Perspectives from ISB

Presented By: Professor Sundar Bharadwaj, The Coca Cola Company Chair Professor of Marketing, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
Date: December 10, 2020
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Compiled by Minal Agarwal, Manager ISB-CBM

Professor Sundar Bharadwaj presented a webinar for ISB-CBM based on his latest research article ‘Is your Marketing organisation ready for what next?’

With the rapid growth of technology and social media, the marketing of products and services has changed profoundly. Marketing firms are grappling with the issue of implementing a marketing strategy that works best for their firm. While traditional marketing focuses more on the company’s product or service, modern marketing is more customer oriented. Today, a firm can create a whole new set of knowledge with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics. Coca-Cola made a host of new products from the feedback given by their customers through the many available technology tools.

However, this has posed challenges for a lot of firms that have deeply entrenched traditional skills. They need to update their skill sets to engage with their next generation customers by leveraging technology as well as social media. Most of these companies add new verticals for social media and performance marketing and hire new people with these new skill sets. However, working in the resulting silos can lead to uncoordinated efforts across teams. Therefore, firms need to know how to link these verticals and work in unison to deliver value.

Marketing organisations should not just think about creating value for their customers but also work on creating value for their own organisation. Based on the research, Professor Bharadwaj suggested a strategy and framework that marketing firms should use to create value both for their customers and their own organisation.

Following are three marketing value areas for creating value for consumers:

• Exchange Value: Companies can match their offerings to the individual customer’s needs and context to facilitate the transaction. JustFab, a clothing manufacturing company based in the USA, uses machine learning and related algorithms to customize their offerings for their individual customers.

• Experience Value: Companies can identify their customers’ pain points and create a strategy to minimize them by increasing convenience and enjoyment across their entire journey. Fly Delta introduced intuitive airport wayfinding to minimize their customers’ pain points with a digital interface and mobile app. Customers can know with the help of an app, how long it will take to reach the airport, how long the queue is for check-in, location of a nearby coffee shop, and other information useful to the customer.

• Engagement Value: Companies need to redesign their process to make it more engaging for their customers and employees, allowing them to grow. Chobani, an American flavored Greek yogurt company, created a community and meaning around its offerings to infuse a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their employees. In return, this helped them grow their business from just a dairy product company to include many more offerings.

Based on their customers’ requirements and what weightage they give to these aspects; companies can decide a combination of strategies to implement from the above three.

The following are three marketing value areas for creating value for the firm:
• Strategic value: Traditionally, companies have focused more on introducing new products and offers for generating a new revenue stream. However, a new business model and marketing model innovation can help them leverage their ecosystem and grow.
• Operating value: Companies need to facilitate strong and more flexible organizational links within various departments to nurture speed and synergies to drive growth.
• Knowledge value: Value can be created by building and leveraging information loops to increase causal understanding and expand resource optimization.

To summarise, companies need to focus on the following three steps to design a modern marketing organisation:
1. Define the mission of the organisation: The Value proposition of marketing defined by the goals it will serve and the accountabilities it will own for the company.
a. What is the role of marketing?
b. What existing capabilities to upgrade or downgrade?
c. What individual competencies/skills to train?
d. Whether to insource or outsource?
e. What new capabilities to build?
f. What new talent/partners are needed?
2. Assess the fit: The people, process and tech areas that marketing needs to be great at leading or supporting in order to deliver on its mission.

3. Design the change: The formalization of functional areas, reporting lines, and allocation of roles, responsibilities, and decision rights.