Why the future of the C-Suite is in marketing

Following a £10 million round of investment from Smedvig Capital in late 2016, Infinity have been empowering marketing departments to add substantial value to their company’s bottom line. In the article below, Infinity tell us why business leaders of tomorrow are increasingly likely to be forged in the fires of the marketing department and how they are helping to power that change.

During this year’s Marketing Week Live, we caught up with our clients at Iglu, whose COO was invited to speak on a panel that took a wide-reaching look at the marketing departments of tomorrow. Below is a stand-out quote from the discussion, which has got people talking about how much of tomorrow’s C-suite is going to be driven by marketing.

“An organisation needs customer experience, but few really understand what it is. One of the biggest strengths I have as a COO is that I came from marketing. Our obsession with the customer, that all senior figures now need, is part and parcel of what I have done for years. Marketers have learned how to look at an audience, and get results. Our next challenge is expanding that second-nature understanding to sales, product, tech, and all other areas of a business.”

Otto Rosenberger | Chief Operating Officer, Iglu.com (speaking at Marketing Week Live 2018)[1]

According to Heidrick & Struggles’ latest Routes to the Top report, one in five CEOs in the FTSE 100 already come from a marketing background (second only to finance).[2] Current Tesco CEO Dave Lewis had a strong hand in much of Unilever’s marketing earlier in his career. Meanwhile, at Domino’s Pizza, both their CEO and President originally came from marketing backgrounds and have overseen a drastic improvement in results for the fast food brand.

On a visit to his alma mater, Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle was keen to highlight that “the highest level analytics being done in Domino’s are being done in the marketing department, not in the finance department.” Emphasising why this change was of such vital importance, he added: “to really understand not just what consumers say they are going to do but what they are actually doing is extraordinarily powerful.”[3] So why can we expect this trend to continue upwards?

In the age of the customer, it makes sense that those with the closest links to the customer will often be best suited to guide the business. Years of building big ideas to reach the customer, backed by solid data on those customers, is a skill that is highly transferable to the top positions right across a business. In a lot of businesses, marketers have been doing this with flair for decades.

All of this will create customer-obsessed individuals, who are adept at making high-level, creative decisions based off meticulously organised audience intelligence. But as we learned from visionaries such as Steve Jobs, it’s not just about blindly following what the data tells us to do.

Senior leadership involves boldly going where nobody has gone before and someone experienced at making decisions then reacting swiftly to audience feedback is going to mitigate a greater amount the risk, while simultaneously retaining all of the benefits when smart swashbuckling pays off.

In a survey we conducted at this year’s Ad:Tech London, 58.3% of respondents across all sectors said they would be increasing their spend on marketing attribution, while a further 17% said they would keep spending at the same level. As marketers become increasingly responsible for profit and loss, they are getting a far greater understanding of the impact their activity is having. By understanding what’s working, and being responsive enough to act on those insights, substantial amounts of revenue is at stake.

“We’ll be looking at how to achieve more success from utilising our data by aligning it with our business objectives. I believe we’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible right now, and the more we prove the value the faster we can scale and extend those possibilities.

Hans Helbig | Global Head of Digital Marketing, Reckitt Benckiser (Speaking at Ad:Tech London 2017)[4]

At Infinity, we believe this scenario becomes ever more likely as marketing data becomes increasingly pertinent throughout organisations. The more relevant, useful information that marketing teams gather about both customers and the brand’s wider audience, the more central they will become to the operations of other departments who can optimise their activities with these insights.

Where many of our customers are seeing the most value is when they are using the clarity gathered from call intelligence and applying it across departments and in contact centres. Moreover, by easily connecting Infinity to the rest of the company’s tech stack, their data from a varied set of sources becomes greatly enriched with call data filling many online-to-offline gaps that other analytics platforms are unable to monitor. By concatenating data sources in this way, an infinitely deeper vision of how, where, when, and why customers are engaging with a brand is formed and what the outcomes are.

By playing such a pivotal role in building this vision, senior marketers will see how their product differentiates in the marketplace, where its strengths and weaknesses are and they are in prime position to influence the brand experience throughout that journey. Years of experience in executing successful, wide-scale activities in this manner will produce a skillset and outlook that adds an exceptional amount of value to top C-suite roles.

Start a conversation with Infinity today to see how we are already giving clients the customer journey clarity they need to drive exceptional levels of optimisation and ongoing improvement.

[1] https://www.infinity.co/uk/resources/news-and-views/seven-call-tracking-steps-to-constructing-the-digital-data-marketing-departments-of-the-future

[2] http://www.heidrick.com/Knowledge-Center/Publication/Route-to-the-top-2017

[3] https://www.chicagobooth.edu/magazine/blog/2015/patrick-doyle-visit

[4] https://www.infinity.co/uk/resources/news-and-views/6-of-ad-tech-london-2017-s-key-digital-marketing-optimisation-review-talking-points