Previous interviews covered customer experience, thought leadership, creating a content culture, the roles of content and technology, the future of search, the science of marketing, the rise of Content Brands and we asked whether the customer or the content is king in the future of marketing.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a digital marketing manager at TELUS Communications –a national telecommunications company in Canada. I’ve spend my career (15+ years) at TELUS working primarily in a B2B environment with a strong focus on web, social media and digital activities. I love technology and the potential it represents for individuals and businesses of all size.
What are some tough marketing challenges you face?
Some of the marketing challenges I have faced over the years are not unlike those of other large organizations – a diverse customer base with a variety of needs, the requirement to integrate complex systems, determining the best way to embrace technologies such as sales process automation and social media all while offering meaningful value to our current and future customers. The way we’ve addressed these challenges is by having a focus on the customer – trying to understand their needs and opportunities and how we can support them via our products and channels to market.
What is your prediction for the future of marketing?
The world of marketing has changed a great deal over the past decade with the influx of technology into all aspects of our lives. There are no lack of predictions about how technology will continue to have a large impact on businesses and marketing. My take on the future of marketing is that it will continue to be driven by the customer and technology but I believe the changes will be swifter and more profound than what we have seen to date.
Why will this change be more profound? As we know there are many technology trends in play including the shift to use of mobile technologies , BYOD in the workplace and the impact of the Cloud to name a few. A couple of trends stand out to me that I think will really drive change and ultimately expectations that marketers will have to address:
- The growth of Entrepreneurship and its influence in our economy. In his article Trends for 2013: The Rise of the Entrepreneur, J.D. Meier tells us that 2013 is the Year of the Entrepreneur and due to economic pressures and competition, innovation to find new ways to do things more efficiently is in demand. “With the power of the Cloud and social computing, smart people can spin up businesses that reach around the world in a more cost effective way than ever before,” Meier said. Take a look at Mashable’s Launchpad to see examples of innovative startups already in practice.
- Increased use of technology in the classroom gives a comfort level to up-and-coming employees and customers that we’ve never seen before. We hear a lot about millennials and their comfort with technology largely because of their personal use – but another trend I’ve observed is how technology is being used increasingly in the classroom. As a result we’ll see collaboration, innovation, and crowd sourcing via the leveraging of technology done at all levels of education. These activities will become a natural part of the problem solving process by young millennials coming into the work force. Smart marketers may want to invest in the technical education of young students to guide and learn from this generation.
Innovation via technology is creating opportunities for savvy businesses while customers and employees are highly technically-literate and open to new ways of working and achieving objectives. In this environment it’s likely that organizations will experience intense competition from sources we haven’t even thought of – perhaps from an emerging economy or from a small start-up that creates service that addresses a customer need in a new and innovative way. Whatever this competition ends up looking like, marketers need to understand how customers think, what their challenges are and to be open to supporting customers in different ways. Perhaps by partnering with a startup or even with customers themselves. Marketers must lead the way by staying current with trends and anticipating how these trends can be translated into value for our customers and ourselves.
If we aren’t open to adapt and be creative in how we address our customers’ needs, someone else will.
Thanks to Paula for sharing her thoughts. Now tell me what you think in the comments below? And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.