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Accenture addresses marketing function in the digital and data age

By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager

Marek Rucinski, Managing Director, Accenture Interactive, has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and customer analytics. He helps Accenture clients transform the marketing function in the digital and data age to one that is more strategic in leveraging insights at the heart of the customer experience.

Accenture Interactive, Global DMA and Winterberry Group recently presented a summary of the key findings from a ground breaking Global survey on Data Driven Marketing & Advertising.  Rucinski delved into some of the key findings of the survey offering insights and opinion, specifically addressing the talent gap, leadership mind set and technological capabilities as critical key factors in transforming the business into a customer-centric organisation in a webinar March 3.   We caught up with him later to get his insights via email.

 

What’s the relationship between data, marketing and advertising?

Marketing as a discipline is going through an unprecedented amount of change. Particularly,

Marek Rucinski

Marek Rucinski

as it becomes increasingly reliant on the effective orchestration of data and technology to deliver compelling and relevant brand interactions to even more savvy consumers.  

Consumers are driving much of the change as they are highly informed, actively seek second opinions and are quick to switch brands. Data is key to enabling marketers to develop a clear behavioural and performance view of their customers, including the way they interact with their brand and offerings. However it is essential that the right data points and insights are used, with the correct technologies to meet the time critical technology process. For example, five years ago campaign planning, resource management and content generation were run on a six monthly calendar. Today those cycles run on a monthly, weekly or daily basis meaning a quick response is needed creating a significant ripple effect across the entire marketing chain.

Is there a talent gap that needs to be addressed? What can you say about that?

The changes that are being experienced by modern marketing teams are creating a number of tension points in regards to structure, talent and process realignment.

In particular there is a need for more data savvy marketing team members. Not only the people that do the modelling to connect the insights to real business problems but also the people that interpret and solve consumer needs, as well as the marketing technologists to manage the increasingly complex IT and data marketing tapestry. The rise of digital marketing – although this distinction will disappear soon – is also creating pressure on talent.  There are new skills, tools and processes that need to be integrated into the team, sometimes internally and sometimes externally, to accelerate and scale the execution capability.

Finally there is a clear trend that we are observing with our clients, where they actively leverage external partners to help them orchestrate and deliver at scale analytics and digital processes. This allows them to introduce new capabilities on a continual basis, thus outpacing competitors who may choose to grow them organically.

What needs to be done as far as leadership goes?

The c-suite needs to comprehend the changing role and landscape of the marketing capability, whilst creating a stronger mandate for the CMO to ensure the brand keeps pace with the expectations of consumers. There is also the enrichment of the c-suite with Chief Data Officers, Chief Customer Officers and Chief Analytics Officers as the mission critical role of these capabilities is recognised.

 

What data driven technologies are leading the charge and why?

Data driven technologies are impacting the end-to-end marketing process. At the foundational data level, data integration, enrichment and big data discovery capabilities are changing the way data is captured, organised and mined. At the process level, industrialised campaign management toolsets allow for more granular insights which can generate customised and relevant offers for consumers.

Digital interactions are also hugely technology dependent for example to enable content to be curated, customised and seamlessly disseminated for specific interactions. Though this does raise the philosophical question of how far should marketers go along this path, as just because you know something doesn’t mean you should use it.

It is important to remember that technology will never replace great creative ideas. It is a facilitator of effective and targeted dissemination but the core messages will still be human dependant.

What are the other big survey takeaways?

There are clear near-universal trends that are being observed around the importance and usage of data to drive marketing interactions. Particularly the:

–       Ability to harness the data to drive business outcomes

–       Usage and customisation of the data across digital and traditional channels

–       Talent to support the integration, insight generation and industrialised execution

What future trends are developing?

Marketing is very much in the midst of a revolution. Data sourcing is propagating, channel relevance is evolving and digital enablement technologies although maturing are also still evolving. Analytics capabilities, methods and tools are also in flux, especially in regards to artificial intelligence.

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