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Chris Hill, the immediate past president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to the first event of the new season. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Hill recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

As an announcement, an AMA-endorsed marketing certificate program is available at the University of Tennessee. To learn more or to sign up visit http://noncredit.utk.edu/


About the Presenter

Eric Eskey is Managing Director of Dark Horse Works and a Practitioner of the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) innovation approach. Eric founded Dark Horse to serve change makers like you by encouraging innovation and defeating the hidden forces that resist it.

Eric is a 17-year, seasoned innovation practitioner and leader. In the past year, he’s partnered and advised at the senior level in significant innovation engagements with: 

A mid-market finch company to place the right financial bets, beat their most powerful competitors, and decrease their time to market as they prepare for their IPO.

A Fortune 100 company to judiciously drive down their marketing costs and drive-up revenue by reframing their product marketing approach and capability.

A mid-market insurer to reduce client and employee churn, strengthen their culture, and drive down risk as they respond to the threat of disruption by InsureTech.


How Has Marketing Changed?

It’s no secret that the face of marketing has changed considerably over the years. In the 50’s, TV and print were the top priorities. In the 60’s, the idea of campaigns was introduced and was closely followed by the integration of detailed analytics in the 70’s. The 80’s brought developments in technology and a need for increased marketing complexity and efficiency. The role of marketing was broadened to include more strategy and segmentation with the introduction of the CRM in the 90’s. A digital and social revolution came about in the 00’s which ushered in the era of AI and big data in the 10’s. And now in the 20’s we are faced with the future of marketing – smart data. Marketing has moved from “telling and selling” to “engaging in dialogue” with the customer.


What Kind of Marketer Are You?

Marketing has changed more profoundly than any other organizational role. The shift is historic and to truly understand its impact we must clearly (re)define the role of marketers. The range of marketing responsibilities has become so broad that it’s easy to set ourselves (or our employees) up for failure if we aren’t clear about expectations.

There are three types of marketers in today’s organization:

  • Strategist – This individual makes decisions about positioning and product
  • Commercializer – This person drives sales through marketing communication
  • Leader – This person does both of the above, delivering profitable growth and innovation

Regardless of which role you serve (or want to serve), your success depends on creating alignment. This alignment comes from an interest or goal that’s shared between marketers and their partners.

Because marketers are focused on generating demand, we place a high value on creativity, speed, and achieving goals. But our organizational partners may be more inwardly focused on stability and accuracy. We can meet in the middle where our common interests collide and put the customer at the center of it all.


Creating Alignment Through Customer-Centric Goals

To best serve our customers, marketers must work together with other team members or departments to meet the customer’s needs. The best way to accomplish this is by creating a set of shared, customer-centric performance goals that all parties strive to achieve. Before we start setting goals though, there’s a few things we must consider:

First, we must get the customers right. The word “customer” has an incredibly flexible meaning and although many companies claim that their strategies are customer-driven, they may not be serving the right customer. The strategic selection of a primary customer group defines the business and should be made up of those who can unlock the most value for the business – not necessarily the most revenue.

Next, we must get their needs right. We often ask ourselves, “Can we do this?” instead of, “Should we do this?” This narrow frame of mind unduly limits the options we consider and can keep us from seeing what our customers really want or need. To widen your view, invite the customer into a dialogue about their customer journey, desired outcomes, and obstacles and use that knowledge to inform planning and decision-making.

Finally, we must gather smart data. After broadening the pool of available options, we must choose the right ones to make a difference for our customers as well as our own business. At this stage we reality test our options with smart data we can trust and work hard to avoid confirmation bias.

The bottom line? Smart data is the future. Our role as marketers is evolving and as we face new pressures, we must be vigilant, avoid bias, and create alignment within our organizations to provide truly customer-centric solutions.

If you enjoyed this virtual event we invite you to join us next month on Wednesday, October 13 when we’re joined by time management guru Samantha Lane for a discussion on work-life balance, managing time, and setting boundaries. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/top-tips-for-work-life-balance-tickets-169098625541

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