Let's start with a story that relates to marketing today. When my brother in-law was trying out for his high school basketball team, the coach sat all the players down at the end of one practice and asked them, "What is the most important statistic in all of basketball." My brother in-law, quite confident his answer would be correct, raised his hand and answered "Points scored." The coach stared at him for a few seconds and responded, "No. Offensive rebounds." For those of you who are familiar with basketball, you know that is a ridiculous statement – while offensive rebounds are important, the final score determines the winner, and thus is inarguably, the most important statistic in basketball.
For marketing, the customer is the final score
Today in marketing we are in an exciting phase with so much change happening, but also so much opportunity. The current atmosphere is a scary proposition for some, yet energizing for others. This energy has brought enthusiasm to many areas within marketing that are touted as "the most important." While areas like marketing technology, big data and analytics, and content marketing are INCREDIBLY important, ultimately, they are only a portion of marketing and not the full picture. In the end the most important "statistic" is the customer. The buyer ultimately judges and scores you, so remember, how well you provide value to your customer will determine whether you win or lose.
Highlighting this customer focus, in our 11th annual marketing barometer survey we asked over 75 senior level marketing executives to "compose a tweet on the future of marketing." We then took those answers and created a word cloud (see above). Low and behold, the two largest words that came up were "Customer" and "Buyer". These executives, whether intentional or not, understand that the customer/buyer will determine the final score. So remember, while different marketing practices may have incredibly important functions, in the overall game of business, they are all just offensive rebounds.
Follow Sam Melnick on Twitter @SamMelnick