Most brands still don’t understand marketing, study finds

January 15, 2018 by Aimee

According to a new study published by Marketing Week, grasping the concept of marketing and the value of content continues to be a blind spot for brands in numerous sectors and industries. About a third of the marketers surveyed said their organisation completely misunderstands the practice.

The Career and Salary Survey takes an in-depth look at many topics, such as diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, but the latest study has highlighted what appears to be a general lack of knowledge about the primary functions of marketing and how it can and should benefit the company.

More than one third of those surveyed said their company’s marketing strategy was completely at odds with objectives and goals, and a common trend is that many key decision-makers are focusing on creative and promotional material as an investment only, rather than considering it a flexible activity capable of driving customer engagement, retention and other positive business outcomes.

It is perhaps no surprise that agencies are ahead of the rest in terms of marketing comprehension, as more than half said it is completely understood within their company. The gaming and gambling sector and fast-moving consumer goods enterprises also show an aptitude for understanding marketing’s main purpose.

However, there were some surprising statistics at the other end of the scale, as just 47.5% of marketers in travel and leisure could say the same about their brand, which is rather low considering how important content can be for connecting with consumers at the right time and driving sales.

Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs said. “It’s an industry where communication plays a key role. It’s a very competitive consumer category, so communicating what your product is, what the value is and your proposition to your target consumer is central to every single travel business.”

The report also found that marketing was often misunderstood by employees and departments outside of creative, communications and PR, which means many are acting in isolation and therefore are unable to bring the various functions of a business together to amplify the effectiveness of marketing.

Several industries where marketing is most misunderstood include construction and property and the utilities sector. More than a third of marketers with job roles at media owners, which are typically larger corporations, also said marketing was still viewed as a foreign concept by executives and employees.

UKTV CMO Zoe Clapp said: “Marketing is such a central function to grow the business and to fully understand consumers, so that figure needs to be much, much higher. Part of the problem is the language marketers use. We use so much jargon and what we’re trying to do is a very simple thing: we’re trying to grow market share and grow the business.”

Clapp also touched on the topic of eliminating silos, adding that UKTV always communicates with the entire organisation and that all disciplines work in tandem to improve their marketing skills to benefit the overall business and drive growth.