In May, I had the honor of participating in IQPC Exchange’s Market Research and Consumer Insights conference as a featured speaker. My presentation was titled “Insights Evolution: Redesigning Teams and Increasing Synergy to Proactively Drive Business Strategy”. This conference was a great opportunity for me to share insights from Stewart and learn from other marketing and communications leaders across the country.
The conference included executive attendees and speakers from multiple top companies – including Google, Marriott, McDonald’s and Viacom – and each participant brought a unique perspective and insight to the conference. Throughout the sessions and discussions, several trends began to emerge. These key takeaways are a depiction of what to expect from the future of marketing – and how Stewart can move the real estate services industry forward in this space.
Key takeaway #1: Marketing is constantly evolving
Look back a few years ago at the structure of market research and consumer insights departments and compare it 2017. You will see drastic changes. Today, the digital transformation is disrupting the way brands interact with customers. How customers spend their money is no longer influenced by brand messages, but rather by brand experiences – and the digital era of marketing has revolutionized this process. It has become essential to develop holistic marketing strategies that are customer centric, market driven, adjust quickly as business direction changes, and ultimately drive top-line growth.
As we strive to reposition ourselves from “traditional marketing departments” to “customer experience leaders”, we must continuously leverage market research and customer insights to support all marketing and business strategies – from creative services and events to public relations and external communications. Leveraging insights will align teams to become proactive influencers of business strategy, and ultimately generate leads.
Key takeaway #2: Customer experience is crucial to success
Customer experience should be the driver of all areas within marketing. Customers equate brands with experiences and – to be truly strategic – marketing efforts must be centered on consumer insights. Using data to drive business strategy and the customer journey helps customers connect with our brand in a unique way and builds loyalty. When brands value the customer experience, customers respond accordingly – and are willing to pay a premium for the experience.
To stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly changing landscape, it is crucial that marketing and sales teams are aligned and have full synergy. This alignment is the difference between functional and dysfunctional organizations. Data should be the engine of marketing. It should provide direction for all areas of business strategy, and measure relative success or failure of your efforts. This alignment should flow throughout the organization – from business model and strategy to the customer journey, and everywhere in between.
Key takeaway #3: Identify and empower top performers
To achieve this team synergy, you must first identify and empower your organization’s top performers that can rapidly adjust to industry change and achieve quality results. These leaders often possess traits such as high motivation, capability to grow, efficiency, results driven attitude and willingness to learn. With a strong team, marketing and sales will seamlessly work together to achieve success – driven by strategy rooted in mapped customer journeys, actionable marketing plans and engaging customer experiences. And, for success to be attainable there must be full alignment throughout the organization and unwavering support by the executive team.
These three key takeaways are shaping how Stewart is approaching marketing, external communications and customer experience programs. Innovative approaches in these areas will help Stewart achieve its mission of enabling and protecting real estate ownership for our residential and commercial customers today and for years to come.