The seven Ps of marketing modernisation

by Tom Adams Experience Centre Leader, PwC UK

Email +44 (0)7889 654659

A recent report from Gartner identified the need for CMOs to build a more agile marketing organisation and the seven practices that make it possible.

From our experience, this agility depends on a marketing modernisation that requires a wholesale change to people, processes and technologies. Whatever platforms are being used, marketers have to consider multiple simultaneous shifts:

  • Embedding technology into the way you work - across strategy, execution and reporting - requires new skills and processes sometimes alien to the marketing function.
  • Changes to your operating model can be challenging - marketing, sales and service become more seamlessly linked, agency partner relationships change, new capabilities are needed in-house - from data science to media buying.
  • Building direct and real-time relationships with consumers and customers feels different for some organisations, can be daunting and creates new opportunities and risks.
  • Well-established creative brand building, management and communications models are challenged - you move from commissioner to publisher; from communicator to brand experience manager.
  • Media investment decisions become more dynamic, automated and shift towards digital channels - creating a complex feeling of being both more and less in control.
  • Data becomes more vital, but now there’s so much data it’s hard to know how to gather, interpret and act on it in a valuable way or within the important shifts happening in data privacy and management.

In fact, real marketing modernisation requires a shift in all of the capabilities that make marketing work, from market sensing to customer relationship and brand management to strategic marketing planning and functional capabilities across the entire marketing mix, in everything from pricing to product and promotion. And it doesn’t stop at marketing. Multiple parts of contemporary organisations are involved in customer strategy and experience.So here are my own ‘Seven Ps of marketing modernisation’ to guide you through the challenges, based on recent experiences:

1. Painful

Change is often personal and requires courage and taking some calculated risks, as well as admitting you don’t know. Seek information and ask questions of peers, consultants, colleagues, technology companies and be prepared to do some studying.  

2. Political

Who owns the customer is an age old debate. But if you agree with the Chartered Institute of Marketing definition, it’s Marketing(!), so set out the stall and find the evidence you need to show how you’re best placed to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements profitably. Make sure you’re collaborating openly with colleagues across the customer value chain and designing your approach around customer needs, rather than functional power structures.

3. People-centred

Your team are excited about new ways to reach and motivate customers, but less excited about what these changes mean for their job, their skills and mastery of their discipline. Bring them along in the change and set out a clear vision showing how they will benefit and free up the time they will need to do it.

4. Predictive

Instead of looking retrospectively at marketing effectiveness, start to anticipate and model what consumers and customers want, how to help them on their journeys and communicate with them in the most relevant way in the most relevant channel. Bringing data science into your marketing practice in a way that informs real marketing investment decisions, as well as broader business issues like demand forecasting, means leaving less of that strategy and execution to media and other agency partners.

5. Personal

Where before we thought in terms of segments and communications, now marketing has the power to relate at an individual level with customers and consumers from advertising and sales to service. Flexing between broadcast messaging and individual case management is the new reality.

6. Puzzling

If your modernisation is enabled by technology, you’ll definitely be confronted by a baffling range of new acronyms and new platforms and tools that seem hard to use, not least because of their sheer complexity. But persevere, as this steep learning curve for you and the function will certainly pay off.

7. Profitable

Get all of this right and you’ll make more accurate, more real-time marketing decisions that drive sales and customer lifetime value. You’ll also be able to measure and report effectiveness in a way that builds the business case for ongoing marketing investment - finally demonstrating that marketing should be seen as profit making, rather than an internal cost, to the business.


by Tom Adams Experience Centre Leader, PwC UK

Email +44 (0)7889 654659

Read more articles on