CMCE Virtual Interactive Workshop 13 June:  Fearing the Unknown
Education Supper at Bakers' Hall 19 June:  AI's Role in Higher Education
Workshop at Plaisterers' Hall 25 June:  How should charities use AI?
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Roth Observatory International’s view on the marketing landscape this year....

Key characteristics affecting the marketing sector....

With almost 100 client assignments and 1,200 agency meetings and updates under our belts last year, the team at Roth Observatory has identified key characteristics affecting the marketing landscape this year:

o    alignment of marketing resources for future success

o    scarcity of core talent and capabilities

o    integration of technology and automation

o    and the role of Procurement in driving global and operational alignment

There has been extensive commentary regarding how digital transformation is impacting every brand, company and marketer in a number of significant ways – the proliferation of touchpoints, channels and devices; diverse customer journeys, vast quantities of data and all of these delivered at speed.

Digital is both the catalyst and the solution to help manage this and it has important consequences for agency rosters and how marketing teams are structured and managed to deliver for their organisations.

Resource alignment for future success

CMOs are increasingly accountable to deliver RoI and business growth – they are seeking greater efficiency and effectiveness through global alignment, clear frictionless structures and robust processes.

Many companies are still encumbered by complex structures that silo their organisations by function, channel, product and geography.  We’ve seen many brands in the last eighteen months looking to restructure their marketing and communications teams and their agency roster to ensure they are ‘fit for purpose’.

Owning the customer experience means breaking down traditional functional silos in marketing, sales and customer service – and the CMO is the logical role to step up to that challenge.  Dismantling the silos that separate web, call centres, and in-store channels to create the consistent, personalised experience that today’s technology-empowered consumers demand requires CMOs to have greater responsibility and accountability across the business, not just within marketing.

We also see many teams that are still channel focused (but acting to change this).  This is reinforced by the recent Accenture Survey which revealed that only 11 percent of U.S. consumers strongly agree companies are effectively converging digital, mobile, social and traditional channels.  If the channels are separated at source then the consumer experience is bound to be disparate.  To address this many brands are implementing channel neutral planning and execution within both marketing teams and agency rosters – which requires a review of the marketing team structure and agency portfolio – globally and locally.

Closely aligned with this approach, major brands are increasingly looking at their global marketing organisation and reviewing how they can drive efficiencies and consistency of marketing execution, whilst addressing the conflicting consumer requirement for increased personalisation – which generally requires at a minimum localisation and relevance.  Various models are being adopted such as the hub and spoke models, as recently executed by J&J, or ‘triage’ where specialist client or agency teams are sent as required to regional or local offices to support the rapid localisation and execution of global campaigns.

Talent and capabilities

Breaking down silos and restructuring teams doesn’t happen overnight.  And has implications for the capabilities and skills required for key members of a marketing team, including:

o    diplomatic and governance skills to manage cross-functional integration and consistent messaging

o    broad business acumen as Marketing takes a more pivotal role to deliver business growth

o    a blend of right brain creative and emotional with left brain capabilities to handle the increasing data and technical requirements in Marketing roles

o    the rare breed of technical specialists who can speak both ‘consumer and business requirements’ and ‘IT’

o    and with increased customer journey, technical and analytics requirements the Insights, CRM and Digital teams have a much greater relevance and prominence with the marketing team

To manage the multiple challenges of:

o    new roles and responsibilities

o    globalised structures / personalised communications

o    multiple channels and devices and speed of consumer engagement

o    whilst striving for efficiency and effectiveness from marketing budgets -
clients are requiring Best Practice ways of working frameworks, communications and messaging ‘playbooks’ and regular evaluation of agency performance.

Integration of technology and automation

The skills and capability gaps are reinforced further by another challenge in terms of the integration of technology and automation.  Gartner’s prediction that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT than the CIO has been widely quoted.  A number of factors are behind this increased spend:

o    the implementation of automated marketing to optimise each stage of the customer journey and engagement

o    programmatic marketing for media buying

o    solutions for numerous platforms and devices

o    analytics and data crunching, in real time to deliver insights and feedback

o    decoupling and digital asset management to enable more efficient processes and better utilisation of assets

Role of Procurement

We are seeing a shift in the role of Procurement – as functional and geographic silos are broken down Procurement professionals are ideally placed to help drive global alignment and consistency within the agency roster and across the client business.  Agency resource management, operational ways of working, and improving efficiencies are as important as fee benchmarking and negotiation.

Procurement professionals are finding a place as trusted colleagues to help drive transformation.

In summary

In the context of rapid change, increased complexity, closer and faster consumer interaction and engagement, we are seeing an acceleration in brands and marketing organisations’ response by putting in place robust processes and ways of working, simplified but effective agency roster partnerships and restructured marketing teams fit for an agile consumer-centric organisation.






Freeman Lucinda Peniston-Baines

Managing Partner, Roth Observatory International

[Roth Observatory International (ROI) is dedicated to helping companies maximise their marketing and communication resources, through four practice areas: Resource Optimisation, Agency Search, Agency Compensation, and Performance Measurement.

ROI has nine offices in eight countries serving clients such as Aviva, ARLA, Ferrero and Samsung Electronics. More can be found at]