In the 35 years I have been practising marketing, absolutely everything has changed.
Well, almost everything.
What has not changed are the foundations.
The recognition that delivering value to a customer is the “raison d’être” of marketing, and that seeing everything you do from the customers perspective is absolutely essential if you are to understand what “Value” really means in any given context.
It is a fact of life now that marketing is controlled by software.
Marketing was pretty late to the software game, but in the last 5 or 6 years, it has exploded. Now we can not only automate a whole lot of tasks previously taking up valuable time, and gain vast leverage from the automation, but we can measure the performance of activities, bringing a whole new world of accountability and reach to the practice of marketing.
What we cannot automate, and really only measure after the fact is the influence of creativity on the process, the ability to see what others cannot, to interpret a given set of numbers and circumstances through new eyes, to connect the unconnected dots.
This explosion of automation and tools has created a new “middleman” in marketing, he/she is called “Software”.
Like all middlemen, “Software” needs to be proactively managed. There are many choices of middleman that can be made, often more than one may be appropriate, but those chosen need to be managed, and these tasks require a whole new set of capabilities many businesses do not have, and smaller ones often think they cannot afford.
They also need a new way of working, a collaborative, and cross functional culture that encourages hypothesis generation and experimentation. It must be “failure tolerant”, simply because failure is not really failure, it is an opportunity to learn about your market, competitors and customers.