The needs of marketing organizations are rapidly changing. CMOs are trying to anticipate the introduction or integration of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, data-rich programmatic buying, virtual reality, geolocation and omnichannel marketing. They need to figure out the right combination of skills and capabilities necessary for successful marketing in fiercely competitive markets. The skills, knowledge, experience and judgment required to be an effective marketer suggests that companies are looking for an army of Wonder Women and Wonder Men.
Marketers have always had to have broad knowledge of psychology, business, media and the specifics of their product or service categories. But the evolving technology landscape combined with a growing emphasis on data, personalization and customer engagement has dramatically increased the knowledge, insights and experience demands. Companies expect to compete heavily for individuals who have the right skills and a healthy dose of common sense.
Consider the seven hats a modern marketer must wear.
Digital Savant. The mobile and social Internet has forever changed the way we take in information and communicate with each other. Savvy marketers must be on top of continuously changing developments in customer experience, website and interface design, interactive advertising, app development, gaming, ecommerce, video, streaming and AR/VR. Keeping up with the latest and greatest while presciently separating what’s new from the truly valuable is a critical responsibility.
Content Creator. What to say to whom and when is the on-going creative challenge. Understanding what people need or want to know, when, where and how, separates winning brands from the also-rans. Monitoring channel preferences and tracking the number, sequence and content of interactions over time will yield insights that will drive persuasion, conversion and brand loyalty. You must knowing what to create for each segment or each person.
Data Demon. Beyond basic math skills and a comfort level with measuring effectiveness and efficiencies, marketers need to know what data is available, how it’s categorized and stored, and how it can be used to predict or explain forecasts or outcomes. As predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning begin to dominate planning discussions and campaign formulation, marketers need to know what these algorithms are, what they can do and when it's best to use them. The ability to explain this stuff to senior management and to translate the output of data science into actionable tactics will be required at all levels. Math phobics will be at a serious disadvantage.
Channel Master. The number and variety of ways to reach customers grows every day. Soon appliances will be broadcasting ads. This media explosion puts a premium on having a handle on individual channel capabilities and a point of view on how channels can be combined to meet, intersect and persuade audiences. Marketers will need to construct a responsive omnichannel strategy to reach the right people at the right time in the right channel with the right message. This sounds much easier than what it takes to do it effectively. Many of these channels will carry interactive, data-derived personalized messages so understanding preferences and relative responsiveness, plus the value of triggered messaging is part of the job.
Social Activist Social media is a part of everyone’s life. Understanding user preferences and conventions spells the difference between effective and not-so-effective use of these channels.
Marketers measure engagement, use the tools made available by social networks and rigorously monitor results. Using brand loyalists to help get the word out is becoming common. Finding persuasive and affordable influencers is crucial. Negotiating effectively with monopolistic social platforms is also part of the job.
Resource Manager. Marketers have always had to manage budgets, events and agency or consulting partners. In the future, efficient negotiation and orchestration of resources in-tandem with in-house resources will continue to be important. Managing spending by developing positive ROI models and driving cost efficient acquisition, retention and loyalty is a baseline requirement.
Renaissance Person. Modern marketers must thrive in chaos and be continuously open, but discerning to new ideas. Negotiating the blizzard of adtech and martech offerings --- and not being snookered by the latest shiny object, is table stakes. Marketers need to take a broad view of experience and engagement strategies, relentlessly focus on their best customers and use their own experience as an input. Being treated the way you’d like to be treated is the general expectation. Accomplishing this is a creative and technical challenge. Future superstars will intuitively plan for what they want customers to think, feel and do. And they will marshal creativity and technology and maybe even poetry to deliver against these goals.
Customers in B2C and B2B markets are more diverse, more mobile, more social, more complicated, more emotional, more fickle and more confused than ever. The skills and experience needed to understand and engage them is exploding. Smart players are educating themselves and taking a wide angle view of the marketing role ready to take on the world.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.