10 Trends in strategic marketing management

Darren Woolley

Darren Woolley is Founder and MD of TrinityP3, an independent strategic marketing management consultancy that assists marketers, advertisers and procurement with agency search and selection, agency engagement and alignment and agency monitoring and benchmarking. With his background as an analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

If 2012 is anything to go by, then 2013 is the year for marketers having to make important decisions regarding their management of strategic marketing.

2012 was filled with economic twists and turns, confusion and uncertainty. This year marketers need to go past this and create long term plans in bringing their brands forward into the future.

Here are some of the decisions and elements that need to be considered in 2013.

Convenience or Specialist?

Throughout 2012, we witnessed a major shift in the way our clients structured their roster of agencies. They seemed to be moving away from a roster of multiple specialist agencies, towards having a sole agency custom built to suit the client’s needs. The recent diversifying of agency specialties seems to have prompted this shift.

Not all have made this change. Some advertisers are preferring to remain with multiple specialist agencies, rather than jeopardising quality by going for the convenience of a single supplier. The decision lies in the marketers’ hands and what they feel would be most effective for their business.

Media Price or Media Value?

Media prices have been affected dramatically in the current economic climate and as a consequence have created a large variation in price benchmarking. Price is no longer a determinant in the best deal. It is those who are smart, fast, and flexible who succeed and better the high-priced deals on both price and value. We are left with the choice of buying media based on costs, or the value it creates for business. The cheapest media is not necessarily the best value. It is up to you to choose.

Broadcast or Content?

Marketers are slowly shifting their brand strategies to keep up with the changes in media channels. There is an increasing shift toward consumer engagement with social media, content creation and content sharing. This has led to a change from broadcasting messages to an audience through media, the traditional approach, to new strategies surrounding content. This shift to content is being met with mixed results. It seems that only when there is full commitment to the content strategy, is there any success in results. Marketers must push through the trial phase to see the positives of content strategy.

Global or Local?

For a long time the idea of having a global or glocal strategy for your brand has been around in various configurations. Yet with today’s ease of creating and disseminating content there is even more opportunity to harness the global market. Content based strategies now have the ability to transcend borders and extend into the international market. Different boundaries and borders are no longer applicable. Truly great content now has no constrictions and can engage and speak to multiple people and cultures. It is no longer a matter of control but of what is quality and what will work.

Storytelling or Experience?

‘Storytelling’ has long been the mainstay of broadcast advertising strategies. People relate to stories and this is an essential element for social media marketing. Because of this stories have become the focus of creative agencies when marketing a brand. But with digital media today storytelling is only the beginning. The digital world gives us a chance to create branded experiences for the audience to engage with. In taking the ‘experience’ approach marketers are allowing the audience to share their own stories about the experience of the brand. This creates rewarding and positive experiences for both parties as well as brand engagement and growth.

In-house or Outsourced?

Another shift we are experiencing with the growth of technology is the ability to shift more and more of our communications channels and their opportunities for interactions in house. Functions such as SEO, Social Media, Content Production, Data and Analytics are becoming much easier to integrate into in house work, especially with their ability to be accessed anywhere in the organisation. Therefore it becomes a decision of what works best for your business. And whether your needs, resources and capabilities allow for in house work or whether it is best to outsource.


There have been serious discussions and deliberations over the past few years on the way information technology and marketing are slowing converging. This convergence is going to have a a major impact on the roles of CIO and CMO. We now are at the stage where decisions need to be made about how marketing and information technology will align with each other and collaborate. Some are promoting the idea that the CMO will eventually become the dominant role, and decision maker. But we need to account for the fact that the CIO area goes beyond marketing communications and into operations. Because of this we must not be thinking which one will dominate but how they will shift and change.

Data or Insights?

Focus for a while now has been centering on Data and content, but we also need to be thinking about where the real value lies. Technology now allows us to extract certain insights about customer behaviour and leverage these insights so that we can enhance engagement and sales. Marketers can use this new technology themselves, to find such customer and market data. But in terms of managing the data, it is much more efficient and beneficial to use trained and skilled personnel who can extract real meaning from insights and use the data to its full potential.

Automated or Manual?

Technology has created a new dilemma for marketing and advertising in the way of automation opportunities. Tasks such as Trading Desks, Media Trading and Buying and Demand Side Platforms are all based on an automation process, but now it can go even further into the realm of content creation and distribution. Content can now be developed, created and distributed in real time using a level of automation. But we must decide whether to implement this automation or not, and whether it will bring value or not.

Behaviour or Attitude?

New studies on consumer behaviour and consumer attitude are changing the way we view the link between the two. It is now coming to light that awareness and positivity is not always conducive to changes in consumer behaviour. There has traditionally been a reliance on attitudinal market research to measure how effective marketing strategies are. Now new technology is giving marketers the ability to track actual consumer behaviour, and an opportunity to positively change this behaviour towards building a stronger engagement with their brand.

“It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can also exercise your right to change.” – Dr. Shad Helmstetter.

So this year is the year to make the changes you need by making the choices you need to make today.

You can follow Darren Woolley and TrinityP3 on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Tags: social media, data-driven marketing, CMO role, customer insights

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