Alex Aiken on why 2019 is the Year of Marketing

Blog post by Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communication

Thursday 2 May 2019

The importance of government communication is never to be underestimated - the work we do shapes opinions and improve lives across the country. It is also undeniable that the climate in which we operate today demands increasingly clear and strong marketing from government, and we are committed to challenging ourselves and our ways of working to meet these demands.

Alex Aiken headshot

This brings me to why 2019 is an important year for government marketers – we are launching the GCS Year of Marketing.

In short, the Year of Marketing will be a series of learning opportunities for government communicators to develop their marketing skills and capabilities through a range of events and activities on offer throughout 2019. Through cross-government dialogue, we will look at creating a new approach to marketing based on the opportunities of the future. Ensuring that the right people have the right skills and tools to deliver the best possible campaigns with the citizen at the heart.

The profession of marketing is rapidly changing; data, technology and digital capabilities are allowing marketers to explore a never before seen level of insight in audiences. It is an exciting time to be part of this industry and we, as an innovative and forward-thinking marketing profession, are ready to challenge ourselves and push our limits.

We want to ignite the conversation around marketing. As such, we have launched a thought-piece created by Senior Government Marketers on some of the predictions on how constantly evolving societal and technological changes over the next few years may impact marketing. Particularly as our audience changes; by 2025 over half the UK workforce will be Millenials.

We must consider how our marketing and communications must change to serve the expectations of the digital-first majority. However, it is not only Millenials who will lead the conversation, our current technological revolution affects all generations and we are seeing changes to our working patterns and even our leisure time. Our predictions, as outlined in this thought-piece, include the following opportunities:

  • The data opportunity – as our world is being rebuilt by better use of data and advanced analytic techniques, there is chance to harness relevant and appropriate data to give the best citizen experience;
  • The customer experience opportunity – with increasing application of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, we are able to interact with our citizens in more seamless and intuitive ways;
  • The channel opportunity – shifting media consumption habits can lead the a broader blend of channels and engagement opportunities to deliver short, medium, and long-term outcomes;
  • The platform opportunity – as our citizens continue to use various online platforms, marketers will look towards creating and implementing long-term platform-specific strategies;
  • The trust opportunity – recognising how brands build trust with their consumers by helping them navigate misinformation and ensuring appropriate use of their data;
  • The creative opportunity – ensuring that creative ideas cut-through a world where more decisions are influenced and automated using technology.

However, while there are many exciting opportunities, we recognise that these changing trends are challenging, making it sometimes more difficult to achieve cut-through and reach the public. As government communicators, it is essential that we adapt, learn and counteract these trends. Most importantly, communication is fundamental to building trust and a relationship between government and the citizen.

This thought-piece is just the beginning of the conversation that touches upon the implications for government. We need colleagues to help lead this conversation over the next year – critiquing and evolving our predictions based on their experience of Government Marketing. We want your input; how will these opportunities lead to change and, ultimately, move towards a renewal of our profession that ensures marketing meets the challenges of the 2020s and as, in the past 100 years helps improve, save and enhance the lives of those we serve.

I look forward to what the GCS Year of Marketing will bring to our profession and I encourage your participation and involvement in the exciting activities and discussions the team are planning for 2019.

Read the Year of Marketing thought-piece from senior government marketeers (5MB).

Visit the Year of Marketing page on the GCS website.