Traditional tactics prove hard to abandon despite a radically altered environment

TORONTO–New research shows that Canadian marketers have been slow to respond to new business and brand reputation realities.

According to new data from CMO Lab, a joint research project from APEX Public Relations, ruckus Digital and Maru/Blue, more than half (53 per cent) of senior-level marketers in Canada have not changed or evolved their marketing strategies in the last few years despite radical shifts in consumer behaviour and spending, the continued growth of digital platforms and the steady decline of conventional media.

“Canada’s marketers are falling behind when it comes to integrated branded communications, as part of an overall marketing strategy,” said Kenneth Evans, Managing Partner, APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. “Marketers who fail to evolve and shift from traditional tactics to a strategic and integrated approach are putting their organizations’ brand reputations at-risk, as conventional marketing no longer delivers the audience, engagement or impact that brands need today.”

With increased responsibilities over data and insights, technology, customer experience, culture and brand reputation, the role of the chief marketer has evolved significantly over the last decade and is now one of the most influential roles in an organization. To retain their position of influence and their seat at the executive table, CMOs must evolve, incorporating new strategies and tactics to succeed in today’s environment.

According to the survey, reputation risk is top of mind with Canadian CMOs:

> 90% of CMOs surveyed indicate that the way their brand or organization is perceived publicly has become more important in recent years

> 64% said they are not fully prepared to adjust their marketing strategies if faced with a reputational threat

> 55% of those who had experienced a reputational threat said that they could have been more proactive and better prepared to respond more quickly

It’s clear from the research that PR and other communication experts bear some responsibility for this situation and must do a better job in demonstrating the value of an integrated approach to help CMOs drive programming in areas that are outside of their traditional area of focus including employee and stakeholder engagement, brand reputation management and corporate social responsibility,” continued Evans.

In addition to sharing ongoing quantitative and qualitative research, CMO Lab will feature first-hand insights in the form of video, a podcast and articles from top Canadian and global marketers highlighting how they are responding to change.

“Given the growing concerns about reputation, marketers should be doing more to protect their brand by thinking broadly and incorporating an integrated approach to their marketing,” said Lisa Valade-DeMelo from Maru/Blue. “CMOs are in the perfect position to adapt quickly and CMO Lab is a great resource to help get them started.”

The online survey, conducted in May 2018, polled 100 Canadian CMOs or other decision makers in the marketing function using Maru/Blue’s Maru Voice Canada online panel.

APEX and ruckus Digital represent a collective of experienced, smart and creative communicators. Our unmatched 20-year track record of award-winning campaigns, client retention and client satisfaction are a testament to our ability to get it right, over and over again. Our work extends to all sectors, with a concentration on consumer brands, corporate and B2B, technology and reputation management

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