Customers. Donors. Players. Diners. Guests. Investors. Employees. Partners. Patrons. Readers. Viewers. Users. Shoppers. Students. Patients. Bosses. Drinkers. Gardeners. DIYers. Borrowers. Savers. Retirees. And citizens.
They wield influence. They vote with their feet. They can make - or break - a brand, a company, a president in 140 characters, fewer than five stars or just one unsmiley.
They have the media in their hands and they're raising their voices against intrusive advertising, poor products, inadequate services and exploitative businesses.
They're no longer content with being passive 'consumers' of what is considered by businesses to be good enough, or even good for them.
They want to have a conversation with the brands they choose.
They want to get involved in the making of the products, services and experiences they pay for.
And they want to have a say about whether they pay for them with their money, their time, their data or their influence.
More than anything, they want to do business with businesses who know that the only good profit comes from making the world around them richer too.
For them, we need a new kind of leadership in marketing
A leader who understands that digital isn't a department, a project or a job title
- but can make the impossible, possible in everything, everywhere, for everyone.
A leader who believes that we are not in the business of communication, but transformation
And one that knows that transformation isn't about technology, but about using technology to transform business, society, government, the economy, our cities and countryside, our world.
A leader who goes beyond creating the message to invent products, services, experiences and spaces that make more people happier, more of the time.
One who doesn't need big budgets, doesn't need to belong to multi-nationals, doesn't need big names above the door, doesn't need to hail from the capitals of the world to take on the world. But knows that greatness can come from doing the small things, differently, simply, smartly and with a conscience, every day.
Frankly, the new leader is one who doesn't just work for the business that employs them, but for the people that businesses serves.
If you're that new leader, we hope that's good news
Although we also recognise that means there are a few things you'll do differently.
You won't say what your board wants to hear, if it isn't what your customer needs.
You'll let them know if what you're being pressured to do by your shareholders will disappoint or compromise your customer.
You'll involve senior management across the organisation as you deploy your annual activity, but you'll also involve your staff, your customers, and those who would be your customers ... if only.
You'll always remember that your customer's data is their identity, their life and their possession -
and the only good use of it, is for their good, not just your company's.
You won't invent new technology-driven solutions for your customers without also remembering that doing so also comes with a responsibility for helping them to change their behaviour.
The bottom line? You'll never deliver an idea to market that makes your business a profit, if it isn't useful and valuable for your customers - or if it's at the expense of our world.
If you're that brave new leader in marketing, we'd love to work with you to harnessing storytelling, design, data and technology and co-create ideas that will do 3 things:
Change your business.
Change your customers' lives.
And change the world, or at least your corner of it.
To learn more about leadership in marketing, check out the IDM's Innovate You: Become a Modern Marketing Leader course.
Did you find this blog useful?
At the IDM we are passionate about educating marketers and providing resources to help advance your career.
Our learning and development team will be happy to advise based on your needs and requirements.