The challenges for marketing professionals
I have used this blog to reflect and question the interesting challenges facing marketing professionals in this information age where advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) are impacting the composition and dynamics between an organisation and its consumers (both existing and prospective), and the ever-changing skills and competencies needed by professionals working across a growing number of communication mediums.
What is IMC?
The ‘integrative advertising’ clip below shows an entertaining and visual representation of the changes in the communication environment over recent decades and highlights the challenges for marketing professionals.
Source: YouTube BBR Channel
What IMC does
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is the encapsulation and coordination of a range of professional discipline areas used in varying combination to promote organisations and their products and services (and maintain relationships) (Iacobucci, 2015). As depicted in Figure 1, IMC covers those activities that stimulate demand which in the broader marketing management framework form part of the communications mix.
Figure 1 – IMC Communication Channels
Challenges for marketing professionals
In combination with, and in addition to the more traditional forms of marketing, the rapidity and dissemination of dialogue through new channels increases the burden on professionals to utilise and assess a greater volume of communication mediums. In contemporary environments, for particular communication channels at least, there is greater speed in the delivery and dissemination of key brand and product messages. Use of online and social media strategies does not guarantee symmetry or quality in communication. The desired symmetry may be challenged if IMC choices are not directed to the right stakeholder groups in an optimal way, but this symmetry can also be challenged when segments elect their own use of channels to communicate about you and to you (and accessible to others without filters).
This leads to increased pressure on marketing professionals who are already contending with internal challenges relating to legitimacy (and a seat at the table) and the value-add they can bring to strategy-led discussions and planning, as well as to ensure an adequate budget to support coordinated strategy-led marketing plans. And they must determine which channels to focus on themselves when distinguishing noise from signal.
Figure 2 gives an example of the range of marketing initiatives for clients being implemented by professional services firms (Montgomery, 2015).
Figure 2 – 2015 Planned Marketing Initiatives by Professional Services firms
Source: Montgomery (2015)
In Figure 3, Kolowich (2015) shows the top challenges faced by marketing professionals.
Kolowich’s (2015) top priorities are summarised as briefly:
* Return on investment (ROI) is dependent on showing linkages between marketing activities and sales results
* Securing an adequate budget depends on proving ROI
* Managing a website which is considered an asset that works around the clock
* Identifying the right technologies needed to support business priorities
* Training the marketing team – the proliferation of communication mediums illustrates the necessity for awareness, understanding and competency across all media channels
* Targeting and marketing to segments utilising a range of communication channels
* Recruitment particularly for inbound campaign development
* The value in identifying an executive champion within the organisation to promote and reinforce the value marketing can provide.
The Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) (2014) recognises the increasing pressure to show return on investment for money spent and in the case of digital campaigns the issue of ‘metrics for metrics’ sake’. AMI recognise the complexity from the ‘medley’ of platforms used, which in themselves impact the process of tracking a lead from inception through to conversion. The online spend will soon outstrip offline activities with digital reporting to become increasingly more important (AMI, 2014). Currently, the global advertising market is worth $600 billion but digital advertising accounts for 25% of the overall market and Google’s component of that market is 31% and Facebook’s share is 7% (Glance, 2014).
For SAS’ Wilson Raj (2013), major challenges include: combining a campaign and its execution with operational and planning; recognising the importance of small data over big data in providing insights into consumer relationships; and moving to adopting a more predictive capacity to forecast future trends and priorities over the more traditional (and retrospective) reporting. Raj (2013) in the clip below remind us as does Waller (2013) of the importance of being customer-centric and in distilling a message to current and prospective consumers in the right manner, at the right time and via the right channel.
Anderson, C.H. and Vincze, J.W. 2004. Strategic Marketing Management. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, New York, USA.
The Australian Marketing Institute. 2014. “Delivering What Senior Management Want”. The AMI Blog. 16 April. Accessed 4 May 2016. Weblink: https://australianmarketinginstituteblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/delivering-what-senior-management-want/
Casmir, J. 2010. The Gruen Transfer. ABC Books. HarperCollinsPublishers Australia Pty Limited. New South Wales, Australia. Zapruder’s Other Films Pty Ltd approved the use of program extracts from The Gruen Transfer television series in association with the ABC.
Csikosova, A., Antosova, M. and Culkova, K. 2014. Strategy in Direct and Interactive Marketing and Integrated Marketing Communications. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 116, pp. 1165-1619.
Glance, D. 2014. “How true is the story that Facebook is the future of advertising?” The Conversation. 29 July. Accessed 30 April through Deakin MPK732 unit website. Weblink: http://theconversation.com/how-true-is-the-story-that-facebook-is-the-future-of-advertising-29809
Iacobucci, D. 2015. Marketing Management. First Edition. Cengage Learning, Stamford, USA.
Kotler, P., Burton, S., Deans, K., Brown, L. and Armstrong, G. 2013. Marketing. Ninth Edition. Pearson Australia. New South Wales, Australia.
Kolowich, L. 2015. “8 of the Top Challenges Marketers Face (and their Solutions)”. Hubspot.com website. 3 November. Accessed 4 May 2016. Weblink: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33820/5-Major-Challenges-Marketers-Face-And-How-to-Solve-Them.aspx#sm.001exps9h3gcdvm10cm1w2zwyym2o
Montgomery, S. 2015. “The Biggest Marketing and Business Challenges of Today’s Professional Services Firms”. MarketingProfs.com. 9 June. Website. Accessed 4 May 2016. Weblink: http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2015/27819/the-biggest-marketing-and-business-challenges-of-todays-professional-services-firms
Waller, D. 2013. “Get ready to ditch the advertising budget? Not quite”. The Conversation. 28 October. Accessed 30 April through Deakin MPK732 unit website. Weblink: http://theconversation.com/get-ready-to-ditch-the-advertising-budget-not-quite-19472