Digital transformation has hit the marketing industry hard. The expectations of modern marketers are that they need to be data experts, technology evangelists and customer-centric professionals. So how do you learn this and what do you need to do to keep up?
In fact, Dentsu Aegis Network’s 2019 global survey of 1,000 CMOs and senior-level marketers – identifies a new opportunity, and challenge, for marketing professionals. This is the need to move beyond marketing campaigns and “business as usual” into driving business transformation through digital.
The survey shows that Asian CMOs ranked Business Transformation within the top 3 priorities for the marketing function today, as well as over the next 3 years. Highlights of this research point to a lot of progress is still needed:
- 85 percent of CMOs see creativity as critical to business success, but only 54 per cent believe they are doing this well today.
- 83 per cent believe that customer experience and integration of commerce across channels is important, but 40 per cent see themselves as failing in this area.
- Worse still is in data management and analytics, where 84 per cent identifies these capabilities as critical but 51 per cent stated that they aren’t yet confident in this area.
So with these many challenges and the gap between expectation and success still very wide, how do modern marketers keep up?
This isn’t a new idea. Way back in 1966, McKinsey & Co published an article in their famous McKinsey Quarterly titled “The changing face of marketing”. It detailed six key areas of change:
- The dominance of the customer
- The spread of marketing research
- The rise of the computer
- Expanded use of test marketing
- Metamorphosis of field selling
- Global marketing planning
So what’s changed in fifty years? On the surface, not very much. You could take McKinsey’s top 6 areas of change and easily use them again in 2019. Of course, technology has improved, digital is everywhere and everything is now fundamentally social. Looking deeper though, the key challenge seems to be that marketers need to have a very strong understanding of customers, marketing strategy and selling channels. To be an effective marketer here is how to keep up:
Build a foundation with quality marketing qualifications
Marketing seems to be one of those industries where everyone is an expert. The ability to write or to manage a social media profile doesn’t make you a great marketer. Have a thorough understanding of business and marketing fundamentals does. This is a problem even with the most celebrated of marketing leaders, as pointed out by marketing Professor, Mark Ritson when he found out that only 4 of 24 marketing leaders in a list of the “24 Marketers you Should Follow on Twitter” actually had a marketing qualification. So if you’re struggling to keep up with marketing trends start with getting a strong understanding of solid marketing fundamentals.
Engage in marketing communities
The quickest way to understand what’s happening in the marketing industry is to share your problems and wins with fellow marketers. LinkedIn is a fantastic community for this, particularly when looking for like-minded professionals or Groups of peers. Feel free to connect with me and my Editor counterparts at Marketing In Asia such as Azleen Abdul Rahim, Andrew Teoh, Nowrid Amin, Rahnama Haque, Geogyiana Shahirah, Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen, Khushboo Nangalia and Chetan Bharadwaj.
Read the leading industry publications
You’re already doing this well if you’re reading Marketing In Asia! There are good reasons why Marketing In Asia and similar industry and trade publications exist – it’s to share best practices, inform the marketing community of what’s going on and to generally make life easier for marketers. The fact that you’re reading this is a great start. Now keep it up!
Get a mentor (or better yet, a reverse mentor)
Much of the change in marketing is behind closed doors. The real innovation is how marketers are leading companies to engage customers or how they build their tech stack or trying new things. Rarely is this information ever made public. The only real way to open that door is to directly reach out to CEOs, CMOs and Chief Digital Officers and ask if they would meet or mentor you. It can be a bit of a numbers game, reaching out to many thought leaders but if you find someone willing to meet or mentor you, this is a fast track to success. However, real value can be found in reverse mentoring as well. Many older, more experienced marketers are less comfortable with digital and new technology. As more and younger digital natives enter the workforce, experienced leaders should look at a relationship where they can learn the latest in consumer technology from this new breed of marketers.
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to keep up with the fast pace of change in marketing? Feel free to reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org