By Sharvari Alape
Over the past few years, we have seen companies consolidating the Chief Marketing Officer roles into “chief growth officer” and other titles that incorporate commercial and sales posts.
Hence, the layoff of 400 marketing employees by Uber, made last week, was just another hit in the wall by some who see companies are drifting away from the traditional marketing teams?
Marketing has been a necessity within a company as the department brings in various aspects of reaching out to the audience. From brand awareness to brand loyalty, marketing can always add that element to make a brand more exciting.
In a 2017 piece, that she wrote for Forbes.com, author and customer experience futurist, Blake Morgan, asked whether products and services are strong enough to survive without marketing. She said “marketing is enough to entice people to try it and maybe even repeat their business.”
But is that case now?
In list published by HubSpot, this year, generating traffic and while providing ROI of marketing activities are the top marketing challenges faced by companies.
If having marketing department did not help solve these challenges, hence generate further profits, it becomes a reason for displeasure over the marketing department, experts say.
“Companies are realizing that outsourcing marketing to agencies is much more economical and efficient,“ said Houda Naji, CEO, Younoh Media to Communicate. What Naji meant is that the marketing teams are easily disposed if the cost of maintaining the team is high.
Hence, there is a stress on the marketing managers who must be quick to adapt to real-time changing consumer needs in an agile model. Zahi Lawand, Deputy Managing Director at Mindshare UAE, supports this thought by explaining further that companies need to ensure their marketing teams are fully involved in the business and operations. He adds “as this will only empower and get them to create better marketing strategies and business solutions.”
Lawand explains further that those marketers that are not geared or skilled to take companies to this new era are now under a lot of pressure to deliver short term results.
“There could be a lot more layoffs to be seen in the future as companies are transforming to keep up with the changing new consumer dynamics based on the given economic conditions,” he adds.
As opposed to the traditional profit mentality, many experts have said that the new business model today addresses the need for adding value.
Dr Odekhiren Amaize, Professor of Advertising and Marketing Communication at The Canadian University Dubai argues that marketing departments need to become involved in long-term strategic planning, “particularly one that is less focused on constantly maximizing immediate growth and profit,”Dr Amaize said.
He added that “Uber and companies in the same boat are simply experiencing and exemplifying a natural instability of the capitalist system of diminishing surplus value produced by surplus labour.”
Dr Amaize believes that the need for “agents” between producers and consumers will not be eliminated any time soon. However, companies should adjust to the ongoing shift in the cultural landscape that embraces ethics and sustainable behaviour in the business.