Our Marketing Future In his last article as CIM Ireland Chair Nick Read reflects on future challenges and opportunities facing marketers. thing, or simply that it is easier to be found out if we don’t behave as we should the survey does not reveal, but 87 per cent of marketers stated that there was pressure on brands to become more of a role model in society. This has been highlighted in recent cases of The Guardian and Channel 4 pulling advertising from Google and YouTube as they were not content with their brands being associated with “offensive material”. With such ethical issues at the forefront of marketers’ concerns there needs to be a connect between those in the organisation who are in touch with the concerns of customers and those making decisions on other organisational issues such as finance and production – organisational functions cannot operate in isolation from each other. Data issues recent Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) survey which questioned UK marketers about some of the challenges and opportunities that face them gives us food for thought. We are well aware that organisations are operating in an increasingly complex environment with large economic changes brought on by the likes of Brexit; the challenge of ever more informed and demanding customers; and with technology offering us a glimpse of what may be possible. Organisations have to navigate a course through this turbulence and marketers, who have traditionally been those who should be closest to the customer, should have an important role to play in how organisations shape and future proof themselves. Let’s start with establishing that in Northern Ireland we have many organisations which may not have a defined marketing function, but do carry out marketing activity whether it falls under the responsibility of some or many – and whether they know they are marketing or not. A So what are the challenges that are exercising us as marketers? Not surprisingly Brexit features high on the anxiety list, with 55 per cent of marketers stating this as their top worry. Ethical issues Other challenges faced by brands are the increased pressure to act ethically, whether this is from a sense of duty, doing the right 54 www.businessfirstonline.co.uk An issue that every organisation will face over the coming months is the imposition of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. Fifty per cent of marketers indicated that they don’t understand the implications of this and only 11 per cent have put some form system in place to deal with it. For those who may not have come across GDPR yet you need to familiarise yourself with it. The regulation requires businesses to demonstrate that consent has been freely given for by individuals for all marketing purposes an individual’s data has been put to, in other words customers may have to opt in rather than opting out. With the growth in personalised marketing, CRM systems and targeting of individuals we are all going to have to revisit our policies, procedures and practice on how we capture and manage individual’s data. Other areas of the research highlighted the challenges of digital and the ever changing social platforms and technology and that marketers have to master. How do we navigate our way through all this? Keeping our knowledge and skills up to date is an obvious solution, but also key is maintaining a focus on the customer; and ensuring that this understanding of the customer is broadcast and understood throughout the organisation so decisions are made with the customer at the centre. Forty seven per cent of marketers indicated that they thought that marketing played a key role in strategic decision making in their organisation, organisations would be well advised to seek counsel from their marketers the customer is too important to ignore. A summary of the CIM report can be found at cimcomms.uberflip.com/i/798147the challengesopportunitiesmarketersfinal Diary Dates : Great Content on a shoestring budget 15 June 2017. Supported by Entrepreneurial Spark Belfast Morning event 1012:30 Lombard House, Belfast. Book here : regions.cim.co.uk/Ireland/home/ Learn how create quality content to share online and through social media at no cost other than your time. You will learn how to film a short interview, how to set up a good shot, how to be creative with your video content, and how to edit and select video clips for use on social media. We'll also go through the Government Communication Service top tips for creating other kinds of visual content for social and how to make the most of your imagery. The session will involve handson tuition so make sure you bring your Smart phones, ipads, laptops – or whatever you use (or could use) to develop digital content. QUOTABLEQUOTE An issue that every organisation will face over the coming months is the imposition of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. Fifty per cent of marketers indicated that they don’t understand the implications of this and only 11 per cent have put some form system in place to deal with it.