Marketing is in Disruption: 3 Ways You Can Evolve to Stay Competitive


Marketing is one of the most disrupted functions in business right now. According to a new study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, top trends for 2017 are personalization (42%), data-driven marketing (37%), and influencer marketing (31%).  As little as five years ago, none of these were on our radar.

Change is the name of the game and now more than ever, evolution is required if you want to stay competitive. Are you ready for the marketing career of tomorrow but not sure where to start? Here are three areas to focus on to keep yourself sharp, as well as some guidance to get you started.

Get Savvy on the Tech

Technology is redefining the marketing function. No doubt you are familiar with – and maybe even frightened by – the MarTech Landscape graphic. I was at a conference a few weeks ago and when one of the speakers showed it in his presentation, the entire audience burst out in laughter, simply because it’s hard to believe its real. In 2012 there were approximately 350 products featured on this Infographic and today – just 5 years later – there are over 5000. No kidding. There are numerous solution options for predictive, programmatic, search, account-based, mobile, social, influencer, content, and on and on it goes. I put this in front of you to make one critical point – marketing technology is growing and with so many options it’s important that you know what’s available to you so you can consider how you can leverage what’s out there to enhance and/or completely change your marketing strategy.

Evolve: We put together this quick guide to help you quickly and efficiently evaluate the MarTech landscape without becoming completely paralyzed by it.

 

Become Data Intelligent

Our ability to now easily collect, access, analyze, and assess data from customers to campaigns is creating a new imperative for marketers: figure out how you’re leveraging data or you’re going to get left behind. But if you don’t have it all figured out yet, don’t worry you’re not alone. In a 2016 IBM study, only 3% of marketers rated their ability to act on insights from customer data as ‘excellent’, with more than half (54%) labeled it either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. The problem today isn’t our ability to capture the data or to do some level of analytics and reporting on the information we collect, the challenge is our ability to clarify actionable decisions that need to be made based on what we learn.

To generate and share insights is what will make the next generation of marketers stand out.  In a study conducted by recruitment company Hayes of 300 UK marketing managers and executives, analytical ability is in demand among marketers, with 27% citing this as the most essential core skill. In this CIO article, Michelle Huff, CMO at Act-On frames it perfectly, “As a marketer, we must learn how to tell a story or build a profile with the data we collect from our campaigns. It is our job to convert data into intelligence that drives the customer experience forward,” she says. When it comes to getting intelligent about data, they key will be knowing what data points matter, what you should be looking for and evaluating as part of your data analysis, and what action should be taken based on the findings. If you don’t get very clear on your goals, the massive amounts of data available to you and possibilities for analysis can easily become overwhelming.

Gone are the days of subjecting thinking and opinions, letting the data tell the story will help you make the best decisions moving forward. What is the old adage? “Data doesn’t lie.”

Evolve: Download our worksheet 5 Considerations to Becoming Data Intelligent.

Lean into Leadership

There is a tremendous opportunity for leadership in marketing right now. Constant disruption begs for agents of change that embrace what’s next and use it to innovate. In CMO.com, Thomas Barta, marketing leadership expert and co-author of “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader,” disclosed that by conducting interviews with CMOs they learned that “those who were best at marketing were those who were good at leading marketing.” According to Barta, “The most important thing as a leader is to find followers. You can’t do that by email, you have to go and meet the different species of your organization,” he said. “You have to tell your compelling and convincing change story and show people how things actually work. Your biggest weapon is inspiration.”

The leaders we need in marketing roles today aren’t satisfied with stagnation; they seek success without fear of failure and take calculated risks on new ideas and directions. According to Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president EMEA at Facebook, moving fast and being bold are critically important, especially as companies grow. “As companies get bigger, they get slower and take fewer risks because the impact of what a risk could mean paralyses you,” Mendelsohn said. “You have to be bold, you are guaranteed to fail if you don’t take risks.”

Most importantly, innovative marketing leaders are, at the same time, mentors and eager students, understanding that they have wisdom to share, even if they still have much to learn.

Evolve: We’ve pulled together some great resources for continued learning that you can download here to stay sharp.

The rapidly changing range of marketing can seem overwhelming but remember that change can also present opportunity for those that are willing and/or able to do what others are not. It’s an exciting time to be in marketing. Embrace these changes, invest some time to level up your skills, and step into what’s next.