Marketing Organisation of the Future

Future marketing organizations will look very different as will the way brands handle events. This is the way Rob Beltman sees it. Kevin talks with him about opportunities and challenges of our industry.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Future marketing organizations will look very different as will the way brands handle events. This is the way Rob Beltman sees it. I'll talk to him about opportunities and challenges of our industry.


Hi Rob, welcome to our studio.


Thank you for having me.


You are the author of the book The Marketing Organization of the Future. It's a Dutch book but it's also coming out next year in English I heard.


Yes, working on it, yes.


It's a hard work writing a book.


Yes of course.


How will the marketing organization of the future look like?


I think it will be quite different from the marketing organization we currently know, and that we are striving for. Most marketeers are still very happy if they look at the position of the CMO: the top of the organization. With old marketing resources under their control. And I think the marketing organization of the future will be much more in the center of the organization. Instead of on a C level, in the heart of the organization. In a much more director of brand and customer experiences, well integrated in other corporate functions and really close to the business and to the touch points.


So do I understand it correctly that it will not only be the marketeer that's bringing out messages to the outside world? But also other people in the organization will start doing marketing?


Yes, of course, and that's already a reality. I mean if we think as a retailer that we as a marketeer with our ad campaigns have the biggest impact on customer experience we don't. It's the in-store employees, it's the cashier that has the largest experience.


Maybe the CEO or whatever.


Yes, or the designer that's making the website. Or the app has a larger impact on that experience than we with our ad campaigns in print or on TV. So we have to realize that as marketeers and we have to build our influence by giving it away by giving it to the organization. And realizing that we need to use all the resources we can to create a consistent brand and customer experience, across our touch points with our partners. And we do that best when we are not in an isolated position in the boardroom or as Chief Marketing Officer, but when we gain our influence, really in the business in all our different branches.


Okay, so we need to think as a marketeer on how we perceive our role, how we perceive our job, and what it is we need to do.


Yes. And one of the biggest surprises always from marketeers when I tell them about the marketing organizations in the future, I say two things. First is you need to spend more time on internal marketing. Don't be externally oriented or don't be too externally oriented. It's good to follow the trends and developments in your market, but your biggest worry is getting everybody in the organization on the same page about your value proposition and how to market it. And the second thing is you need to become more lazy. You're doing too much.


Okay. Yes.


So you need to become more lazy means, many marketeers are busy all day and managing all the new channels that are rising, all the new trends in marketing and the new trinkets. And we get more and more jobs to do. And we forget to take a step back and think okay, do I really need to do this? Should I be the one running the corporate Twitter account or should the CEO be doing this?


I understand.


Should I be doing the campaigns or should I let Sales be in the lead of how they want to manage our customer relationships. And can I go bore in a support role? And every time wondering why am I doing this? How can I give away control and win in terms of effectiveness and win in terms of time?


Okay, what effect do you think this will have on events? Because events are an important aspect of marketing.


Yes, events are an important aspect of marketing. Life events are becoming more and more important. Because in a digital world life contact is really making a lot of difference to customer relationships. So I think it will gain in momentum. But in order to be relevant there must be a foundation of awareness and activation across multiple platforms, with smaller events maybe leading up to the main event and with different online and offline platforms that are used. We need to develop ore co-marketing propositions. We need to let partners do more of the marketing with us, facilitate them to do so. And that will make the job of the event marketeer a lot easier. If we're just able to create an open community in which our brand message can spread instead of having to do it as a sender all by yourself.


Yes, you just said, there will be multiple touch points in life. Does it mean we won't have those big events anymore? But go rather to smaller events? How do you see that?


I think what you see is… I really like the statement by Jay Leno, once he said. He's a car fanatic, he has a really big garage. He said, what actually saved horses in the past was the invention of the car. Because only the premium horses then survived as racehorses. And before that they were overbred there were too many. I think the same is true for the event market. You will see that really big and interesting live experiences will survive. They have added value, people want to go there. The middle range where you thought, okay, it's proximity event, it doesn't offer much specific, I can maybe postpone it or go somewhere else in a month, they are struggling. And the smaller, the really smaller events quick and dirty and easy, will also survive because they just have a level of efficiency that is hard to beat. So I think the middle segment is going to struggle and the top segment will thrive.


Okay, if I hear all this talk about the future by when do I need to start as a marketeer?


I have a quote in the book about Jillian Michaels, she is a personal trainer and she said, 'transformation isn't a future event it's a present-day activity'.


We should have started already.


You should have started already. Working on your marketing fitness is something you need to be doing right now. If we look at the research that's being done, by the economist, or in the Netherlands we interview all marketeers every year, in a big marketing survey, some 60-70% feel like their marketing organization is not fit for the future. That they lack technical knowledge to deal with IT trends, that they lack marketing knowledge to deal with the major shifts that are occurring. And we need to take that seriously. We need to stop just doing the marketing of the organization, and reflect upon the organization of our marketing.


Are there examples of companies that are already there?


The interesting thing is ‘that ‘they are already there, supposes that it's a journey with an end. I think it's a journey, I don't know where the end is. Of course we feel changes like a constant. But there are organizations that have made really big steps. I look with a lot of admiration towards ING in the Netherlands who shifted their entire organization to an agile way of working. I look also with a lot of admiration to Adobe, who has a really creative community that they foster now and...


They made big steps, yes.


They've moved so far from being a product vendor, that just sold licenses through software through an intermediary distribution channel, to really fostering that creative community of marketeers. Exact is doing very nice and have made a complete turn towards an agile marketing organization. So there are examples to watch, yes.


Rob, I'm looking forward to reading your book.


Thank you. I look forward to getting it out there.


Good luck with that. You at home thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.