10 Commandments for modern marketers

Interesting piece in Marketing Week on 10 commandments for the modern marketer, based on interviews at the European CMO Conference. The top dogs who contributed included the co-founder of Facebook, the CMO of Zurich financial services, the CMO of Novartis healthcare and some top marketing professors. I share my top 3 tips below, and you can download the article by clicking here.

Tip 1: Talk to staff as well as customers

We'd agree with Zurich’s Arun Sinha recommendation that marketing should begin internally and then be
followed externally. “Ensure that every staff member understands,” says Sinha.
“They have to drive and create the momentum internally, so that must be
prepared first. Right on Arun.

But we'd go much further than this. The key is not for leaders to talk to employees, but rather lead by example. Its the 100's of little things leaders do every day that bring to life a brand, not the big and flashy set-piece shows. Little things like Pret CEO Julian Metcalfe writing on his soup cartons how he has listened to consumer feedback and improved the product.


Tip 2: Pare back to your core activities
Novartis’ Philippe Zell explains: “Large corporations should focus on their strategic brands and re-invest to increase their consumer profile.You should never forget the core of what your company does and never let your employees do this either.” Spot on Phillipe.

This is a biggie we posted on this before, as part of recommendations on post-recession branding. The tough times have forced companies to re-focus on what they are really good at, and ways of doing this even better. The challenge is to keep this discipline when the economy picks up. A good example of growing the core is Gillette's promotion of all-over body shaving, and their online subcription service for automatic re-ordering of blades.

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Tip 3: 2010 is about dialogue, not marketing
According to the big cheeses interviewed, "the traditional working practice of marketers of moving from campaign to campaign needs to shift to maintaining ongoing conversations", such as working on online, user-generated content.

The best example of this so far is perhaps My.BarackObama.com, the official presidential
campaign social networking website for President Obama. Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, helped create this amazing site, which revolutionised fund raising by getting small donations from millions of people, instead of big sums from a few big contributors.  Hughes says “It’s so important
that brands focus on giving people a voice. We made every single member feel that they had a role in the
presidential campaign. This sort of dialogue is essential to a brand’s success.” 

If its good enough for Obama, its good enough for me. But, the watch-outs here are:

– Do it if it fits the brand: I'm up for a conversation with Apple, Paul Smith and O2. But not up for a dialogue with Rynair or Andrex toilet tissue.

– Do it right: if you open up a conversation, you need to listen and reply. And this means staffing up correctly. Jordans Cereals PR lady Rachel now spends a lot of her time dedicated to the company blog and newsletter.

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In conclusion, 2010 is about doing the basics bloody well: growing the core, leading by example. And its about updating and upgrading how you execute marketing plans to connect with your customers.