If you’ve ever watched a storm coming over the horizon, you’ll be right at home with the changes that are happening in marketing. Everywhere you look, marketing is undergoing changes. If you have the new skills required, it should be a smooth ride for you, but if you don’t, you might be in for a rocky ride. Read on to see what changes are coming and what you need to know to make a smooth adjustment to where marketing is headed.
Four big areas head the list of marketing changes. Each one is an example of how you’ll need to broaden your skills:
- More technology. No, you don’t need to become an iPhone apps developer, but you definitely need to become comfortable with working with technologists—directing them. Avi Dan believes that CMOs need to appoint a marketing technology czar. Regardless of the solution, it’s clear that every year will send a nw technology to cope with. Web sites yielded e-Commerce which begat search marketing that morphed into social media. If you understood Facebook and then Twitter, now you need to know Foursquare. If you figured out e-mail to the Blackberry, then iPhone apps were next. And now Android apps. Technology will continue to be a big driver of marketing’s future.
- More anthropology. Three university professors went Avi one better in a Wall Street Journal article, calling for the creation of a new role, marketing technopologist. That role includes a blend of marketing skills, technology ability, plus expertise in social interaction. When you think about how social media is built around communities, and further consider how central privacy is to online interactions, you could do worse than focus on how culture affects the way people interact online.
- More public relations. Traditional marketers have spent their lives crafting the exact messages they want to deliver, and then paying for them to be delivered. With social media, some marketers are flummoxed, because they don’t know how to craft a message that their customers will happily spend time with, and willingly pass on. PR pros to the rescue! Communications people have been solving that problem for media placement forever, so it behooves marketers to begin to adopt more of a PR approach. I found it interesting that IBM has merged its marketing and communications team under Jon Iwata, their longtime communications executive. Expect to see more of that.
- More metrics. Perhaps the most important skill marketers need is the one that has its roots in marketing itself—direct marketing. Direct marketers are really in the sales business, using metrics such as the response rate of everyone sent a catalog or other marketing message. Every sale is attributed to what caused it, allowing metrics-driven marketing to weed out the tactics that don’t pay off. Digital marketing is even easier to measure than offline direct marketing, so the pressure to optimize return on your online marketing investment has never been greater.
The smartest marketers are trying to expand their background in all four of these areas, but you can get by with just one. But beware of staying in that traditional marketing silo and not branching out at all. Most people will stay put, but the jobs out there require more than traditional marketing skills, so you are competing against more people for fewer jobs.