EBG study reveals: marketers give customers a voice

Every two years, EBG surveys the challenges and new developments in the marketing profession by conducting individual interviews. This survey focuses on how marketing interacts with the rest of the organization. The results are particularly informative: the function is increasingly shifting towards a role of conductor, or platform for dialogue between the market and the company, and within the company itself.

A hundred in-depth interviews were conducted with marketing directors from every sector to understand the trend in their business and to put the spotlight on today’s challenges. Their analysis, carried out by EBG (Electronic Business Group)—France’s leading digital economy business club—in collaboration with SAS and Deloitte, paints a clear picture of the projects and objectives pursued by marketing departments, of their relationship with other departments in the company, and of the role they can play to make the digital transformation a key part of their company’s corporate strategy. 

According to EBG, while marketing departments mainly focus on what are often described as “traditional” targets (e.g. improve customer satisfaction, improve and work on branding, or contribute to growth and profitability), they are increasingly motivated by new objectives which, for the most part, are linked to the ongoing digital revolution: digitize marketing, improve customer knowledge and personalization, and navigate through uncharted waters.

Marketing departments have the additional responsibility of deciphering weak signals that may be the harbinger of the future of marketing. As EBG states in its report: “Nearly two thirds of the objectives either correspond to a major trend that did not exist in the past, or to weak signals that have been picked up by some companies, but not others.” In summary, while the number one challenge faced by marketing directors remains ensuring the fundamentals of their profession, the most profound changes are often linked to new ways of processing information. 

At the same time, the EBG survey shows that the marketing function is becoming more central within the company, to the extent that it is sometimes called upon to play the role of a platform for dialogue between the company and its market. Marketing champions the interests of customers in internal debates, but also offers the rest of company a vision and support to achieve it. In a nutshell it places the customer at the center of the company. The marketing department’s collaboration with IT becomes essential, and the quality of their relationship is a key factor for success.

Finally, today’s marketing function has an essential role to play in facilitating digital integration of all the company’s activities—for example, the integration of social networks in the customer journey or the creation of synergies between physical and virtual points of sale. Its role is cross-functional and it is ideally positioned to meet the challenges of managing customer relationships on digital channels.

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