Succeeding in the Digital Landscape: The State of Marketing 2012

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Last week, IBM released the results of their 2012 Global Survey of Marketers, an annual report that surveyed over 350 marketing professionals across the globe, offering a wealth of new data from a balanced mix of B2B and B2C companies. The results, compiled in the State of Marketing Report 2012, highlight the challenges marketers face in adapting to the proliferation of new channels and devices. Specifically, the report sites the need for improved integration “to deliver on digital’s promise.” Integration in this context refers to channel alignment – be it mobile, social, digital or more traditional marketing channels – as well as collaboration with business functions, expanding the role of marketing throughout the buying cycle.

In a rapidly changing and increasingly digital-focused landscape, the role of the marketer – and the marketing department – is escalating. Marketers must remove silos and lead the charge in integration as channel complexity grows. Not surprisingly, the report concludes that marketing needs to align with IT to succeed in its newly expanded role. As Yuchun Lee, Vice President, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group says in a blog post about the survey, “Viewed by many as the real “odd couple” CMOs and CIOs will be the catalysts in forging this union… To ensure the right investments are being made the CMO will need the assistance of the CIO who has a track record of helping usher in successful technology investments in areas such as finance and supply chain.”

From a branding perspective, there is another layer of coordination that is worth mentioning: the synchronization of brand voice across all channels. This is critical to creating consistent and compelling customer experiences, whatever channel through which they choose to engage with your brand. With the continuous creation of new channels and devices, marketers must face the hard truth that they will never again be able to control precisely where prospects will first learn about and interact with your brand. However, marketers can control how the brand is perceived by putting forth consistent messaging at every touch point.

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