Latest industry views and advice

January 27

Is it possible to build an ultimate marketing machine?

How to Build the Ultimate Marketing Machine is the name Marc de Swaan Arons, Co-Founder of Effective Brands, gave his best-selling marketing book. But is this just a book title rather than a realistic objective?

Several organisations studied year-on-year what approach award winning companies took to marketing and data was collated across 92 countries and from over 10,000 marketers. They called it Marketing 2020 and the results have given us an insight into marketing in the digital age, but what exactly does it say?

Marketing in the digital age

Marketing has changed and the brand characteristics that we see creating marketing excellence and business growth are now more dynamic and digitalised.

The award winning companies:

  • Have insights that drive competitive advantages,
  • Position themselves and their products with purpose-based benefits – functional, emotional, societal – using the insights to position themselves to the best advantage,
  • Provide the total experience – numerous touch points for customers, personalise the experience, have a number of customer experiences that revolve around the brand.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg when looking at how these companies continue to be successful. Beyond that, they are organised in a way that encourages and enhances their growth.

They connect:

The most effective marketing teams have connections both internally and externally from the company that influence the business strategy. This was evident in the study because the number of marketing teams working closely with CEOs has gone up 20% in 7 years.

They inspire:

The study also found that the companies that engaged and inspired their staff demonstrated far better business results.

They agree and are focused:

This rings true for companies where all leaders, at every level of the company, agreed on the strategy and had better outcomes. If everyone is focused on the same goal, the goal will be achieved more quickly.

They organise:

The study showed that orchestration and integration were key to organising the business and all the departments into focusing on working towards a common goal. 

They build:

In short, building marketing capabilities is what feeds business growth. The study showed that the marketing capabilities of a company had the strongest correlation to that company’s revenue growth, brand reputation and, of course, marketing ROI.

The keys to marketing success? 

  • The digital age, the era of the internet – however you wish to describe it – has born ‘generation why’ – the generation of people that see the internet as a reason for companies to be honest and clear in their motives and marketing and this is something we must all recognise.
  • We need to value social media and experiment with it as those award winning companies have. There will be success, there will be failure but generation ‘why’ is forgiving of these failures as long as transparency continues.
  • Marketing needs to engage and embrace the entire organisation. It is far more effective that way rather than ‘going it alone’.
  • Companies need to see and understand the value of building on their marketing capability; it has been proven to drive growth which is, of course, of value to the business.


Are these the keys to the Ultimate Marketing Machine? Put them into the door and open it – you might just find out.

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