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Introducing Response-able Marketing

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Design Toolkit (103-slide PowerPoint presentation). Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

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Respons-able marketing is an unexplored approach to the marketing function, yet it is likely to gain traction as we move from hunters, gatherers, hoarders, community builders to fixers. Exposure to all sets of people related to any business automatically becomes an area of marketing for the company. If only, we realize it. Perhaps that is the reason that everyone is looking to companies and businesses to solve problems that we continue to blame them for. Marketers then need to strategize looking at this growing trend of seeing them as fixers. Rise of cause related marketing, social development, good PR, awareness generating campaigns all indicate strong trend towards responsibility that marketers of the future should be prepared for. It’s getting less and less about visibility and ROI with parameters like impact, message gaining importance.

In this context, the responsibility breaks out literally into ‘response’ and ‘ability’.  Any marketing decision can be aided by the team’s ‘response’ – which needs to be in time, adequate if not delightful and mindful of the strategy. Marketing decisions can also be measured by ‘ability’ that of the team to deliver on the planned outcomes, also at every step building their abilities.

strategy_hoshin_planningA classic example used in marketing classrooms across the world is of price increase by competition, the decision of the other players can easily be sharpened by a quick, well-thought out response. If there is no price increase, the business can explain its decision versus letting the customers speculate. The reason for no increase could be that they are building their existing customer base to include price sensitive people as chunk of their premium customers move to the better price, perceived better value competitor’s product.  In other words, their decision builds on their ability to automatically tap into a lower segment market without actually strategizing for it. A tactical response which helps the company tip into an emerging segment- unplanned yet strategic.

Response-able marketing can also be applied to the new age technology driven companies. Social media is a good example of fast, thinking response engines. The nature of the interaction on social media discourages no-response, slow response or not thought out response. Initially social media strategy that hinges purely on audience will lose steam if it does not emphasize on abilities with each click. How can that be done? Simple, assessing campaigns on their ‘abilities’ along with the reach statistics that are instantly generated can help businesses decipher direction. For instance, lukewarm response from targeted customer segment and at the same time enthusiastic one by another can demonstrate the need for the company to redefine positioning. While, the statistics just show 40% reach, the marketer knows to delve deeper for impact.

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About Shelly Gandhi

Shelly Gandhi has worked in research, marketing strategy, and small brand management. She is keen to learn by reading and writing articles based on her own experiences, as well as those of her friends, co-workers, and subject matter experts. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

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