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Changing skill sets and marketing teams of the future
11 August 2015
Most marketers would have seen the online buzz created a few years ago around Bill Lee’s Harvard Business Review blog “Marketing is Dead”. With almost 600 comments, he obviously struck a nerve.
This got me thinking about the changing role – and accountabilities – of today’s Marketing Directors. While demonstrating ROI has always been a given, the justification for marketing spend has been even more heavily scrutinized post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Big budgets for traditional above-the-line (i.e. print media) channels are harder to justify, and are less effective in their return. Marketing Directors are more accountable for costs, for making the budget stretch further – and for demonstrating return – than ever before.
So what does this mean for the marketer?
In a nutshell, we need to be more inventive and industrious in our marketing spend. We need to show more return with a lot less.
This is all still positive, because it forces the marketer to think far more laterally and creatively. It also allows us to engage agencies that will provide more practical, quick-win solutions in the non-traditional channels we’re all seeking to understand and quickly leverage, like social media and digital marketing.
While the focus used to be on managing above-the-line advertising processes in conjunction with media agencies, investment is focused around campaign management systems, analytics tools, and having CRM teams in place to provide the business with insights into the market. Where traditional communications teams were responsible for getting the brand on the front page of broadsheet publications, they’re now focused on writing blogs, distributing online content, and integrating content into online and social media channels. Marketers are learning from broader changes in the market and we’re adapting – meeting the customer in the new way they consume information. People source content from aggregate means. As marketers, we need to follow suit and find out what these aggregator points are. Gone is the costly DM piece – the focus now is on dynamic content and smart social media campaigns.
Marketing Directors are more accountable for costs, for making the budget stretch further – and for demonstrating return – than ever before.
To leverage these new channels, it’s all about the analytics and the data. Smart data management is about using the information we have about our customers and communicating with them using the right content at the right time with the right message, and through the right channel. The analytics is finding out what’s working and what’s not, and adjust the strategy accordingly. It’s about figuring out how we need to change our approach and tailor meaningful content based on this information. In an ideal world, it’s then about tailoring the communication down to a customer of one. In practical terms, this means scheduled communications based on mapping out the lifecycle of our clients – determining when is the opportune time to engage with them with the right content. It means setting up triggers around events when we can establish a dialogue or transaction and track the return.
In many marketing teams, including my own, the emphasis is on being far more data-driven. But it’s about more than just the collection of data – it’s about analysing it and identifying relevant actions. Consumer preferences and the way they access messages is continually evolving, and to stay relevant, marketers need to continually evolve themselves.
How is the role of the marketer changing within your organisation?
Justification for marketing spend has come under greater scrutiny than normal since the GFC and big budget, above-the-line channels are harder to justify. So what does this mean for the marketer?
- He needs to be more inventive and industrious
- He needs to think more laterally creatively
- He needs to engage agencies for quick wins in non-traditional channels
- Investment should be focused on campaign management and analytics tools
- Traditional communications needs to diversify into blog and other digital content production
- He needs to meet the customer where he now consumes information – social and aggregator points
- He needs to set up triggers around events and establish a dialogue or transaction
He needs to introduce smart data management to track the return.