The modern marketing landscape is not what it used to be. Creative thinkers and innovative “ideas people” are still at the heart of the department, but it has become a measurable, monitorable and data-driven discipline. To the most creative marketers this may sound like a negative thing; but in reality, it just means all of their ideas and innovations can be tracked, tweaked, improved and proven, making a real return on investment (ROI) demonstrable internally to the broader business (and especially up the food chain of decision makers).
To better understand the impact and opportunities of this marketing evolution, let’s explore two key developments that I think will impact marketing’s future.
For decades marketers have had to find ways to prove the need for their campaigns. The new methods they use, and the huge uplift in the volume of data available, makes this much easier than ever before. With so much data there are always new ways to grow, adapt, and change, to deliver the best possible results and answer executive concerns.
Marketing is no longer just about how creative you are. As customer experience becomes a key brand differentiator, marketers have to harness the data available to them to succeed. Part of the modern marketer’s role is knowing their customer—inside and out, personalizing their experience, and ensuring they come back for more.
Careers in marketing have never been more exciting, now they require a blend of creative skill backed by analytics expertise, data-driven research, and the ability to produce provable results. To make this shift, it’s critical that marketers understand and utilize the latest technologies, designed to aid marketer in every stage of their process, from targeting customers and analyzing their data, to automating content and engagements to suit the customer’s needs.
Data cannot be ignored. It has always played a role in marketing campaigns and decisions, but as we are now able to access more data more of the time it is a waste to not utilize it to deliver better customer experiences. Streamlining marketing strategies and processes in a way that embraces both data and technology falls under the coverall term ‘marketing operations‘.
Marketing operations is where all aspects of any marketing campaign come together and are organized effectively for success. Technology is a key driver of marketing operations. Why? MarTech has become so sophisticated that it is essential for marketers to incorporate the right applications and software into their marketing stack. The change in modern marketing is driven by technology, so while creativity is essential to such aspects as campaign planning or content creation, it should be controlled and informed by the insights found through their MarTech solutions, ideally with a foundation of an Engagement Platform that serves as the system of record.
87% of modern marketers already accept that technology is improving performance at their companies, and the scientific edge to their roles has meant a shift in expectation and the nature of their work. However, this shift is for the better as the right MarTech solutions and processes ensure that all work (creative or not) is measured and tested, allowing for more precise and targeted campaigns. In turn, this means the modern marketer can be even more creative as they deliver more ROI and tangible business value. It’s a win-win.
Spending on big data technology is set to exceed $57 billion this year, which shows just how committed companies are to getting the most out of every aspect of data. Marketers need to take note—data is driving their careers: Used well, data can accelerate career paths; badly interpreted data can stunt career progression. Both real-time and historical data can be used to inform and develop effective campaigns.
Data makes tracking every marketing campaign easier and more convenient. Harnessing real-time data allows for adjustments in-campaign at any time, or even in the planning stage of the next campaign by leveraging the learnings and trends identified from previous campaigns. And as mentioned, proving the success of a marketing campaign to those at the top of a company is so much easier when you have hard evidence backing up your claims.
Alongside big data and data-driven marketing is the concept of The Internet of Things (IoT), which further proves the essential and integral nature of technology in the marketing world. The more IoT technology is integrated, wearables become more common, and beacon technology is used, the more data marketers have to feed on, making it increasingly important to not only have an Engagement Platform to orchestrate all these touchpoints, but one that has a robust ecosystem of complementary technology integrations (so your technology is ‘speaking the same language’).
The typical marketer of ten years ago, or even five years ago, may not have been able to predict how different their jobs would look in 2017. However, marketing has always been an evolving discipline, with the move from print to online, text to video, and now with the incorporation of data and in-depth analysis as key to their roles.
There is nothing ‘fluffy’ and ambiguous about the modern marketer’s role. Yes, creativity is used to push forward and capture the audience attention, but it should be measured, tested and released once it is sure to succeed according to the data and research available.
Embracing marketing technology is absolutely essential for the modern marketer. Building an effective marketing stack for each individual business takes time and energy. But, once in place, it can push the business in the right direction and increase marketing success. That’s not to even mention the benefits it can offer in terms of time and capital saving.
Marketing operations cannot function effectively without MarTech, and the modern marketer cannot perform their role properly without embracing both. A blend of creative talent and a technologist’s knowledge must be combined to effectively market for growth.
Marketing is not going to go backward. There won’t be a return to the idea that the marketing department is ‘winging it’ and just trying out any creative idea. Modern marketing will become more entrenched and driven by data and technology, and it is essential the professionals involved embrace and utilize the resources available to them. The data and technology are there, it comes down to marketers ability to make the most of them. This way, marketers will not just safe-guard their jobs, but maintain their seat at the table.