The new powers of marketing

June 17, 2015 Sabine VanderLinden

Sabine VanderLinden has a wealth of experience devising  and delivering business strategies and customer-centric propositions for technology  companies. With an in-depth understanding of the key issues facing the insurance industry, she discusses her opinion and findings from the Millward Brown Vermeer research Marketing2020 and provides insight on three ways to meet the challenges of the digital age. 

Most marketing organisations are restricted by traditional and outdated methods according to research from Millward Brown Vemeer. The research, entitled Marketing2020, includes leading brands such as GE, IBM, Unilever and Visa and was delivered in collaboration with Adobe, The Association of National Advertisers, Forbes, MetrixLab, Spencer Stuart and the World Federation of Advertisers.

The results were clear 

Over the last 10 years marketing organisations have had to find ways to drastically change their approach and learn to engage with customers in new ways. Firstly to keep pace with fast-moving organisations like Apple, Amazon and Google, secondly to compete with new entrants such as Airbnb, Alibaba, Dropbox, Hubspot or Uber. These organisations have disrupted the world of marketing, introducing new techniques and ways customers interact with brands.

Strategies, methods, tools and techniques that were cutting edge just a few years ago are becoming completely obsolete. Many organisations have realised that to thrive in the new digital world, they have to be market-led first.

The modus operandi 

Today, the most successful marketing organisations are holistically integrated and connected to the business strategy and with the rest of their organisation. They focus on delivering a seamless customer experience, informed by data, inspired by brand purpose and supported by a common and shared corporate vision. They inspire customers, employees, partners and influencers and achieve a sense of pride and commitment through well-articulated brand association.

They clearly connect what is relevant globally, regionally and locally and measure results using new revenue growth parameters, KPIs and well-defined incentives.

The winning characteristics of a highly performing marketing organisation 

There are many marketing organisations out there that deliver results and success. Although the key question is, can they achieve sustainability? As highlighted previously, the criterion that makes a high performing and effective organisation has changed. Those organisations that have evolved and learnt from experience are reconfiguring and innovating what they do. This enables them to deliver superior strategies and outcomes that meet the needs of a more digital friendly user… meaning customer or employee.

There are three key patterns that these organisations exert. There are examples where such practices have been applied in a younger disruptive environment below demonstrating that anyone can do it.

Pattern ≠ 1:
Such organisations extract deep sophisticated insights from big data usage to improve growth and competitive advantage. One noticeable pattern within leading marketing organisations is their ability to access and use mass volumes of people data.

It’s not the volume of data being accessed, but the quality of the information used to deliver extremely targeted commercial insights and messages. They make use of any relevant types of data and deliver detailed analytics to improve marketing effectiveness.

As data-driven organisations, their goal is to understand what an individual customer is doing and why they are doing it, and when and where the unique interactions occur. These are now seen as baseline requirements to gain new insights on true behaviours, specific needs and key customer motivations.

Pattern ≠ 2:
Such organisations use purpose-based positioning to increase their customer engagement and to significantly improve revenue. They understand and know how to deliver against the key brand value indicators:

Functional benefits — how will it impact on the insurance purchase? (e.g. this connected device-based insurance offering will help me reduce my insurance premium)

Emotional benefits how will emotional needs be satisfied?
(e.g. this connected device-based insurance offering will ensure the safety of my loved ones),

Societal benefits how will it affect the customer socially? (e.g. this connected device-based insurance offering is built from low cost re-usable materials, which helps support charitable causes).

They engage with customers and employees with a powerful and clear brand purpose that ensures a consistent alignment across messages and touch points.

Pattern ≠ 3:
Such organisations integrate marketing into all company process to deliver a customer experience that increases and improves market share. High performing marketing organisations deliver a unique personalised experience for their customers.

They continuously enhance and update their products, services and online and offline engagement processes to create unique and beneficial relationships. Some create relationships through innovative products and services (e.g. Uber). Others focus on delivering relationships through targeted communications (e.g. Apple).

High performing and leading marketing organisations demonstrate three
distinctive attributes. They have learnt to “think”, “feel” and “do” things differently.
They think they use data, analytics and insights to identify a pattern of value and experiences to interact with customers in different ways.
They feel they focus on the moments of value experienced across customer engagements. 
They do they produce and deliver branded content that is relevant across physical and digital touch points to drive and optimise interactions.

Achieving engagement excellence

Successful organisations think laterally and the questions they exist to answer include:
• Who are our customers and what are their wants, needs and motivations?
• What are the values and goals guiding our company’s brand strategy?
• What capabilities will achieve success and excellence externally with our customers, 
partners and influencers and internally with our employees?
• What ideal structure and ways of working will support these?
• Who should be part of it?

Nominet aspires to shape the future of the Internet 

Nominet is a not-for-profit organisation that owns a high percentage of .UK domain names. This means that when an organisation buys an .UK domain name, Nominet manages the infrastructure for it, identifies internet cyber activities affecting it, and provides insights on what works well and what doesn’t. 

Nominet aspires to shape the future of the internet. And as a result, data is core to Nominet’s way of thinking and essential to its future. As a not-for-profit organisation, any financial surplus generated by Nominet is re-invested into charitable activities, trusts and R&D projects. Nominet R&D has designed a fascinating Internet of Things (IoT) solution that uses a connected device and Nominet’s UK Internet infrastructure.

The device is able to measure heightened water levels, air pollution, emerging wild fires, earth movements and other natural weather-related conditions. The first objective was to deliver a solution able to monitor rising waters levels in real time around the Thames River and alert local residents before a crucial event or disaster occurs.

The solution consists of economical, reusable and waterproof materials linked to and monitored by the Nominet infrastructure. This can reduce the risk, cost and potential 
premiums of rising water-related losses. Other uses for the solution have been identified such as proactive monitoring of remote locations with assets considered uninsurable, that could benefit from a price and therefore an insurance premium.

One key theme coming out of discussions is that the solution provides tangible and touchable environmental safety benefits and real value to those that need it. This could propel interesting discussions and drive campaigns around sustainability, ensuring that uninsurable risks can find coverage options. Today Nominet has a connected, integrated marketing culture that drives unique value in the marketplace.

Marketing is changing beyond recognition but the role of marketing is still the same. New ideas around structure, developing capability and focusing on driving business growth is vital. Digital provides various opportunities and challenges with infobesity, privacy risks and daily changes in consumer behaviour but what does it take to win? It’s about big insights, purposeful positioning and the total experience. It’s about understanding the strategy, 
orchestration and integration.

Ask yourself, how different will your marketing organisation look 5 years from now?

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