Captivating on all channels: Today’s demands on good marketing

Witty or touching, loud or quiet, visionary or nostalgic – advertising is multifaceted and has to reinvent itself again and again, especially due to the rapid digital developments of recent years. Which strategies actually pay off? Let’s ask a professional: ISM professor Meike Terstiege, an expert in PR and digital marketing, is on the jury for this year’s Effie Awards. For over 30 years, this prize has been awarded to the most successful communication campaigns in Germany in terms of efficiency.

Prof. Terstiege, what are you most looking forward to as a jury member at the Effie Awards?

I’m particularly looking forward to unusual campaigns that are not only above-average in terms of creativity and inspiration, but also in terms of impact. At the Effie, the focus is on the efficiency of the campaigns. So it’s less about personal taste in communication, but rather about the comprehensible and valid proof of a campaign’s power regarding marketing factors such as activation, brand image or brand experience.

How has advertising changed in recent years? What does it have to achieve more or differently from before?

Superficially, many correct and important marketing topics are constantly being given new terms: Advertising is communication, slogans become claims. This often means as much as “old (but excellent) wine in new bottles”. At the same time, digitization and artificial intelligence are driving, but also forcing marketing forward – which does not necessarily hurt the industry. Therefore, the real changes take place in the stringent cross-linking of communication and distribution channels, the keyword here is omnichannel marketing. On the other hand, we as consumers are developing at a rapid pace – we are simultaneously enlightened prosumers, sophisticated propagandists, curious critics, “mainstream” individualists and seducible fans of brands. Today, a brand must counter this variety of target group facets with individualized messages across channels and in real time, agile and flexible, interactive and proactive.

How would you describe the perfect campaign in three words?

Captivating (from the target group perspective), motivating (from the sales perspective) and with brand added value (from the marketing perspective).

Do you have a favorite campaign that you think did everything right?

To name a few great examples: Commerzbank’s ponytail campaign, IKEA’s work-life-sleep-balance campaign or Hornbach’s lifejacket campaign in cooperation with Ai Weiwei.

Venture a prognosis: what will marketing look like in 5 years?

We live in an age of polarization, extremes are now part of everyday life. And a kind of gap will also open up in marketing: in view of chatbots and the like, there will be an increasing need for closeness and therefore for personal, humane advice. “Real” customer advisors will therefore gain in importance, from the fashion to the finance industry. In most industries, there will be a target group segment that appreciates personal, high-level, competent advice. At the same time, there will be a growing demand for AI-supported robotic services, and the acceptance of robots is steadily increasing. Which is not contradictory – as a customer you can take advantage of the convenient and easily accessible 24/7 service of robots for standard inquiries and at the same time appreciate the more sophisticated service of personal consultation for individual or more complex topics.

Further development and reinvention are part of marketing. How can a study program prepare future marketers for this?

What we can provide in our study programs are basics and tools that remain applicable even with changing requirements and trends. The main focus is on analog and digital marketing, all about marketing efficiency and controlling, marketing research and KPIs, and omnichannel approaches. In addition, internships and any kind of practical experience such as workshops or working student activities play an important role in directly experiencing what is important and developing a feel for the industry. What you should bring along is of course a certain burning desire for marketing topics – studies, job entry and career can be mastered all the better if you are enthusiastic about marketing, advertising and communication!


Does your heart beat for marketing? At ISM you will find the study program that suits you best, such as the English-language master’s program in Strategic Marketing Management.


Interview: Laura Krause