Traditional marketing no longer stands alone.
You’ve probably heard the term “traditional marketing” quite a bit. It includes all the old-school methods of marketing and advertising: direct mail, print, TV and radio. Do any of these methods require true technical savvy? Well, no. So traditional marketing skills historically haven’t either. Traditional marketers needed to be creative, organized and strategic. They needed to know their audience. They did not, however, need a technical mind.
This is rapidly changing. Now traditional marketing methods are typically relevant only when layered into an integrated marketing strategy heavy on digital (read: technical) tactics. This makes it imperative to recruit for and hire on professionals with digital marketing and technology skills when building your marketing team.
Marketing technology’s (Martec) effect on marketing teams.
Marketing technology helps marketers improve their efforts and prove their results. It makes them more strategic, gives them valuable real-time data, and helps them meet their customers at the right moment in the right place. As a result, it’s a hot place the be. The martech space is expanding exponentially. What started with just 100 companies in 2011 has now grown to 1,876 this year.
It is developing so quickly that there’s often a delay between available technology and what marketers understand and are able to use. Marketers need to be nimble. In fact, marketers say that their field has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 50.
Not only does martech affect what marketers can do, but it affects what marketers must do. “Marketing technology has gone from being a specialty within niche functions… to being something that’s pervasive,” explains Duane Schulz, VP of Marketing Operations at Xerox. “If you are a modern marketer, you’ve really got to understand how these tools can work for you and help you engage the customer.”
Aetna’s head of marketing technology and innovation, Joseph Kurian, even has a full-time employee dedicated to researching and evaluating new marketing technologies and what it will mean for their team in terms of future budget and necessary skill sets. Kurian is a smart leader. He knows his talent needs are likely to rapidly change. He’s so sure of it, he has someone whose sole purpose is to watch marketing technology trends and tell him when it’s time to recruit for or train new skills. Have you taken a look at this lately? It wouldn’t hurt to take martech into consideration when planning what types of skills you need to recruit onto your team next.
The overlap of marketing and technology reaches the CMO and CIO.
Marketers need to evolve with technology to make the most of it and to stay relevant, themselves. The crossover is such that nearly every marketing publication and every technology publication is pumping out article after article about the necessity of a CMO-CIO alliance. Some even speculate that the CIO could one day report to the CMO. Would this have happened 20 years ago? Absolutely not.
Still unconvinced? I doubt it; but just in case, consider this: The University of Wisconsin Stout, Wisconsin’s polytechnic university, launched the first ever B.S. degree in Digital Marketing Technology to help the “…talent pipeline coming out of higher education…[better address] the needs of the new marketing technology paradigm,” according to the program’s founder, Dr. Kevin W. Tharp. If colleges are even creating degrees around it, you’d better be sure you should be hiring for it.
Big Data: Highlighting the overlap of marketing and IT.
While brand websites may have been one of the first spaces in which marketers began to foray into technology, the merge has certainly come a long way. Consider Big Data. Big Data can tell marketers all they ever needed to know about their customers, but only if they have the knowledge and skill set to analyze it and find meaning. Thus to unlock eye-opening customer trends, marketing teams now need data analysts, a former IT-only role.
When building your marketing team, don’t forget soft skills.
Yes, there are definitely new hard skills that have grown in importance on marketing teams, but that does not diminish the importance of soft skills. If anything, it makes them more essential. Marketers can certainly get lost in this new and ever-evolving technology landscape, so we need critical thinkers who can distinguish between necessary and unnecessary technologies and see through the chaos into how to best use new technologies. Additionally, with more martech tools entering the marketing ranks, communication skills are a necessity. Someone will need to translate the data from these tools into digestible reports for business leaders.
Marketing talent is hard to find – when you get it, keep it!
How do you keep talented creative and marketing professionals? My best advice: Find out what’s important to them; then do everything in your power to provide it.
For many, it’s flexibility in terms of hours and location. Today’s modern marketers – and not just those in the Millennial generation – want to work remotely when needed. Workforce culture is important as well. If it’s stifling or perceived as corrupt, you’re likely to lose your best professionals. Remember, they have options. Don’t loose your best people to other companies that boast fancy perks or higher salaries.
That brings me to my last point: compensate fairly! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a 1-3 percent increase for cost of living will do the trick. Demand for these professionals has steadily increased while the supply hasn’t kept up. In this environment, it’s important to ensure you’re up to date on fair compensation.