Marketers are lagging behind when it comes to thinking strategically about how e-business can positively impact on their organisations, according to a new report undertaken by Bristol Business School, part of the University of the West of England, on behalf of The Chartered Institute of Marketing.
The study sought the views of senior marketers and consultants about how marketing professionals will need to adapt to change in the light of e-business and new technologies such as 3G mobile phones, which will bring a host of new marketing opportunities.
However, many respondents highlighted major concerns about the willingness and ability of marketers to take the lead in developing e-business strategies which will enhance their understanding of customers. This is seen as vital as the Internet and new technologies are shifting the power towards customers.
The study found that many marketers had distanced themselves from the e-business debate internally and that they were in danger of being left behind as the company moved forward.
Instead of thinking strategically on e-business and technology issues, marketers were seen to be focussing on talking tactics with their advertising and PR agencies.
One respondent likened many marketers roles in the company as to “playing marbles at one end of the playground, whilst adults were making decisions at the other end.” Another remarked that: “many marketing managers are shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic.”
In the context of today’s working environment enabled by knowledge management systems, research and hi-tech measurement, some marketers were also seen too often as having a tendency to “wing it” perhaps by reacting instinctively or through habit in making decisions. The marketing culture identified was not to worry about the systematic gathering of information and tapping of available knowledge and insight. Linked to this was an attitude that measurement and learning from their experiences came a poor second to running another campaign.
Respondents felt that marketers must re-invest in their skills in a number of areas. The ability to think strategically and decision making skills came out at the top of the list. Also the study revealed that the ‘new’ marketer will need stronger analytical skills to make the most of the increased volume and nature of data at his or her disposal. Participants in the study felt that marketers needed to be particularly proficient at using knowledge management tools, which would provide them with a springboard to taking a leading role in providing customer insights to their company.
Says Dr Alan Tapp, the Research Leader and Senior Lecturer in marketing at Bristol Business School: “It appears that a large number of marketers are not thinking about how new technology is affecting the larger corporate picture and how it can help make their organisations become more competitive.
“New technology has accentuated the need for marketers to be more strategic. They should be thinking more about how the use of new technology can ensure that customers are more satisfied so they don’t go to the competition, rather than spending a vast majority of their time talking tactics with an advertising or PR agency regarding the content of an advert or a press release.
“The research did highlight that there are marketers out there who are providing vital strategic input and their example must be followed. Otherwise marketing professionals are in danger of being isolated from the changes taking place as a result of the deployment of new technologies and as a result they will drop down the pecking order for promotion to the Board.”
Tapp concluded: “ Above all marketers need to think strategically and be at the centre of the internal e-business and new technology debate within their companies. E-business and emerging technologies provide a major opportunity for marketers, and to take full advantage they will need to develop new skills, particularly in the areas of measurement and data analysis.”
The report has coincided with the launch of a new website by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, www.connectedinmarketing.com , which aims to provide a wealth of vital information on marketing in the e-economy.
Ray Perry, Chief Executive of E-Centre and Director of Corporate Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, believes that strong marketing skills coupled with an understanding of how technology can be exploited will be crucial to success as the Internet comes of age. “As the bridge between a company and its customers, intelligent marketing will be a lynchpin for success – whatever exciting new technologies the future may bring.”
|For further details, contact:
Chris Lawrance at JBP Public Relations on +44 (0)117 907 3400
Sandra Ingham, Corporate Communications Manager at CIM on +44 (0)1628 427306