Marketing - just the word makes me laugh a little.
It's a function that is hugely misunderstood, and over the last couple of years, is a discipline that has been in the firing line of the learned MBA-folk and accountants that have been given the task of running most of the big companies these days.
When times get tougher, companies have historically tended to think of their marketing function as a luxury.
Instead of leveraging creative thinking, imagination, and growth to solve their problems - companies have literally opted to 'go back to basics' and get rid of the marketing department.
But running a brand without the guidance of a competent and skilled marketer may work okay if things are stable and predictable, but it's not a great idea if the marketplace is volatile and there's a lot of uncertainty about the future.
In a new report from the World Advertising Research Centre brands are continuing to transform in real-time and lay the foundations for future growth and one of the most popular strategies they are adopting in 2021 to achieve that, is reinstating the importance of the CMO.
As the COVID-19 crisis shows little sign of letting up, marketing has emerged as the nerve centre of a brand’s pandemic response. With a need for flexibility and strong internal relationships to navigate changing circumstances, the C-suite is fast realising the crucial role that marketers play in connecting various parts of any business, and especially in managing the relationship with consumers. From shopper insights and brand positioning, to e-commerce and crisis communications, the marketing team is delivering heightened value during COVID-19. The role of the CMO has been wholly revitalised.
Some of those large brands that had done away with CMOs in recent years – McDonalds, NatWest and Telstra to name a few – have reinstated the role this year. Expect more brands to place an emphasis in marketing leadership in coming months.
Global brands are starting to realise the vital importance of the marketing function in times of uncertainty and reversing their decision to shelve marketing.
IMM Graduate School of Marketing executive academic head Angela Bruwer says that good marketers these days need to be:
"futureneers". She says: "They need to have a mindset of innovation and creativity as well as analytical and numeracy skills, with a solid leaning towards technology. They should especially understand data and have an appreciation of its impact on business in general and on marketing.
Not too sure what a 'futureneer' - but for us this is what the danger is.
People make up these nonsense terms to try and position the simple idea that marketing's refreshed role needs to be more future-orientated.
Today the professional marketer requires a skill set that combines creative thinking, systems thinking and analytical skills to deliver measurable growth for the business.
It's not a fluffy, unicorn, nonsense role that is seemingly subservient to functions like IT and Finance.