NEWS: Marketing needs to restructure to meet changing customer needs

The marketing department needs to undergo a dramatic change to exploit technology and meet changing customer needs, an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on behalf of Marketo has shown.

Eighty-one per cent of marketers say dramatic changes need to be made in order to keep up with increased technical and customer demands.

The survey points to the impact of technology, the importance of managing the customer experience – a new skill set for marketers – and the role marketers play in setting strategy as the key issues facing marketers as they look at the future.

The study of almost 500 CMOs and senior marketing executives offers five predictions for the future of the marketing landscape.

For example, the proportion of companies where marketing is viewed, as a cost centre will dwindle and the number where it is seen as a driver of revenue will grow.

The report predicts that marketing will take the lead in developing customer experience. Seventy-five per cent say they will become responsible for pulling together the scattered pieces of the end-to-end customer experience.

Meanwhile, engagement is becoming paramount. This is because an ‘engaged customer’ is one who keeps coming back for more, engagement is coming to be defined most often in terms of sales and repeat sales.

The research showed that marketers are aggressively seeking new skills, especially those who believe that a restructuring of the function is urgent. Skills in demand include: digital engagement, marketing operations and technology, and strategy and planning.

Just over half of marketers expect the internet of things to revolutionise marketing by 2020. Almost the same number cite real-time personalised mobile as the trend with the biggest impact.

Gilda Stahl, editor of the report, said: "As marketers take centre stage in managing the customer experience, they're discovering new ways of supporting the business. New tools are enabling marketers to play a bigger role in driving strategy, but to fully embrace the opportunity marketers need to constantly evolve, and arguably, reinvent themselves.”