Disrupt or Decline – notes from the lunch debate

This week we hosted a vibrant lunch debate at Barrafina in Covent Garden on marketing transformation. Together with senior marketers from prestigious brands, we discussed why traditional marketing teams are destined to transform or decline. 

After acknowledging the increasing chaos in today’s marketing landscape, we went straight to the heart of the matter. What is marketing transformation and what’s stopping companies from embracing it?

Brands have forgotten about their customers

Ambitious brands want to change the world, but sometimes they forget to focus on their customers’ journey along the way. If you’re not in tune with your customers, it will be difficult to gain or maintain their trust.

Connecting with your customers is a much bigger challenge now than most marketers will admit to. Brands struggle to keep up with their customers’ needs and try to solve this problem by relying on intuition. Instead, they should recognise the urgency to become data-driven and tackle uncertainties with tangible answers about their customers.

Brands need to build a customer first mentality if they want to survive.

Lead with humility

Leadership that is resistant to change limits marketing transformation success. Exploring new ways to achieve marketing goals can be costly and time-consuming. But we can’t continue with traditional methods in today’s new dynamics.

Many years of experience in the marketing field may result in having assumptions that stop brands from disrupting and innovating. Instead, assume you know nothing, or you’ll have a poorly thought through strategy before even properly considering which business problem you’re trying to solve.

You need to transform your marketing teams now

During the discussion, it became clear that another widespread cause of decline is the inefficiency of internal teams’ structure. Marketing, IT, Digital and Sales find it difficult to cooperate because information is not shared adequately and it isn’t in a common language that everybody understands.

The debate raised the idea that transformation is not so much about cross-functional teams as much as it is about cross-functional skills.

Although different teams have different expertise, they should all work more closely together and their different tasks should come together towards the same objective. Breaking the silos structure is now imperative. Teams need to focus their actions towards a common business goal – even better if the goal is the customer experience.

Conclusions from the debate

Marketing transformation means changing the mindset of your marketing team to be completely customer-centric. This can only be achieved through a more agile and cooperative structure. Disrupt before you’re disrupted.


If you’d like to tell us about your marketing transformation challenges, get in touch.