The 4Ss of experience marketing

AdMap Magazine recently published our article on the Marketing department of the future.

In the article, Rich Bryson focuses on reorganising around the 4S Marketers approach - integrating the roles of Scientists, Strategists, Storybuilders and Socialisers - to drive growth in the connected world.

For those with WARC or Admap subscriptions you can access the full article here, but for everyone else here are the highlights.

Customer-centricity is a term familiar to most yet a lot of companies still aren’t doing it very well – 89% of customers say they have switched brands due to a bad customer experience.

The successful organisation is one that focuses everybody on creating outstanding customer experiences.  Marketers have a key role to play in this – but not isolation. Instead they work as part of a ‘Customer Experience Engine’.

Clearly there is no-one-size-fits all approach for the marketing organisation design of the future, but we believe the principle of organising around the customer experience can be applied to set up any organisation for sustainable customer-centred growth.

Within this context there are 4 ‘modes’ that marketers need to traverse. We call them the 4S Marketers.  Scientists, Strategists, Storybuilders and Socialisers. These aren’t distinct roles, they are a mix of capabilities you should be building into your marketing function.


The scientists

All marketers need data skills. While a data scientist focuses on predicting customer behaviour using algorithims, computer science and predictive models, there are specific capabilities that must be built into other areas of the marketing function to make everyone data literate.

Neuroscience and social media analytics are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Used in conjunction with more traditional techniques they ensure a deeper insight opportunity.

The scientist must focus on applying these insights and engaging with customers with the right content at the right time.

Strategists and storybuilders

Brand development roles should concentrate on strategies that focus on the holistic customer experience whilst driving every aspect of the customer experience across the organisation.

There should also be a mindset change from ‘command and control brand management’ to brand storybuilding. Content marketing skills should be central to the brand developer role and supported by content creators, in-house editing teams and external partners.

Supporting this is the establishment of joined-up working with other functions to ensure all content created is focused on providing value to customers, ultimately driving business growth.


Brand activation roles should be reframed as ‘Socialisers’. Whilst delivering winning in-store programmes, focus should not just be on execution but also on the customer experience, ensuring it fulfils the brand ideal.

Organisations need brand activators, supported by multi-channel marketing automation programmes, to nurture customer relationships throughout the customer journey, evolving them through continuous conversations.

Building your organisation around the 4S Marketers approach will allow marketing to lead rapid change and create outstanding customer experiences that will drive future growth.

These are just the headlines. Learn more about the 4Ss here by downloading our white paper on organising around the customer experience or watching this short film where Rich discusses the key concepts surrounding the 4S Marketers Model™.

For more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisational design capabilities, please get in touch. You may also like our report on delivering joined-up customer experiences  and these films, perspectives and resources on Organisation Design.

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Brand Learning: Lifting capabilities to drive customer-centred growth
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