Sustainable marketing transformation


The business landscape is changing with increasing pace: digitalisation, globalisation and growing data availability challenge most traditional marketing models. Consequently, 8 out of 10 CMOs acknowledge the need for profound transformation of marketing models and concepts. Many marketing units in larger corporations have already under- gone significant changes in recent years. Unfortunately, these changes have very often been executed in an unorche-strated and organic manner, leading to organisational “mushrooming”, i.e. spreading resources too thin, creating more “silo” behaviour and establishing non-scalable organisations.

However, a number of leading companies have chosen a better approach to sustainable marketing transformation. First, they establish a baseline to understand the changing strategic and customer context, and agree on the corporate role of marketing with the rest of the C-suite. Subsequently, they conduct a holistic capability assessment, identifyingup to 10 marketing disciplines, which must ultimately all be mastered to deliver the expected value. Second, they clearly prioritise which fundamental and marketing activation capabilities to develop in which sequence, and typically re-organise and reallocate resources/investments accordingly. Finally, leading marketers apply systematic change management tools to assure that the needed behavioural changes “stick”, and all of them focus on increasing agility and strengthening marketing innovation to continuously be able to adapt to the changing business demands.

In this white paper, we will introduce experiences from leading companies and our perspective on how to manage a successful and sustainable marketing transformation.

New trends – old news

We are not the first ones to point out that global megatrends like globalisation and digitalisation present new opportunities and challenges for CEOs and CMOs. Quite the contrary: perspectives on this topic are numerous and oftentimes repetitive. However, to assure an elementary understanding of the key root causes for the transformation of marketing, we will briefly highlight the changes that we find most important below.

New customer Expectations
– New value propositions

With the growing number of options to choose from, customers increasingly build preference towards companies that deliver truly unique and relevant value propositions. It is becoming more and more evident that those who are capable of delivering this actually outperform others in the long term1. Corporations like the LEGO Group, IKEA, Google, L’Oréal, Microsoft, Amazon, Caterpillar, BMW and Apple all deliver high net-promoter scores (NPS)2 and above-average financial performance and stability. Additionally, customers expect ever more customised offerings and experiences, often pioneered by “pure” digital players like the online retailer Amazon – and they are increasingly used to data-shaped offerings and experiences that fit their needs almost instantly, or perhaps even predict them based on recommendations from other customers. What is more, they have come to expect the same treatment everywhere.

New competition
– New innovation pace

Power brands and digital pure players disrupt entire industries with simplified delivery models and new price and quality standards. Well known are the stories of Uber, Netflix, Airbnb and TripAdvisor – just to mention a few. These disruptive players deliver largely the same core propositions as traditional providers, namely transport, TV series, accommodation, travel advice and so on, and perhaps even at the same price. However, they do so with a clear-cut acknowledgement that when customers face an abundancy of choices, how a product or service is delivered, rather than what is delivered, becomes an increasingly important source of competitive advantage – supplemented by very disciplined and effective execution of their innovative ideas5. For the incumbents, it is a matter of increasing the innovation clock speed and execution power significantly to keep up the pace.

New media landscape
– New customer engagement

New studies reveal that the millennia generation spends roughly 80% of their media consumption time on digital and – increasingly – social media3. This change is quite simply tectonic and deserves repeated mentioning. A notable new media example is WeChat, which now has 697 million users4 and is one of the most important e-commerce and social platforms in China. It came into existence only five years ago. Consequently, in order to reach, recruit and retain customers, marketers must manage a growing and continuously changing portfolio of owned, earned and paid digital media channels, which must be accessible from both mobile and desktop devices. Leading companies like Disney, Coca Cola, L’Oréal and Microsoft have customised their presence on 15+ digital media platforms, and deployed “mobile first” strategies years ago. Furthermore, most customers expect digital experiences to be seamlessly integrated with physical touchpoints, and have little patience with companies that are not able to support their “omnichannel” journeys. Finally, the new media landscape enables new ways of engaging with customers, which demands a change in the traditional marketing formula: from “re-active communication” to “always-on” and from “campaigning” to “real-time publishing”.

New customer expectations, the rapidly changing media landscape and new competition are all trends that reinforce each other and put increasing pressure on most marketers to change existing marketing formulas and operating models to continue to deliver value. This is further fuelled by the lack of trust from many CEOs regarding marketing’s ability to deliver sustained business value in this new reality.

Did you know that 80% of the millennia generation’s media consumption time is spent on digital and social media?

Test your marketing capabilities

Is your company sufficiently up-to-date and proficient in modern marketing disciplines? Is your brand position and architecture clearly defined, unique and relevant? Do you deliver personalised customer communication and content at the right time through the right channels? Take our marketing capability self test and find out your baseline in terms of executing effective marketing in a digitalised and globalised world.