You would be forgiven for some confusion over today's marketing roles (Vision Executive anyone?), never mind those coming down the line tomorrow.
No matter how experienced or skilled a marketer may be, no one person can do everything. The dream marketing team of the future needs a collection of individuals with niche skills that embrace a collaborative culture within the business, especially with sales and IT departments.
So how does your team stack up? Do you have the right blend of creative heads, analytics nerds and platform specialists to ensure long-term marketing success for your brand? We look at the 6 key skills your business can't afford to be without.
"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." - Vince Lombardi, former NFL Coach of the Green Bay Packers
The evolution of technology necessitates innovation, making creativity an essential attribute to any modern digital marketing team. It’s not just about skills when it comes to marketing; a creative flair is also required for translating what a brand means to a customer in the most effective way possible.
A champion of innovation, Steve Jobs believed that creativity is about connecting things and experiences. Using these connections creative people can then synthesize things due to the fact that they have had more experiences or thought more about their experience. In essence, creative people are curious and as such tend to ask the questions and comes up with solutions in ways that people who aren’t curious can’t.
The most potent marketing and advertising campaigns benefit from thinking outside the box so the brand can be communicated in an engaging and fun way. With 60% of marketers creating at least one piece of content each day, having the talent to create engaging campaigns that convert on a regular basis is an absolute must.
2) Data analytics
Data is growing at an incredible rate and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information is predicted to be created every second for each human being on the planet. That's a huge amount of information to both gather and process.
While 40% of companies worldwide use big data analytics, their results can vary vastly. Like content, data needs to have a purpose as it can to transform how companies organize, operate, manage talent, and create value. Those companies who quantified their gains from data analytics confirmed an 8% increase in revenues and a 10% reduction in costs. This significant growth demonstrates the value of advanced data insights to the growth of a business.
Although many companies have technologies in place to collect valuable customer information, the data is pretty useless without having someone equipped to analyze it and apply their findings to come up with value-adding strategies that engage and convert. Along with SEO, PPC and A/B testing, marketing teams need in-house talent that can implement conversion optimization to drive the success of e-commerce.
3) Content production and strategy
How and what content people consume has changed dramatically in the past two decades. While the popularity of social networks has exploded, the amount of content seen and read on a daily basis is so vast that Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content every minute.
With such a vast amount of content to contend with brands need a strategy in place that helps them stand out from the online noise. While it can be simple to create content, knowing where and how to use it requires expertise. Marketing teams need to ask why they are creating content, who it is for or who is it supposed to influence or help so an organization can understand its audience and its USPs. Establishing a cohesive content strategy coupled with a robust content production plan will help organizations to use content marketing to build an audience and drive success through increased revenue, reduced costs or more engaged and happier customers.
As technology evolves, the future of content will shift again, moving towards platforms such as AI, bots, voice-based search and video content. This evolution is creating opportunities for content strategists and creators to reach people in new and exciting ways.
4) Social Media
The popularity of social media channels provides marketers with a host of unique platforms to engage with and influence customers. The very nature of these platforms enable organizations to reach customers directly, personally, and quickly with the potential to build and nurture relationships.
In fact, content consumption on the three most popular social networks has drastically increased over the past two years: Facebook by 57%, Twitter by 25%, and LinkedIn by 21%. What's more, the evolution of platforms including Snapchat and Whatsapp has given consumers new functionality to share new content meaning
Using social media can help a business:
- Increase trust and reputation
- Save up to 60% of marketing budget
- Create a steady stream of new leads
- Generate more revenue
5) VR and AI expertise
While still in its infancy, the spend on VR hardware is predicted to break the $50 billion mark by 2021. This level of investment is being sparked by a combination of VR’s immersive technology and AI’s predictive analytics which is already enhancing the customer experience.
Several brands are using this new technology effectively and none more so than TOMs who have created a virtual reality chair in their flagship store in California. A brand with the mantra ‘Our dream is that some day, all kids will have shoes’ TOM's use of VR is about conveying their message. Once in the chair, the VR headset transports people to a remote Peruvian village where the user experiences a shoe giving trip with a VO from the founder of the company as to why he established it in the first place. A testament to good storytelling, it demonstrates the impact of a TOMs purchase and tugs on the emotional heartstrings in a way that a non-immersive platform can't.
For brands to make the most of these new, emerging, and critical technologies, marketing leaders, and their teams need to be agile, able and willing to experiment, and equipped to learn in an iterative cycle.
6) Mobile marketing
With smartphones now the more common medium for surfing and reading online compared to a desktop (51% vs 42%), many organizations are now using a mobile-first approach to their digital communications. Adopting this approach will help brands understand and address the needs of their customers as many now move seamlessly from one device to the other without a thought. It also enhances the customer experience enabling personalization and a real-world connection with those interested in a brand.
Such is the impact of smartphones that in 3 to 5 years time, marketing executives believe that mobile channels will be responsible for driving 70% of customer engagement compared to 49% for social and 55% for email. For many industries, this growth is key to maintaining and driving engagement with customers and is transforming the way businesses deliver and the Wall Street Journal is no exception.
“As soon as they (readers) wake up they roll over in bed and they’re looking at their iPhone or Android phone. We think a lot about the fact that people aren’t watching news on a TV screen, they’re watching it close to their face, in bed, almost like being curled up with their favorite book. So how we shoot things is evolving.” - Liz Heron, Head of the Wall Street Journal’s Emerging Media desk
With mobile primed to dominate, tomorrow's marketing team needs individuals with specialist expertise not only to ensure the customer experience is seamless but also ensure their brand is front of mind.
Roles of the near future...
We've established that a cohesive approach to marketing is of vital importance, and examined which areas must be accounted for to secure a place in the future. Now, here's a snapshot of potential roles that will be required in tomorrow's marketing dream team…
Chief Experience Officer
Traditionally, executives have been focused solely on overseeing the top levels of existing departments including operations, finance, and technology. In the near future, however, user experience is expected to become so critical that a particular executive position will need to be created to steer development and the implementation of products, services, and communication throughout the organization. Focused more on the consumer, this role has a huge potential for growth in tomorrow’s world, and beyond.
Augmented Reality Producer
In industries such as retail, the market has become over-saturated and traditional marketing methods are getting lost in the fray. This saturation has lead to the development of new and innovative approaches to creating brand awareness and engaging with prospects in the form of AI and VR.
For companies already using AR such as Greenpub and Decorilla customers are engaging with these new methods of communication, using virtual reality for cutting-edge advertising campaigns or to visually plan home renovations.
When a business wants to stand out, a technologically-charged stance on reality may be the way to do it and having expertise in-house who can push these developments forward will prove very fruitful.
In contrast to the aforementioned roles, it's important to remember that although brands and businesses must evolve and develop new skills, traditional marketing skills backed up by the power of technology, are just as important as they ever were. Skills including copywriting, strategy and planning, event marketing, and customer service still form the foundation of any marketing dream team, and these abilities must continue to be nurtured well into the future.
“Empowered customers will expect transparency, honesty, and value. They will be firm but fair, demanding, and want immediate responses. With that in mind, marketers must be able to adapt to and embrace change, be responsive, and keen to learn what’s working quickly.” – Rachel Swift, Head of Marketing, Brand & Social at John Lewis
To thrive in the often tricky digital landscape, a marketing team must be cohesive, adaptable, and consist of people with cross-functional skills that harness both the power of technology and the ability to humanize the consumer experience. While it can be almost impossible to predict exactly what's around the corner when it comes to digital, creating an agile dream team, will enable any business to move with any changes seamlessly and make a real impact in the commercial world.