In future, mktg will focus less on ad, more on customer-focused content: Michael Brenner

Content Jam 2020: Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group, delivered the keynote address on Day 1

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 26, 2020 9:16 AM


At the fourth edition of e4m Content Jam on Wednesday, Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group, delivered the keynote address. Brenner, who is also a CMO influencer & motivational speaker, explored the topic - How marketing is changing - to focus less on ads and more on customer-focused content.

Starting off the session, Brenner highlighted that it’s really hard to create customer-focused content that engages the audiences. “We're going to talk about the context of content marketing, marketing and the context of business in the world that we're living in, a world that doesn't want to see ads. And one of my main messages to marketers and businesses is that anyone can buy ads, anyone can buy clicks, but it's hard to create customer-focused content that engages the audiences that might potentially buy from us. But that's really the opportunity and that's really the challenge that we're going to try to address today: how marketing really is changing to focus less on ads and more on the kind of content that our audiences are interested in and willing to engage with us on,” he remarked.

“We are living in a world of disruption. I don't need to belabour this point. I think we all feel and know this is happening. And yet, one of the things I love to point out is that the disruptions that we're seeing in 2020 have been happening for quite a while, the changes that we're seeing and the accelerations of digital transformation have been going on for quite a while. Working from home, telemedicine, digital transformation and remote collaboration with teams across the world, always made good sense. But those kinds of things are now being accelerated,” he said.

Speaking about marketing, Brenner revealed that 80% of CEOs are unsatisfied with their CMOs and only 20% are not satisfied with their COO/CFO/CIO. “According to a study, when CEOs were asked how do you feel about your CMO, CFO or CIO, and how satisfied are you with the job that they are doing, unfortunately, 80% of CEOs said that they were not satisfied with the job that their CMO was doing and they were four times more likely to say that they were unsatisfied with marketing than they were with the rest of the C-suite.” 

He further asked why do we see this disconnect between the marketing function and the functions in the rest of the business, “That disruption started 20-25 years ago, first with the launch of the internet and then obviously with social and digital mobile technologies. If you ask CEOs what it is that they want for marketing, they'll tell you things that we all have heard of - leads, revenues, return on investment- the kinds of things they expect from investments in other functional areas of the business," Brenner shared.

He advised marketing leaders to support all the marketers and asked them to explain the role and strategic value of marketing to the executives.  “CEOs sometimes ask marketers to put the company logo on the side of a sports stadium or they’ll ask to change our logo from blue to yellow. They're asking us to do the kinds of things that don't necessarily tie measurably back to leads, revenue and ROI. So, this is really the challenge that marketers are facing. Behind every bad idea, I love to say, is an executive who asked for it and it's the same executives that are expecting us to show the results from the bad ideas that they asked us to execute.”

“I'm speaking to marketing leaders inside organisations and the agencies out there that support marketers, we need to start to push back, we need to start to have a conversation with executives to explain the role of marketing, the strategic value, the asset that marketing can be. So it's not their fault for asking us to do stuff. They think it's the right thing to do. It's our job to show them what marketing really can accomplish.”

Citing an example of a world famous brand, Brenner explained about the future of marketing that will focus less on ads and more on customer focused content. He said, “The CEO of the world's most recognisable brand said that they were going to slam the brakes on advertising spend, because there's limited effectiveness to brand marketing. Now, in fairness to the brand marketers out there, the context of this quote was in the middle of a pandemic. The CEO of Coca Cola didn't feel like advertising was appropriate necessarily, but the comment about the effectiveness of brand marketing is really meant for a broader conversation.” 

“This is why I believe we're seeing a future of marketing, that's going to focus less on ads, less on building the brand with marketing tactics that everyone has an opinion on and more on just creating customer-focused content that people actually want. And so in order to move forward. We need to stop doing the kinds of marketing promotion and propaganda that we're getting asked to do.”

He also opined that marketers are not just people who carry out some functions but supports a mission critical function that delivers quantifiable, measurable leads and sales for the organisations. “So the first thing is that the conversation needs to change to ‘marketing isn't just a function of people who do stuff’. We are supporting a mission critical function that delivers quantifiable, measurable leads and sales for the organisations that we're working with. During the course of the last few months, we've seen people working from home and jumping on to the internet, and searching for more stuff. We're consuming more content, and we’re engaging more online. In fact, according to internet live stats, 2-3 times more.”

Elaborating further on the B2B context, he added, “This has a significant impact and we've always seen the role of content and digital experiences growing in importance in the buying process, but just in the last few months, we're seeing that online interactions have become 2-3 times more important than sales interactions. And so, the company's website, the most important asset that we have with the marketing content that we publish there, has become two to three times more important than a personal interaction with your buyer and a salesperson. So that provides us with a tremendous opportunity to take this trend of searching more online, and the trend of sales interactions being more important, when they're online versus with a salesperson. That puts marketing in the driver's seat, we can now deliver on those mission critical leads and sales that executives are looking for.”


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