The Changing Role of the Modern Marketer

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The role of the modern marketer has been radically changing in the last decade. Access to consumer data has given rise to an entire industry of targeted digital ads. Big data analysis has also granted marketers the insight to enhance and track the value of their activities. This is a great opportunity for marketing, but it poses unique challenges too.

We’ve seen big data analytics transform whole industries. Retail supply chains are a perfect example. Shops use analytics to make sure stock is at optimum levels to reduce profit loss. Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn shows the real value of data to marketing. It is a valuable store of employment info which is much harder to come by than consumer data. This data allows for the creation of B2B programmes targeted with incredible accuracy.

Data-driven campaigns, improved through constant feedback and analysis, can provide great value to the wider business. This means marketing must react and evolve its skill-set to include data collection and analysis. Marketers need to foster a methodical culture in their departments. This process includes every step from strategy, design, testing and assessment.

A scientific approach is crucial. This means data collection, analysis, hypotheses, testing and improvement. Data-driven pricing, for example, can quickly increase profits. McKinsey found that on average a 1% price increase translates into an 8.7% increase in operating profits. Analytics produces the perfect price for a customer considering unique requirements and economic issues.

As marketing skills evolve, hiring strategies should change to reflect the new talent that’s needed. The B2B side of the industry has to appeal to graduates from the STEM subjects. This is where execs skilled in data handling will come from. But engineering, fintech and consulting have never previously attracted the same graduates. These careers will draw grads away unless the industry can present itself as dynamic and tech savvy.

The grads of today thrive off seeing the fruits of their labour and data-driven communications directly drives lead and sales generation. This is still a hybrid role with a mix of responsibilities. These range from analytical (automation, data admin, planning) to creative (design, content, leadership). As such, the industry should targeting STEM grads with business sense, creative flair and analytical skill.

The industry faces a lot of challenges as it starts to use data to be of even greater value to the wider business. New skills must be incorporated into the department and hiring the right talent is a key aspect of this. To do so we must compete with a different range of careers to attract the grads and professionals with the right skills. This means marketers need to get their house in order and draw on the direct link they have to sales. The challenges are many, but the payoff will be huge. Marketing has to take its place in the modern data economy and the first step to that starts now.