Riding the rollercoaster: responding to the marketing revolution
By Naomi Davis, Brand Strategist in the Strategy team at Mobas.
A new era for the role of the marketing professional is upon us, changing the way both client-side businesses and agencies think.
The marketing industry has always been in a state of constant evolution, but right now it’s changing at such a pace that evolution almost seems the wrong word. The experience of it is less a “process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change” and more a rollercoaster designed to test the nerve of the most gung-ho marketer.
But for every white-knuckle twist and turn there’s also a bounty of hot dogs, candyfloss and ice cream to be enjoyed: respect for the importance of the marketing function, long overdue, is building. Evidence and experience suggest that businesses are increasingly focusing on their customers and their brands as the centre of their operation, taking a more marketing-focused approach. As a result CMOs and their teams are influencing businesses at a wider and deeper level than ever before, building stronger relationships with other departments and taking on a more diverse remit in order to deliver integrated projects.
The challenge is to ride out the adrenaline-fuelled loops while not overdoing it on the candyfloss. Marketing models are changing, new strategic requirements emerging and channels multiplying. At the same time, the average CMO is managing additional requests, meeting increased accountability, contemplating new skillset requirements, spotting opportunities, leading their team, keeping abreast of trends, amending strategies… Oh, and the small task of overseeing the delivery increasingly successful marketing activity. It’s no mean feat.
The reality is that marketing teams of today require an ever-shifting array of skills and roles. I’m not going to list the hundreds of specialisms being called upon every day – we’d be here a while. And, just as there are roles now that weren’t conceived of a few years ago, there will be roles needed in five years’ time that we haven’t even thought of. For companies looking to deliver real growth and innovation, the general practitioner ‘jack-of-all-trades’ role is outdated.
As respected leadership author and Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill discussed in her recent TED Talk ‘How to Manage for Collective Creativity’, leadership to deliver innovation is becoming less about knowing all the answers and directing people in how to deliver them and more about creating platforms for collective innovation.
"The reality is that marketing teams of today require an ever-shifting array of skills and roles. For companies looking to deliver real growth and innovation, the general practitioner ‘jack-of-all-trades’ role is outdated."
This necessitates calling on the skills and expertise of specialists in the required fields. As Linda comments, “Innovation is a journey. It's a type of collaborative problem solving, usually among people who have different expertise and different points of view… You have to unleash the talents and passions of many people and you have to harness them.”
And so marketing leaders are becoming the aggregators, the opportunity identifiers, setting the stage to lead collaboration between a host of specialist skills. For some, with larger teams and more resource, this can be managed in-house, through large team matrices covering multiple specialist teams, perhaps with only certain requirements outsourced to agencies. For others, working with external agencies is a great way to bring in just the right level of expert resource, with enough flexibility to continually tailor the exact mix of skills required.
If client-side organisations must adapt to the changing landscape, the same goes for marketing agencies. A recent report by integration specialists R3 examined the 40 most integrated brand campaigns from across the world, looking at the skillsets driving the campaigns and the models of agency relationships involved. The need for key specialisms was clear: 38% of businesses deploying the strongest campaigns opted to use multiple ‘best-in-class’ agencies and another 20% chose to use holding company agencies offering specialist sub-divisions.
Our experience corroborates this: over recent months we’ve observed changing trends in the industry and have spent time analysing the requirements of both our existing and new clients. At Mobas, we know it’s our inspired creativity that wins us the work, but it’s also how this is developed and delivered within key specialisms that distinguishes us. The businesses we speak to are looking for the integrated collaboration that one point of contact brings, but they also need best-in-class expertise in very specific fields.
And so, to meet the demands of our ever-changing and growing industry, a new chapter begins for Mobas: one is becoming four. Mobas is now a collective of four specialist teams, each focused on delivering inspired strategic marketing support to the evolving marketing professional:
Brand and Strategy. Building on experience in brand, strategy and planning, the Strategy team is focused on getting to the heart of our clients’ brands, creating propositions and strategies to deliver meaningful change and helping them achieve their business objectives.
Creative and Design. Mobas' team of naturally talented creative thinkers – problem-solvers, writers and designers – come together to create brands, campaigns and collateral.
Digital Services. Creativity, data and analytics merge, with the Mobas Digital team devising digital strategies and delivering a variety of digital platforms.
PR, Social and Content. Combining strategic thinking with creativity, knowledge and a passion for words, the PR team specialises in creating and deploying effective PR and content marketing campaigns.
Our new approach enables us to really focus on and continue to develop our key strengths. With a dedicated Client Services team coordinating activity, the specialist teams will collaborate as our clients’ needs require. While some brands choose to use multiple agencies, we know that for our clients, the ideal is the best of both worlds: the right level of support from experts in their field and less time spent managing agency relationships. After all, that leaves more time to focus on enjoying the candyfloss.
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