Everyone in marketing should be a marketer scientist
(This also appears as a guest post on SAS’s Left of the Date Line blog for the Asia Pacific region.)
Later this month, I’ll have the privilege of meeting with groups of CMOs and other marketing leaders across southeast Asia as part of an event tour with SAS Institute. We’ll be visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India, as well as doing a live webcast for Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday, May 21.
The title of my presentation will be The Emergent CMO: Combining Art & Science in Modern Marketing, and I thought I’d share a sneak preview of what I’ll be talking about.
In a world where everything is connected, hybrids — people who are able to bridge multiple disciplines — wield tremendous power. They see the interrelationships between things that used to be isolated in silos, and they’re able to creatively combine them in innovative new ways.
Marketing technologists and growth hackers, oh my
The terms “marketing technologist” and “growth hacker” seem to be gaining traction out there.
Voice-based marketing automation provider ifbyphone recently released their annual State of Marketing Measurement Survey for 2013, which included the following results on the evolution of the marketing team:
- 31% have a marketing technologist
- 25% have a growth hacker
- Marketing automation is used more frequently by teams with growth hackers (44%) than teams without growth hackers (26%)
Ifbyphone defines a marketing technologist as “a marketer with significant IT skills.” They define a growth hacker as “a marketer who combines marketing knowledge with a strong technical background to drive growth.”
The survey was conducted online earlier this year with more than 400 respondents across the U.S. who are responsible for marketing within their company. Unfortunately, more detailed firmographics of the participants were not provided, so it’s hard to draw more specific conclusions about the kinds of organizations this data represents (size, industry, B2B vs. B2C, etc.). My guess is that they’re probably mostly smaller firms, since only 1/4 report having a product manager, which is a fairly common role at larger organizations. (Interesting note: for this population, marketing technologists are more common than product managers.)
There’s a common fallacy known as a false dilemma or false dichotomy. It’s where you’re artificially presented with a black-and-white, either-or choice: you’re forced to choose between all of one or all of the other. “Your either with us or against us!”
It’s a fallacy because, most of the time, you’re not actually constrained to just those two choices. There are many great options in the middle — and often even more outside of that narrowly framed continuum.
In modern marketing, however, I’ve been noticing that more and more issues are being framed as black-and-white, either-or choices. We seem more ready than ever to take a new idea and either reject it completely or embrace it to the point of absurdity. The “reasonable middle” seems to get relatively little voice, even though in most cases, a balanced approach is optimal.
Consider these examples, topics that generate much debate at the extremes but in actuality benefit from a healthy dose of moderation:
Have you ever wondered why the Leaning Tower of Pisa leans? It’s because the builders didn’t lay a proper foundation, which was obvious shortly after they started building it. You’d think they’d have stopped and fixed it, but instead they spent the next 194 years building a tower that was clearly about to topple over.
Think about how stubborn you’d have to be to keep constructing a building that’s obviously falling over. But that’s just what many organizations are doing right now with their marketing automation program. Those marketers are trying to plug their old material into their new automation software, and are surprised that they’re not getting the results they want.
New technology requires new ways of doing things. The old style of marketing was to use one-shot “blasts” to generate leads, but modern buyers need time to get to know you and your brand before you can ask them for the sale. That means you can’t just automate the same old stuff. Instead, you need to take the time to lay a sturdy foundation and build from the ground up.
Last month, I attended the Marketing Operations Executive Summit — an intimate gathering of around 100 marketing operations executives — to give a talk on agile marketing.
What I left with, however, was a profound appreciation for the ascendency of the marketing operations role.
In the words of Craig Moore, a director at Sirius Decisions and the opening speaker, until recently, marketing operations was the island of misfit toys. It was definitely not the sexy side of marketing. It had little funding and little influence. If there was a metaphorical basement in the House Of Marketing, marketing operations was down there, shoveling data like coal.
But then a funny thing happened. The world got wired. Geek became chic. Customers were being won (or lost) by the experiences they had with companies on the web, with email, and via mobile devices. Data and software were moving from the back office to the front office. And the center of gravity in marketing started to shift to those who could make that machinery work.
In the land of non-technical marketers, might the marketing ops team be king?
It seems people have strong feelings for or against responsive Web design. My thanks to those with open minds who responded to last month’s column on SEO problems with responsive Web design with either praise or reasonable criticism. While I answered the most common criticisms already, one recent comment from Google’s John Mueller stood out to me.
When he posted Luke Wroblewski’s results of sites that have seen success with responsive Web design to Google+ with the caption #rwd #ftw, I wanted to remind Google and other responsive Web design advocates that responsive Web design, while great for some sites, is not the right solution for others.
Customers at the top of today’s sales funnels are invisible to businesses, researching, reading, and evaluating companies without ever picking up the phone. The sales funnel itself has started to look less like a well-defined funnel and more like a maze full of possible touch-points. And marketing—particularly content marketing—has a larger share of that sales funnel than ever before.
So what does this mean for content creators? How do we adapt to the changing sales funnel? How do we engage, inform, and entertain our invisible audiences, turning them into visible leads?
Talk about starting the new quarter with some earth-shattering news!
We’ve now heard of several leading enterprises that are undertaking a major restructuring of marketing, IT, and sales to better align themselves with the market forces of the 21st century. Under this new organizational structure — code-named “Greener Grass” at one Fortune 500 firm — the following changes are being implemented immediately:
Marketing will now officially take over IT. This shift was inevitable after the claim that by 2017 that CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs became so widespread that CIOs found it nearly unbearable to work with their grinning CMO counterparts who kept repeating it again and again and again.
One CIO reportedly exclaimed, “Oh, for Pete’s sake — these are the people who still get confused when the flight attendants ask them to turn off their wireless transmitters!”
CMOs seem more giddy about the transition though, with one of them saying, “Wait, you mean I can have whatever SaaS-y tech things I want? Nobody will say no? Hoo-boy, where’s that super cool diagram with all those toys I can buy.”
2013 is an exciting time to be a marketer.
This year, even more organizations are investing in marketing automation software to better target their campaigns, analyze the effectiveness of their efforts, and calculate ROI with more accuracy than ever before. Marketers can now track every step of the buyer’s journey, take that data and turn it into strategies to successfully drive results including lead and revenue generation.
The point we’re getting at? Marketing automation has empowered marketers to impact purchase decisions–and to prove it. But to really take advantage of the possibilities, you–the modern marketer–need to do more than blast your database with product offers, free trials, and company updates. You need to build trust and authority with your target customers by sharing valuable information they actually want to consume. You need to address the specific issues and pain points, which may be different based on their role in their organization or stage of the buyer’s journey.
You need to create and share relevant, targeted content.