Much is being written about the transformation of marketing. The IBM CMO study of 1700 CMOs shows that marketers believe the function is in the middle of a dramatic change and the majority also believes that they are not fully prepared to manage through that change.
Many of our businesses-to-business clients continue to treat marketing as a promotion vehicle that sets into motion after the product or service is defined. But the role and opportunity of marketing is dramatically changing as the public is able to engage with products much earlier in the cycle – with more opportunities to express opinions to others in the marketplace. Marketers are taking advantage of this by integrating social and mobile to implement variable positioning, pricing and product models that integrate customer behavior and response early in the definition cycle.
We see this also taking place in b-to-b services, where consulting firms, legal services, etc. are integrating the customer into the cycle very early on through proof of concepts that turn into large consulting engagements. Marketing is integrated into the early phase of bringing the service to market and pulling the customer through the proof of concept phase and then using these insights to create the go-to-market strategy.
Forward thinking companies are treating marketing as a critical front office function, not purely a promotion center. Such a shift will bring new thinking into the product and service development and shape products that are market-ready much faster. The challenge is now ours as marketers – to get ahead and make the case in our organizations to change the way they think about marketing. How will you begin?