Getting closer to the customer is the key issue for Marketing Execs

What are the most important topics for marketers?

Last month, in an online vote with Incite Marketing and Communications, 579 marketers ranked the following as their top five topics:

1. Data-driven creativity: An oxymoron? Use what you learn to drive better marketing campaigns
2. Think Fast, Act Faster: Real-time insight for quick decision-making and responsive marketing
3. Hit them when they’re listening: Choose the right channels, and use them at the right time for better engagement
4. Keeping it super-relevant – Personalized Marketing: Granular customer understanding to ensure every message is relevant
5. Define your impact on the bottom line: How new data sources give you more detail on your marketing’s effectiveness

So, what does the above tell us about the state of mind of executive marketers in June 2013?

[wcm_restrict]1. Collecting and then using information well is absolutely core: Every single session highlighted above is some permutation of “get to know your customer better, and then use what you learn to do better marketing.” We’re living in an age of enormous complexity, but also enormous opportunity. Yes, the number of metrics you need to track now are increasing exponentially. Yes, the number of channels you need to master to do effective marketing is increasing radically. But from another point of view, you now have the opportunity to get FAR closer to your customer – through real-time insight, big (and social) data, new measurement methodologies. Not only that, but with all these new platforms, one can deliver far more personalized, targeted messages wherever your customer is. It’s a challenge, yes – but it’s also an enormous opportunity.

2. Measurement is ALWAYS a problem: We do a lot of research. We have done for years now. Every single year, measurement/ROI is one of the key issues people want to learn more about. Nothing has changed. Considering the amount of change in the space at the moment, that’s not entirely surprising.

3. Marketers have a bigger set of issues than ever before: Gone are the days when you needed to decide whether to go with TV ads or a print campaign. Now you’ve got to decide on what type of media to use, where to put it, how to track it, who to target, how to ensure a consistent message, and how to somehow impact on the conversation that is already happening about your brand. The Holy Grail now is being able to build unique, personalized user experiences for every individual customer. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting a lot closer. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Complexity is a huge concern for marketing executives. But it can be overcome if peers work together to come to a consensus (that’s the aim of the conference, by the way…).[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Nick Johnson is the founder of Useful Social Media and Incite Marketing and Communications. Johnson runs a business devoted to facilitating conversation between, and asking challenging questions of, the marketing and communications community. Moving beyond standard business intelligence models, he leads a team devoted to building a customer-centric business delivering real value through the creation of an exclusive, dynamic community of senior strategists.