive societal change.

Download Salesforce’s “Marketing Intelligence Report” to learn more.

About Marilyn Perkins

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