Don’t let the brand get lost in the shuffle

288-625x249[1]As your company looks to grow in today’s ultracompetitive market, your C-suite grapples with a host of issues, from market share to compliance and profits. Who is minding the brand if marketing has no representation in the boardroom?

Customers turn to the internet for everything from product reviews to price comparisons and content on corporate global responsibility – pretty much any information they can uncover about your company – and marketing activities have increasingly gone digital as a result.

Follow the money

Last year, according to research by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, 70 per cent of client-side marketers in the Asia region said they would increase their digital budgets, following the customer online. In today’s mobile and digital society, if you are not setting brand and marketing strategy at the highest levels within your company, alongside the decision makers determining IT spend, R&D allocations and strategic priorities, then there’s a hole in your company’s overall strategy. And make no mistake: the customer, public opinion or even your competition will fill this gap.

A power shift

In its third annual survey of more than 28,000 global consumers, including over 1800 from Australia, the 2012 IBM Institute for Business Value Executive Report argues that consumers have moved from being “smarter” to being “evolved” when educating themselves about brands.

The study notes that the shift in power has moved from retailers to consumers, who arm themselves with research on products before purchase and who have become much more sophisticated in making their choices. The IBM study lists the top five influences on Australian consumers in purchasing new products as follows:
– TV/radio/billboard
– Retail store
– Friends/family
– Search engine
– Shopping portal

Tools to use

The good news here is that companies can still use digital marketing to sway consumers through advertising, their physical sites, search engine optimisation (SEO) and web marketing – beyond their traditional efforts. But it is perhaps more important today than ever before that marketing has a seat at the boardroom table to ensure its efforts align with customers’ needs. The Australian Marketing Institute (AMI), in partnership with Deloitte, has just published an Evaluative Framework for Boards to help assess the role of marketing in the boardroom.

In releasing the study, AMI CEO Mark Crowe said, “Boards can simply not afford to be reactive in terms of setting their vision – they have to ensure their businesses are equipped to react quickly to market dynamics.”

“Deloitte’s research indicates that feedback about execution of strategy is being provided to boards more frequently than before… However the benefit of this additional insight is negated by many boards’ widespread lack of exposure to marketing strategy and knowledge of how marketing works. It’s also holding boards back from fully embracing the marketing discipline at the top table.”

Don’t get left behind: learn more about important marketing trends and ensure your organisation is prepared for the future by registering for the Australian Marketing Institute’s Annual Conference, October 16-17 at Hilton Sydney.

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