As we draw close to the end of the fiscal year, I thought it appropriate to look back at some of the interesting work we have done. In 2012-13, we have worked with different kinds of clients and on diverse requirements – making this a very satisfying year overall.
We worked with many large players across IT services, products, hardware, and hi-tech segments in addition to emerging players. While this is not a new occurrence for us, what was interesting to analyse was the kind of work that this involved. All in all, here are the top three trends that we are seeing in the industry -
a.Digital marketing has assumed great importance – companies especially the larger ones have realized the need to keep pace with the times. Online is where most of the audience is present and so it makes sense to build a strong presence be it on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or LinkedIn. We are working with many companies to build an integrated presence across relevant channels with the clear objective being to build brand. So, the key aspects include determining the messaging, tone to be adopted, nature of content to be disseminated and promotion strategies. Do you promote only what your company does or can you take a view on happenings in the market? How do you respond when there are negative comments about your company? These are very sensitive issues for companies especially those in the limelight and it is probably better to take a more conservative stance. Just imagine, a misstep in the online world can cause a lot of misery for the company and it is better to err on the side of caution. For now, most companies promote their own capabilities/thought leadership in the form of point of views, white papers, research reports and so on. Some companies do take a stab at expressing views on external events but this not very common.
b. Rebranding to get the right message across – emerging players acknowledge the importance of conveying the right message in the market. Typically, these companies have spent the first few years struggling for business and fighting to survive. When the initial priorities have been addressed and they are ready to scale, they realize that their marketing is just not equipped to carry them forward. This triggers a whole rebranding exercise including revisiting positioning & messaging, and creating collateral that reflects the current situation more realistically. Obviously, this is an important exercise for the company and those that manage to get it right have reaped tremendous benefits that impact business tangibly. The key is in getting to the crux of what this company offers and its value –proposition and conveying that effectively – of course this is not a simple task. We worked with a few companies that have been around for a while, tasted success and are rearing to go to the next level. Therefore, rebranding made perfect sense.
c. Focus on core competencies – yes, this sounds clichéd. However, the fact is we are seeing a few companies prefer to focus on their areas of strengths – sales and delivery and outsource marketing. This is again more applicable to the emerging community. CEOs are realizing that Marketing needs a multi-skilled team and a seasoned person at the helm. In the absence of these, marketing settles down into a tactical role and does not add much strategic value to the business. Think about it – marketing that yields genuine results requires a combination of strategy, research, branding and communication to work well together. Can smaller companies afford to hire these diverse set of skills? And to mentor and guide this team, an experienced marketer is required – so, it does make sense for the CEO to focus on growing the business and leave this specialized activity to more expert hands.
Our sense is that this trend is likely to continue the next year too. It spells good news for marketers as their role is getting more concrete and aligned to business. The more the marketing function can stay result-oriented, the better. Are you seeing any of these changes or have you come across any others? Do let us know….