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  1. A problem shared is a problem halved

As marketers, we know that the one of the key aims of marketing is not only to be able to differentiate our offering from that of the competition, but to then be able to communicate this to our target audience too.

However, as the marketing mix has grown to comprise ever more techniques, the ways in which we can communicate with our audiences have grown significantly.

Indeed, the learning curve for marketers is at its steepest ever – but in the best possible way.

With the continued evolvement of digital marketing and the huge opportunity that the internet of things and big data represent, to name just a few, we’re faced with some incredibly exciting times when it comes to marketing innovation and good practice.

Never before have we witnessed the development of such innovative marketing techniques to help acquire or retain customers.

From virtual reality to the use of voice-recognition, there are so many new marketing skills for marketers to learn to help achieve their marketing and business development aims.

However, as is often the case with new technology and ideas, early adopters tend to be those with the budgets to support creativity and innovation.

But if you’re not a Google with whole departments dedicated to trial and error in innovation, how can you learn from the latest marketing ideas?

It comes back to good practice and learning from others by sharing our problems, the latter of which was done very well by P&G, where R&D Manager, Mike Addison, helped pioneer their Open Innovation programme.

The programme shared P&G’s problems and challenges externally and, ultimately, it led P&G and its collaborators to find together which would enable both to profit from the solutions they identified and implemented.

When asked by EMC about the programme, Addison told us:  “The Open Innovation approach was certainly novel for P&G which, until it was adopted, had been renowned for its secrecy.

However, without a clear route by which we could profit from our openness, it would never have worked.

“The concept itself was simple one – open innovation had communication at its heart, and I knew from experience that by bringing together like-minded people from a variety of industries and occupations, it would spark ideas and solutions to problems through conversation.”

Sadly, transparency in problem sharing and good practice is something that us marketers have historically not been very good at. After all, who wants to tell their competition how to compete with them?

However, as our ethics and standards as a sector have evolved, so too has our professionalism and willingness to learn from each other – something which has been spearheaded by marketing professional associations around the globe.

As a result, we’ve seen more and more marketing associations proactively seek opportunities to share good practice – something that we very much champion here at EMC.

For many years, we have recognised the importance of opening up dialogue between marketing member associations, and our aim through the creation of EMC over 30 years ago, was to help nurture successful marketing partnerships for mutual learning between our members.

By being a member of EMC, marketing associations can facilitate knowledge transfer for the benefit of their members which extends not just across sectors and industries, but across borders too.

This is exactly we’ll be doing later this month at the EMC Annual Forum, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall in the United Kingdom.

The forum is an opportunity for attendees to open up about their organisations in order to share knowledge – both the successes of their innovations and those projects which haven’t gone as well.

Sessions will explore how to development winning content strategies for marketing associations, how marketers can help business leaders to understand the contribution that marketing makes to the success of their organisation, and the importance of putting marketing qualifications at the centre of success.

If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with other marketing professionals and membership associations, there are a limited number of places remaining for senior leaders in marketing professional bodies.

To register for this free event, contact Sandra Verweij at sverweij@emc.be or call + 32 2 742 17 80.