The Marketing industry has experienced tectonic shifts in the last decade, and consumers have changed right along with it. The digital revolution has transformed everything about our consumer channels and behaviors—how we shop, bank, consume news and stay in touch with friends has transformed completely. This revolution has also ushered in the ability to gather and aggregate consumer demographics in innovative ways. So it only makes sense that marketing departments—in structure and strategy—have changed dramatically, too.
Gone are the days of Don Draper-types waxing poetic about laundry detergent in pursuit of the perfect magazine copy. And say goodbye to the era that treated having a digital presence—a website and social media, in particular—as marketing, too. We live in a multi-channel world now. A digital presence is table stakes. These days, CRMs are super-charging the impact creative campaigns can have. And you need creativity, sure. But that creativity should be a compliment to a data-driven strategy.
Companies spend an average of about 11% of their gross revenue on Marketing and Advertising annually, according to a recent Gartner study. And one thing that hasn’t changed about marketing in the last decade? A collective interest to see the best return on that investment. Luckily, marketing teams are primed to create more value for their companies than ever before, but it takes the right talent to realize that potential. The companies that have a competitive edge have marketing teams that can marry their creative efforts with revenue-driven, analytical plans.
A data literate Marketing team is the new secret weapon
We’re living in an expectation economy. Consumers’ expectations for the brands they consume are high and there are plenty of other options if they’re disappointed by your brand. With all of the noise across channels out there, you have to know your audience well enough to find them and inspire them to choose your brand or solution over anyone else’s.
Companies are responding by learning about their current and would-be consumers through data collection. In fact, most are gathering more data than ever, but the collection of data means almost nothing if your Marketing team isn’t data literate. Marketing pros need to be able to use data to tell powerful stories. This includes deciphering the data you’re collecting on your customers into a clear narrative about their reported perceptions and experiences with your brand along with the data on your competitors, their market share and your strategic growth priorities.
It also means leveraging data to create and track a clear story of your Marketing strategy. What efforts and investments are paying dividends by gaining traction—whether drawing in new customers or increasing brand awareness? And what strategies or tactics aren’t landing? A team that can translate their company’s data into a long-term plan to move forward is the difference between a reactive, downstream marketing team and a strategic, upstream one.
Marketing talent that plays well cross-functionally is paramount
You’ve heard about the ”temperamental creative types,” right? Their work is precious—not to be tampered with. They’re not exactly popular among their colleagues, but they’re ideas are original, maybe even special. In the new world of Marketing, temperamental creative types are looking more and more like dinosaurs.
Don’t misunderstand, creativity is still important. But playing well with others is a prerequisite. And being able and willing to socialize your ideas and collaborate with others is only half the battle.
Your marketing team should be collaborating with your product team to decide what to build next (and what to stop building altogether). They should work regularly with your CFO to understand your biggest revenue-driving efforts for the year and how they’re performing. They should be teaming up with your CIO to leverage technology to create innovative experiences for your consumers. They should be promoting brand continuity with your customer service team. In short, marketing teams should be silo busters—able to understand the business of each department and work collaboratively across functions to create experience-driven, revenue-driving campaigns.
So when you look at your company’s strategic plan and your marketing strategy, do you see a Marketing bench of talent ready to respond? Do you have a strategy in place with initiatives earmarked for growing market share and respond to consumer trends? Does your Marketing team understand how their efforts are hitting your bottom line? If the answer is “not quite,” you’re not alone.
Some of my clients are just starting to process some of the changes to the Marketing industry, and I’ve been working with them to shift their Marketing talent to be more strategic, data-driven and business savvy. The good news? You don’t have to turn over your marketing team to be successful, but you do need to bring in a few folks in pivotal roles to create the right roadmap. A recruiter that specializes in marketing talent can help you evaluate where you are and identify a few key roles that will get you on the path to a marketing dream team.