As The Oxford College of Marketing celebrates turning 20, Managing Director Jane Young reflects on some of the key marketing changes in the last 20 years.

Marketing has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Arguably a lot of the theory has stayed the same like the marketing planning process and putting the customer at the centre of the organisation; but what’s really changed is just how many more organisations are working to become marketing oriented and, in the Boardroom, the recognition of the contribution marketing makes. So what are the key marketing changes?

The increasing focus on metrics

Metrics mean marketers have become more accountable. Over the last 10 years or so the rise in the application of marketing metrics has enabled marketers to gain more credibility as truly contributing to the bottom line. As the marketing team understands the impact of their decisions, the other functions in the organisation are more willing to work with them to produce positive results.

Marketing embedded across the organisation

Many organisations are recognising that working in silos hampers progress; marketers can work with other functions to increase cross organisational working, bringing synergy and cost effectiveness to corporate strategy.

Digital disruption

We’ve seen the green revolution; we’ve witnessed the growth in ethical businesses; and the immersion in corporate social responsibility. But one of the biggest marketing changes in the last 20 years is the advancement in digital technology. Marketers have to embrace the concept of digital disruption and comprehend the opportunities and threats it brings; if they don’t a smaller, more flexible competitor may well creep up behind them and steal market share.

The growing power of the consumer

As digital technology is adopted and used more widely, the power of consumers grows; and with that the realisation that customer centricity is no longer something to pay lip service to, but a strategic approach that needs to be adopted across the company in order to ensure success. Marketers are instrumental in ensuring this happens. Monitoring changes in the business environment is even more important than ever before; change is happening faster and more frequently, which means organisations need to be fluid in their response in order to maintain a competitive edge.

Big Data is getting bigger

Storing, manipulating, analysing and evaluating market intelligence is another one of the big marketing changes in the last 20 years. Big Data is here to stay; marketers need to be able to use it to their advantage, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if you are using it inside your organisation, so too are your competitors. It’s become a race to the line to see who can find the golden nugget of information that will open up the next opportunity or minimise the next threat.

What’s next for marketing?

So what can we expect in the next 20 years? More marketers embedded across organisations with an increasingly strategic role? Marketing as a true philosophy with a deep understanding of the customer? Marketing as the function that gets to grip with how the whole organisation can work as customer facing entity? Marketing as the “go to” function for what’s happening in the wider business environment? I’d say all of these and more.

Share with us what you think the biggest marketing changes have been in the last 20 years by tweeting us @Oxcom_Marketing