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Follow the North Star! Mark Wilson, former CMO of Blackberry explains why the customer will always drive marketing plans

Clive Armitage

June 01, 2022

Against a backdrop of continual development and evolution in technology, tools and platforms to help marketers better analyse, execute and report, there is one true north star of marketing that the passage of time has never changed. The customer.

So believes Mark Wilson, former CMO of Blackberry, when we chatted with him recently about his views on the changing marketing landscape for our Agents of Change series.

With a marketing career spanning decades, and working with some of the technology industry’s most respected global brands, including Sybase, Avaya, KPMG and AT&T, Mark explained that, whether working in marketing in the 1960s, 1980s or today, what should never have changed is a healthy obsession with the customer.  Who are they?  What do they care about?  What are their burning needs?

He went on to describe how, thanks to digitization in marketing, marketers can now better deliver on plans that contribute to demanding overall business growth targets, and this has earned them the right to sit at the top table.  But this business growth will nevertheless stem from putting the customer at the heart of any activity, aided by adopting an account-centric approach to marketing.  Advances in technology platforms and tools have enabled marketing to align more closely with sales teams to better identify buying groups within customer organizations.

When pushed to visualise the future of marketing, although Mark predicted an ability to automate marketing plans from a tactics, engagement and spend perspective, he nevertheless stipulated that only 85% of the plan could – or should – ever be automated.  However sophisticated the technology gets, that final 15% should be taken up with a human focus on the customer and their need.  The customer, after all, will always remain the true north star of marketing!

Agent3’s Agents of Change series is a thought leadership platform for business leaders and pioneers to discuss how to drive sustainable success in a changed world. To listen to the interview with Mark Wilson in its entirety, click here.

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