A funny thing happened on the way to digital. Marketing started looking like Communications and Communications started acting like Marketing. Now for the purists, I’m not juxtaposing the need to uphold corporate efficacy and policy nor am I diminishing the important role of customer experience and sales. Rather, I’m speaking from the perch of rethinking how opinion is formed, where advocacy can be found, how insights shape thinking, and the importance of relevance in an organization’s strategic direction.

The wall that once separated both functions no longer exists. It simply can’t in a digital world where customers and employees are in control. So, what does this  new paradigm mean for professionals in each area? From my vantage point, there are at least 6 specific pathways to explore that now envelop both marketing and communications:

  1. Analytics and Insights are changing how Communications conducts business including strategy, programming, outreach, messaging, and measurement. This has replaced intuition (gut) and outdated metrics resulting in a more strategic approach.
  2. Relevance is the new north star for both. For companies and brands, aligning business with societal and individual expectations is critical to success. But Relevance is also about listening to the marketplace where it resides. Brands can’t communicate relevance, only customers and employees can.
  3. Influence shapes opinion and behavior. Given information patterns driven by social behavior, pinpointing influence along the purchase journey provides a roadmap for cultivating interest.
  4. Story Dominates.  People won’t follow you if they don’t know you.  Getting your story right and integrating it into your product portfolio and service model to tell a clear, cohesive narrative draws people into your organization.  It must begin with a distinct and relatable mission.
  5. The growing use of AI. Changing basic tasks and unleashing creativity are just the tip of technology’s influence.
  6. User Experience. It’s not about tactics and techniques, the goal is to completely envelop the customer in your ecosystem.

Digital changes everything and as such it’s important to see its impact on critical areas of business.  As Marketers and Communicators, this is an unprecedented time to embrace the revolution upon us.  It’s a time of learning, experimentation, collaboration, data, technology, and insight now inform thinking and point-of-view.

But the real benefit is that marketers and communicators are now working together to accomplish one thing: organizational success!

And that’s the most meaningful experience!


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