Digital media and networks are continuing to grow in usage amongst Marketing organizations to shape perceptions about brand, products, and companies. As CMO of one of the world’s fastest growing cloud organizations, my team and I recognized this and in 2016 we embraced these channels to increase our connection with buyers and ultimately create more demand. As we look towards 2017, more companies will turn to digital channels to differentiate themselves and create market advantage. But in doing so, they will need to redefine their marketing mix and take a look at their overall brand priorities. So what needs to happen for Marketing to step into the driver’s seat and support their company’s digital transformation goals? Here are my four thoughts:


1. Business needs a conscience
. These days, delivering a great product or service simply isn’t enough. Buyers want to know that their purchases will have an impact beyond the transaction. Businesses that focus on building brands that are both socially and environmentally conscientious will win the sale and drive greater loyalty.

2. Brands must deliver one voice. There are more channels to reach buyers than ever – each with their own attitude and style. And it can be tempting to adapt messaging to fit them. Don’t fall into the trap. Digital channels have no doubt changed the game, but when it comes to good marketing, consistency remains key. Businesses that don’t unify their voice and message across all channels – from sales presentations and websites to events and social media – will ultimately be forgotten.

3. Companies need to sell experiences. Brands are a two-sided equation. One side needs to be focused on great solutions and services to solve everyday customer challenges. But the other side needs to be focused on creating an experience, and building a community, that connects emotionally with buyers. Today’s buyers aren’t interested in simply buying products. They want to buy experiences. The best companies build communities to create relationships with customers that extend long after their initial purchase and foster brand loyalty.

4. Talent should take center stage. Walt Disney once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” When it comes to Marketing, creativity and details are key. But in today’s always-on world where buyers demand instant gratification, speed and execution will become increasingly important. Companies will look to attract and nurture these qualities to get and stay ahead of the competition.

Change is never easy – particularly when it involves creating new models for operating that upend the way things have always been done. But there’s no success in status quo. The best marketers know this and will continue to ride the digital wave and push the limits of what’s possible and realize their company aspirations.


Alicia Tillman is Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Ariba. Follow me: @aliciatillman

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