The increase in new channels and technologies has dramatically changed the environment in which marketers operate. But the way in which marketing is taught, understood and operates has not really changed.

This is not sustainable. We need a new unifying framework as a reference for what marketing has become.

Alongside this need for a new framework, there are new requirements for marketing competencies and capabilities around domains of expertise like data and analytics, customer experience, content, multichannel, and personalisation, which are neither properly understood nor being met. This is acknowledged in the marketing industry but not reflected in any definitive model.

Due to these changes, and the rise of digital, the marketing function is going through an existential crisis: it is not clear on its own remit, it does not know what skills it needs nor how to organise itself and it struggles to resolve a dislocation not only in how it interacts with other business functions but within itself with ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’ schisms.

In The Trouble with CMOs, recently published in the Harvard Business Review, we are reminded that CMOs have the highest turnover in the C-suite. They are in office for an average 4.1 years, compared to eight years for a chief executive, according to Korn Ferry analysis.

The relationship between the CEO and CMO is also troubled. A global survey by the Fournaise Marketing Group in 2012 set out the scale of the problem, revealing that 80% of CEOs do not trust, or are unimpressed with, their CMOs.

Why do marketing leaders have such short average tenures in their jobs? Because of poor job design resulting from confusion around what marketing actually does.

The Modern Marketing Model (M3)

There are serious repercussions if we cannot define and agree on a fresh start, a new paradigm. This is why the Modern Marketing Model (M3) was developed.

The Modern Marketing Model (M3)

Without a clear reference like M3 to help clarify an organisation’s expectations of what the marketing function does, we will continue to see turmoil that is damaging value.

If we cannot reconcile digital and classic marketing, then we will see further organisational silos, duplicated work and a lack of clarity and focus around roles and responsibilities which leads to inefficiency, frustration and bickering. Opportunities are missed and the growth that marketing, and the business, wants to deliver will by stymied.

For academia and providers of marketing education, it is important that what they teach is relevant and current with what the marketing industry and employing organisations require from their teams. We must encourage educators to update their courses and curricula with reference to a model like M3.

The diagrams below outline how popular marketing models have evolved over the last 60 years, culminating in the 10 elements of the Modern Marketing Model (M3) which we then show broken down into four stages: strategy, analysis, planning, execution.

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The evolution of the marketing model

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Competencies and capabilities aligned to M3 elements

In creating M3 we have not sought to create a brand new intellectual and conceptual vision of marketing processes or terminology. We believe this is not required and risks being difficult to understand and disconnected from marketing professionals’ real world. Rather we seek to clarify, structure, and make more consistent what are currently different dimensions and evolutions that we feel need to be brought together in a contemporary and holistic view.

There are many elements where the tactical and executional opportunities may have changed, largely because of digital, but which do not need renaming for the sake of it. Conceptually they are still valid and based on robust and enduring data, research and best practice. These elements include: marketing strategy, market / customer orientation, customer insight, brand, segmentation, targeting, positioning and integrated marketing communications. Even the change from ‘Place’ to ‘Distribution’ is slight.

Removing ‘Price’ as a core element will no doubt excite debate. In our experience price is rarely under the direct remit of the marketing function, except perhaps in FMCG businesses. Price is also still covered under other areas like “Brand & Value” and “Marketing Strategy”. M3 is designed to work for all marketers and many marketers are marketing something that has no price, like behavioural change.

We have changed “Product” to “Customer Experience” which may also be controversial. Our new description still covers classic product, or service, development and innovation but ‘Customer Experience’ is deliberately broader than just ‘product’ and covers services as well as the customer journey and experience around the product itself.

“Data & Measurement” is the only completely new element added. We believe data is now a marketing asset in itself (e.g. metadata, schemas) so needs to be considered part of the marketing mix. We now market to machines with data as well as to people. Marketing also now has more dedicated roles and capabilities around data, analytics, measurement and optimisation and these need to be a distinct domain of marketing competence.

In 2013, I helped develop the Modern Marketing Manifesto, an articulation of our beliefs that the marketing discipline should embrace digital and classic marketing. The Modern Marketing Model (M3) now creates a new framework for applying this thinking within organisations.

The Modern Marketing Model is a unifying force which fuses digital and classic marketing into one future-facing framework. This informs marketing’s remit, required competencies and organisational design.

M3 defines marketing in the digital age.

View the Modern Marketing Model (M3) and download your own copy. Watch Ashley Friedlein discuss the model in the video below.