Communication departments must reinvent themselves, as today’s silo structures – marketing and advertisement versus classical product PR and corporate communications – will increasingly overlap. - Jochen Sengpiehl, Marketing Director at Volkswagen
Today’s digital marketing communication has nothing to do with the advertising of the past. Last year, global spending on internet advertising overtook the amount spent on TV advertising, the leading medium of classic communication, for the first time. For 2019, media experts are predicting a 13 percent increase for internet advertising amounting to 205 billion dollars. That is equivalent to a 37 percent share in global media expenditure. Next year, some expect the amount spent on advertising in social media to exceed the amount spent on advertising in the print media.
For marketing directors, however, digitalisation means much more than just using additional communication channels. It is associated with two important phenomena which are set to change the organisation of the marketing department: on the one hand, the more demanding requirements of the customers regarding the dialogue with companies, and on the other, the availability of data from digital channels. Such more demanding requirements of the customers regarding the dialogue with companies are based on the use of social media. On the one hand, they lend the voice of consumers an extensive reach; on the other, companies have to respond rapidly and follow the communication in cyberspace attentively to be able to recognise and counteract storms of protest at the right time. Conversely, it is also necessary to strengthen brand advocats who are active in the internet. In terms of marketing professionals’ daily work, that means moving away from a 20-second commercials and towards a multimedia brand experience!
Communication in the digital era has become sophisticated. Marketing managers have to create a considerable amount of advertising means for a variety of channels. Then there’s the dialogue with the customer. Their enquiries relate to all conceivable topics, and ignore the classic division of labour between sales, marketing, customer services and PR. Accordingly, these departments have to collaborate closely when responding and make rapid decisions, as the customer expects to receive prompt feedback.
Interaction and transaction are also merging: where once there were just advertisements, it is now possible to go shopping as well. Billboards feature QR codes and it’s just a few clicks from the landing page to the buy button. And the same is true in reverse: major e-commerce platforms such as sears.com offer companies advertising space.
The merging of advertising and shopping means marketing is moving closer to sales. Marketing directors are increasingly judged on how they support sales.
The key asset for marketing managers is data. The media behaviour of customers on digital channels reveals a lot about their requirements. It is possible for value added service or even new business models to be developed on their basis. To lever this data, companies don’t just require up-to-date marketing technology. They also have to create the organizational conditions in their marketing department to be able to make full use of the performance capacity offered by the technology.