Future of Marketing
The Marketing World Right Now Feels Especially Intimidating
In complicated times the role of marketing should be about protecting creativity, says the Xbox global integrated marketing director
30 January 2023
I do find the term “modern marketer” a bit perplexing. I think that the most comfortable way for me to interpret the term is by reviewing all of the different challenges and pressures offered up by what is a very different communications landscape that exists now, versus how everything was laid out for marketers to contend with 10+ years ago.
When I look around now, I marvel at the sheer volume of different disciplines, emerging technologies and cultural nuances that all combine to make the job of marketing almost unrecognisable from what it has entailed in the past.
There is a lot going on.
The ever evolving digital and social media landscapes that morph into unknown channels and platforms at such a bewildering pace; new areas of opportunity that involve very careful choices around collaborating with huge lists of very different content creators; having to cope with the unbelievably difficult task of reaching your target audience where they are; and the careful thought and conscientiousness that need to be poured into any purpose-led efforts to try to help bring about positive change or to throw some light on something good.
The job feels so infinitely more complicated than the past, where it felt like marketing’s primary focus was upon key communications principles such as solid product truths or striking consumer insights to kick off a campaign that was proven to reach 70 per cent of a target audience with adequate exposure. (I am sure that the marketing endeavour has always been very rich and rewarding through its complexity and has probably always felt in the midst of a sea of change. But the constant evolution of the world that we occupy right now does feel especially rapid and intimidating).
I know that data driven practices are a huge part of marketing life.
I have complete respect for all of the valuable information that data can give marketers, to help them to reach and to communicate more effectively with their consumers. But I believe that everyone needs to avoid becoming obsessed with it and becoming potentially crippled by it.
It represents a valuable body of work to be used sensibly and judiciously, versus running the risk of overwhelming a complete outlook.
I truly believe that the one constant that lies at the heart of all marketing pursuits, past and present, is all about the ideas. I know a lot of people will be yawning or rolling their eyes about how predictable that point is, but it is a point that is worth hitting, and hitting again, at a complicated and uncertain time when I think that it is in danger of being lost.
The ideas are the creativity, and the job of marketing should be about protecting these, and nurturing them. This will ensure that they assume their most powerful expression in the myriad of different spaces and places where they are now expected to live, as opposed to making the process of creativity more difficult - or worse, to tear shreds off the creative ideas that got us all excited in the first place.
Michael Flatt is director, global integrated marketing at Xbox