The future of marketing communications

How has digital impacted on contemporary marketing models? Is social media is really changing things, or are we just seeing the same problems on a different platform? Is television still the pre-eminent medium for brand building? These were just some of the key issues covered at the launch of the new Master of Marketing Communications program, "The Future of Marketing Communications - a panel discussion".

With the transition from a mass-media based society to a networked society, digital media has rapidly impacted and increasingly integrated the marketing and communications fields. The Master of Marketing Communications, co-taught by Melbourne Business School and the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, seeks to teach students a combined approach to operate effectively in the sector.

Attended by a number of staff, students and alumni from Melbourne Business School, the panel discussion featured industry leaders including Stephen O'Farrell, co-founder and Director of The Royals, Clare Gleghorn, head of the corporate and public affairs team in Edelmen PR's Melbourne office, Hugh Stephens, Director of Dialogue Consulting, and Russel Howcroft, Executive General Manager of Network TEN, and regular marketing expert on The Gruen Transfer and Recipe to Riches.

Following the panel, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network with the panel speakers and other guests, while celebrating the launch of the new program with drinks and canap├ęs in the picturesque location by the edge of the Yarra.

For those of you with a passion for marketing communications and an interest in discovering more about the benefits and pitfalls of traditional versus digital media, or the challenges of integrated marketing communications, the panel discussion can be streamed online here.

If panel has whetted your appetite for more intense debate around the future of the marketing communications industry, learn more about our new Master of Marketing Communications program on our website or contact us directly.

Key lessons about 'The Future of Marketing Communications'

The panel covered the benefits and pitfalls of traditional versus digital media, the challenges of integrated marketing communications, and some insightful basic truths about the changing marketing communications industry. Here are our top four takeaways:

  1. Digital has expanded the sphere of competition for brands, from cereal to angry cats and beyond… Brands no longer compete only within their category. In response to this increasingly competitive environment, Edelman PR's Clare Gleghorn urges us to keep it simple. Ask yourself 'What's your purpose? Who's your audience? How can you build trust?' These questions are the key to building a successful campaign, no matter the channel or format.
  2. With new tools come new responsibilities and new problems…right? With the rise and fall of new social media platforms, companies are keen to have a presence on every  available channel. But, as Hugh Stephens, Director of Dialogue Consulting suggests, perhaps we are overcomplicating things for ourselves. Not all channels are for everyone. "As a business, if you can't think of 5 images to post on Instagram, you probably shouldn't be there", he says. When it comes to social media marketing, Stephens urges brands to "Do it well, or get out".
  3. Director of The Royals, Stephen O'Farrell, stresses the importance of retaining marketing communications professionals skilled at driving consumer engagement, loyalty and advocacy on behalf of brands. He warns us 'not to leave customer service to IT departments', and predicts greater opportunities for marketing communications professionals in the C-Suite (citing as his example the emergence of the 'sexy' title of 'Chief Marketing Technologist', the sits somewhere between the CMO and CIO and acts as a translator between the two).
  4. According to Russel Howecroft, Executive General Manager of Network TEN, above all else, marketing is the art of persuasion. "The critical skill in marketing is writing. It is about telling stories in a magical and creative way", he says. Communicating clearly, no matter the platform, should always be at the heart of your strategy.