Friday, June 10, 2016

Marketing as opportunity – investing for growth

Marketing and communications professional Anne Korkiakoski is leading a program for raising the profile of marketing in Finland. Within the state of economic downturn, layoffs, budget cuts – marketing can provide a positive alternative. Marketing can be a driver for improved revenue – and even a source of growth for the whole Finnish economy. No wonder Anne has this year been a guest speaker at more than 50 events, including economic forums (not only for marketeers but for business leaders). Looking at Swedish brands success we could state that investing smart in building brands makes sense.

We are currently in a phase where every penny counts and organisations are asked to “be careful” with investments and “look for where to cut costs”. True – profitability is result of both progress of top line sales, as well as spending. However instead of general cautiousness, wouldn’t it make sense to look into where investment does make sense? What is the key business area or customer group, where we need to put our resources – sales, marketing, services, operations – to make most of the opportunities available. This is where we come back to capabilities of intelligence and analyzing the customer base, being able to draw conclusions where the company has most potential. Therefore let´s be careful with spending but let´s also invest where it is essential.

I was recently asked why we need to find out fact based return calculations and sharp KPIs for both strategic and operative marketing actions – isn’t it evident that we need to invest in marketing and that everybody understands the need for promoting our excellence. No. In the daily business cost cutting is close to a standard and strong requirements for improved profitability make every penny count. Marketing is not only striving for its existence, it is competing against other investments – such as product development, sales force, digital customer services and competence development.

Thus, it is essential to improve the commercial capabilities of the whole organization to ensure marketing is not only seen and conducted as a “function” – but marketing is an essential part of every customer interaction and that every person in the customer interface is looking into further opportunities in either serving the customer better or considering how to add more value. Marketing can have a strategic role, including wide customer focused and commercial capabilities, and therefore is a true investment opportunity for any company´s growth.