CIM Digital Summit 2018: What you need to know
Editorial

CIM Digital Summit 2018: What you need to know

At the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Digital Summit, held at 30 Euston Road in London, delegates and industry experts discussed how marketing can become an engine for growth

Marketing director of CIM, Gemma Butler, began the summit with an overview of the institute’s recent Export Ready report, produced in collaboration with PwC. It revealed that marketing’s contribution to the UK economy was around £30-40bn annually. And while the research uncovered a degree of optimism about the future among UK marketers, skills shortages were identified in the area of exporting to overseas markets. She said: “We wanted to uncover the role marketing plays in exporting, because if businesses want to sell products and services, then marketing is a crucial function in enabling that.”

“If marketing is aligned to business objectives at the start, it can deliver insight, data and ideas which can not only help the organisation grow, but in some cases, more importantly, help your organisation evolve,” she added.

Grasping new opportunities 

Jamie Spafford, SORTEDfood co-founder, then explained how he and a group of university friends set up the online cooking platform that today encompasses five million people. He said the secret of their success was that they “never sold” to users, always maintained transparency and truthfulness, and learned the art of telling evolving stories. “Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful channels, but we rarely have any control over this.” However, he said: “Taking the long view helps you be genuine, remain true to yourselves, and eventually, provide more value for customers.”

To continue the theme of grasping new opportunities, Tom Hall, editorial director of Lonely Planet, outlined how the travel brand has launched its ‘Best in Travel’ proposition, involving an annual book and online content. Although the publication is aimed at millennials, Hall cautioned against stereotyping retired people, who are among the most adventurous. “At Lonely Planet, we put the traveller at the heart of all we do,” he explained. 

The value of trust

The theme of trust was never far away, and, later in the day, James Farmer, CIM’s head of brand and marketing communications, revealed the results of a recent investigation by the institute in collaboration with BBC Five Live into fake reviews. “We live in a time when issues around ethical missteps, data protection, fake reviews, contentious price and product strategies are disrupting loyalty across a wide range of sectors.” He added that brands can build trust in eight ways: by making reliable products; implementing a clear pricing policy; controlling where the brand is seen; promoting products accurately; driving internal culture and brand advocacy; promoting customer centricity; creating reassuring environments; and, treating customer data as though it’s your own.

Emma Fletcher of Royal Mail MarketReach then explored how brands can work within the framework of GDPR to create trust and develop the customer relationship. “The more you build relationships with consumers, the more they trust you, and the more loyal they become,” she said. She introduced the concept of programmatic mail, which allows marketers to use customer data to deliver powerful, attention-grabbing communications right to the doorstep. 

Opening the final chapter, Dr Geraint Evans FCIM, outlined the insights drawn from a recent roundtable of industry leaders on the role of marketing within organisations. “Marketers can’t rely on other departments to own issues such as data use and storage. Privacy is a major issue for customers, and we’ve got to be in these conversations.” Evans also advised marketers to ‘package’ themselves for – and work alongside – the new C-suite, which comprises technology, data and operations executives.

The building blocks of business growth

Continuing the theme of marketing skills as catalysts for business growth, Ciaran Rogers of Target Internet aired the results of the Digital Marketing Skills Benchmarking survey, which tracked the competencies of 5,000 participants. It revealed low levels of practical technical knowledge among company directors, and a lack of core marketing know-how among junior employees. “Content marketing is so widely used, but people don’t know how to properly leverage it,” he said. “SEO is seen as something as a black art. Social media is still a mystery. How has this happened?” 

Mark Lawson-Jones and Huw Jones of The Page Group closed the billing by offering suggestions as to how marketers can motivate the team and attract new hires into the business. To make the process run smoothly, Jones advised marketers to “plan recruitment in advance, in terms of what skills you require, what channels you’re advertising on, and which internal stakeholders need to be involved. Unnecessary delays can cost you the best marketing talent,” he said.

Find a full round up of the research discussed on the day here

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