Greenshoots at the CIM’s Marketing Confidence Summit

Last week we attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing‘s Marketing Confidence summit, which was hosted by Bloomberg.

And, as someone who works for a company that services the marketing and communications sector, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by the future prospects for the sector, for a number of reasons.

First off, the CIM’s Associate Director for Research and Insights Thomas Brown presented the last findings of their “Marketing Confidence Monitor”, a quarterly survey of confidence from UK marketers. This is the fourth quarter of the research, so now is a good time to look retrospectively at trends. As even a quick glance at the excellent infographic that accompanied their presentation would attest, most of the key indicators point to growing confidence in the sector.

A total of 44% of respondents said that they were “more confident” about business performance over the next twelve months, up from 38% back in October 2012. Similarly, those who said they were “less confident” fell from 24% to 19%. Similarly, 52% of marketers stated they were “more confident” in the macroeconomic picture for the next twelve months, up from 37% in October 2012, and those saying they were “less confident” decreased from 37% to 15%.

Next up was Markus Kramer, Global Marketing Director of Aston Martin. He shared his thoughts on how you build a world class marketing function. Within his presentation was an appreciation of the value of digital media in general to Aston Martin. It would initially seem counter intuitive, given that the average age of a new car buyer in Europe is in their early 50s. But Marcus pointed out that Aston Martin has over 2.5m likes on Facebook now. Moreover, the first customer touch point that Aston Martin has with its potential future customers is in computer games like Need for Speed. If established, venerable brands like Aston Martin are taking advantage of the opportunities that digital offers, it is clearly something of real value as a communications channel, and offers a significant growth opportunity for all.

The highlight of the day was probably Eva Eisenschimmel, CMO of Lloyds Banking Group. Of all sectors, banking is one which has faced significant challenges over the course of the last five years. However, Eva presented an exciting vision of Lloyds’ future – they are launching the TSB brand back onto the British high street, and will be re-positioning Lloyds under new name of Lloyds Bank, and a new corporate purpose to be “better for business, better for customers, better for Britain”.

Of the many great points Eva made in her presentation, two stood out for me. She said that marketers should “champion customer insight”, stating that true customer insight is an unending search, a permanent quest, for greater levels of understanding of what drives customers, their motivations and their decisions. She also stated that “measuring effectiveness”, proving the value add and the ROI from marketing activity is vital to the credibility of the marketing and communications function. I couldn’t agree more! Again, this gave me renewed confidence for the next twelve months as the social media analysis and research services offered by Precise sit right in this sweet spot – rigorous social media analysis can help you understand your customer better, and reveal insight previously not captured by traditional methodologies,  and it can help you demonstrate ROI from communications activity in real time. I believe that more organisations like Lloyd’s Banking Group will be looking for services like ours that will help them understand customers more deeply, and demonstrate ROI from campaigns in future.

There was quite a lot of activity on the day on Twitter, using the hashtag #MarketingConfidence if you didn’t manage to make the event, and you can register to watch a video stream of the event here.