Adam Sanocki, Managing Partner in Attention Marketing consulting company, President of Attention Marketing Institute
It is my impression that in the field of communication Polish companies spent the last few years pulling and pushing the border between the areas of influence of marketing and PR divisions on one hand, and sales departments on the other. Despite the growing importance of marketing and PR in the world, in my opinion, in Poland we are experiencing only just and illusion of building corporate strategies based on marketing. The smallest crises, or just forecasts thereof, in many cases turn expansion strategies into survival plans, reallocating all company’s vital resources to the hardline rule of the sales divisions. That’s what was happening in Poland until as late as 2015. Recently we have been able to feel that working according to the sales hardliners’ rule is over, which may mean that the Polish companies are getting their second wind after the crisis. Making marketing or PR divisions involved in sales operations is still widespread but it no longer dominates the divisions’ activity. Then, what is actually the job of marketing and PR divisions? Regrettably, majority of them have retreated to their comfort zones and keep doing the same things they did one, two or three years before. Companies in Poland are still lacking the courage to experiment or apply innovative solutions and awareness, if any, of world trends does not translate into following and applying those trends. Thus, just like every year, new possibilities and solutions emerge faster than the Polish companies are able to implement them. The market still needs proper education in this field. It is embarrassing that over three quarters of marketing or PR divisions in medium and large companies in Poland do not measure the results of their actions. So how will it look this year?
The Client’s Era
I think that in the area of communication this year and the following years will be strongly dominated by the current Era of the Client. We will witness continuously growing importance of, on one hand, reaching our target group (tracking the consumer’s “travel” and choosing the right tools to reach the consumer) and, on the other, the right content which – once we reach the target – will help evoking the consumer’s interest. As we know, this is not that simple today. And next year it is going to be even harder, given for instance the EU law which, starting from 2018, will impose significant constraints on advertisement targeting as a consequence of the General Data protection Regulation coming into force.
We are now trying to attract the Client’s attention by slightly altering our approach to communication. When speaking about effective communication we more and more often put aside the division into B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) and see, in our Clients, first of all, human beings and their needs. I believe this trend is going to dominate even stronger.
It’s the values, stupid!
Growing consumer awareness is forcing manufacturers and brands to deeply and truly commit themselves to building their businesses focusing on satisfying real needs and solving true problems as well as to society-oriented activity. Then all you need to do is to communicate ;)
In times when the struggle for the Clients’ attention is so tough, the impaired trust in communication as such – and that’s what we are facing more and more often – is not helping. From the perspective of marketing and PR I would not ignore the growing conviction that we are all dominated by information consisting of half-truths or manipulations based on emotions. Perhaps, in many aspects of our lives, we will witness a decisive turn towards true values. Definitely, a clearly noticeable remedy for that is the growing importance of social live feeds or trends like mobile journalism. This is also showing how important it is for marketing and PR divisions to know what is happening throughout the company. The ability to successfully present oneself in the media or crisis management skills may become even more important than last year.
Everything that matters, matters more
Let us have a look at the employee’s market, for instance. When fighting for true talents, companies more and more often, compete by offering not the well-worn benefit packages but their organisational culture, the feeling that what you do truly matters. And very often such an approach wins. This reveals the growing significance of internal communication or employer branding in this forthcoming year. And although we have talked about it for years, I feel that this year will finally force companies to truly work these matters out. Obviously, communication inside the company may still be underestimated, but in my opinion this simply does not pay.
One level down
When the content is valuable and attractive it becomes needed. Content marketing has been widely present in Poland and is still growing. The challenge will be to show it in an even more attractive manner. Cooperation with influencers will still be of some importance. I think that in 2017 we will walk one level down with this and the role of microinfluencers will grow even more. They will be closer to their targets and will likely evoke greater trust. In fact, the micro level seems to be gaining importance in general. We not only cooperate with better prepared and flexible small organisations (instead of large networks) but we create many micro sites and profiles for our products or services. In this world people are seeking authenticity and hence, this walking down and direct communication will, in my opinion, become more and more important.
In this commentary I have used the results of studies of marketing and PR activities of Polish companies which PMR Research conducted in 2013 and 2015. Thank you for granting access to them.