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4 Transformational Takeaways from Gartner Digital Marketing Conference

The impact of traditional marketing methodology is declining, while CMOs face a more challenging, fragmented and often commoditized marketplace.

Target audiences are becoming less responsive to traditional marketing methods.

Globalization is driving price compression and margins for many businesses.

Most markets are saturated, resulting in low business growth.

Marketers must embrace a transformational methodology – business as usual and better sameness are no longer acceptable. The marketer’s journey has drastically changed and the skills required for success go beyond witty creativity and going from the gut. Marketers must take a unique approach, fueled by science and a deep understanding of the customer, to drive impactful and profitable growth.

“The CMO of the future will lead the most strategic parts of the organization.”

— Yvonne Genovese

These insights were echoed repeatedly during the recent Gartner Digital Marketing Conference (#GartnerDMC).

Here are 4 transformational takeaways from #GartnerDMC.

1. The central character of the marketer’s journey is the customer

Understanding the customer journey and the customer experience is key to delivering impactful business results. At GartnerDMC, Augie Ray discussed how the marketer’s journey has changed; that the central character in the new marketing journey is not the marketer, but the customer. It is the marketer’s responsibility to guide the customer through each touchpoint to not only arrive at a purchasing decision but to drive authentic brand advocacy and loyalty. The story the customer tells a friend should reflect your brand story.

“People don’t care if their friends participated in a contest that resulted in a brand “like;” instead, they want to know what others think of your products, and they value when friends speak from a perspective of experience to endorse your products.”

— Augie Ray

2. Marketers must embark on a hero’s journey      

“The hero assembles a team and encounters perils along the way. In order survive, heroes innovate. In the end, they are successful. You are on a similar journey.” Yvonne Genovese

In the same way the marketer must embark on a hero’s journey to drive profit and build brand attachment, the customer experience is similar to a hero’s journey. Every hero goes on a journey that leads them through a succession of ah-ha moments. The hero first identifies a problem, maps out a plan of action, and then executes on that plan. Through a series of ah-ha moments, the hero accomplishes his mission. As applied to your brand, it is the marketer’s role to be a behind-the-scenes protagonist, ensuring the hero is protected and guided to the appropriate ah-ha moments – similar to Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes or Chris Farley and his half brother in Beverly Hills Ninja.

3. “Going from the gut is going, going, gone” — Martin Kihn

Data is the cornerstone of the marketer’s journey and essential to understanding how to create engaging and profitable customer experiences. By utilizing data-driven and actionable insights, Transformational CMOs build a Customer BuyWay that guides the customer to each “ah-ha” moment and delivers a compelling brand story at the right time to the right customer in the right channel. 


4. “Anticipate what’s coming or you will be left behind” — Kirsten Newbold-Knipp

‘Innovate or die’ was a major theme at the ANAMasters Conference last October and it continued to be a hot topic at #GartnerDMC. It’s not only about delivering the right message to the customer at the right time, but predicting the right offer and the right message that will best engage the customer. We recently discussed this topic in depth in When Story Meets Strategy: The Customer BuyWay

“Brands can innovate with new technologies to shift from defining the right message to the right person at the right time to anticipating the right offer for the right person at the right time.”

 — Kirsten Newbold-Knipp

Transformational CMOs make the customer the hero through data-driven analysis, a thorough understanding of the Customer BuyWay, and clearly aligned Brand Story, Strategy, and Systems. Learn how to transform your customer experiences and drive transformational growth with our new ebook: Transformational Marketing: Moving to the TopRight.

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Photo Credit: Flickr

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