As the rate of change within marketing accelerates, brands will either lead or be left behind. Columnist Paul Roetzer posits that marketing talent, not technology, will determine the winners and losers.
Thousands of marketing technology products clutter the landscape, with new solutions emerging daily to disrupt the status quo. The resulting competition and relentless innovation ensure that marketing technology is increasingly affordable for businesses of all sizes, which continually levels the playing field.
When technology is equal, success and differentiation become contingent on a rapid evolution of marketing talent.
Unfortunately, for most brands and marketers, the gap between what technology enables, and what they’re capable of doing with it, is widening.
Every business has the potential to create a competitive advantage through talent. But there must be a commitment to invest in recruiting, developing and retaining tech-savvy hybrids who blur the lines between the art and science of marketing.
While universities still play a critical role in preparing professionals, the onus falls on businesses to create their own modern marketers through internal education programs. Internal academies create structured curriculum using the wealth of educational resources available to businesses — books, blogs, influencers, online training and certification programs, and in-person conferences.
In order to differentiate your business, and accelerate success, your marketing team must be immersed in technology.
Let’s take a look at a collection of resources that can help marketers continually evolve their knowledge and capabilities. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Add your go-to resources in the comments at the bottom.
The industry is lacking a definitive book on marketing technology, but these are a few of my favorite technology-related titles that can inspire and educate marketers:
1. Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner — If you want to understand what’s possible in marketing, start here. Steiner uses cases studies of disruption in other industries, and the implications to marketing are undeniable.
2. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee — The Industrial Age, led by the steam engine, transformed the history of the world. Now, we are poised to experience a second transformation that “bends the curve of human history.” This time it’s technology leading to advances in mental power, rather than physical power, and every industry will be affected.
3. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg — Very few companies have impacted the world and the marketing industry like Google in the 21st century. This book provides a fascinating and inspiring inside look at Google’s strategy and growth.
“The defining characteristic of today’s successful companies is the ability to continually deliver great products. And the only way to do that is to attract smart creatives and create an environment where they can succeed at scale.” — How Google Works (Hachette Book Group, 2014)
Blogs & Online Publications
The industry lost a leading source of technology news when GigaOm suddenly shut down. But there’s no shortage of online outlets to choose from, including:
4. KISSmetrics: This blog is ideal for tech-savvy marketers. The marketing software company produces a consistently reliable stream of high-quality content in the areas of analytics, social, conversion optimization, SEO and growth hacking.
5. ChiefMartec: Scott Brinker has been a leading voice in marketing technology for years. His Chief Marketing Technologist blog is a must-subscribe for modern marketers.
6. Business Insider Tech: Business Insider is the first email I read every day, and I usually click on at least three to five headlines. While the site features a wide range of topics, the technology section is a great curation of the top news and trends affecting the industry.
Also check out: Accenture, Adobe Digital Marketing, Capgemini, Contently, Harvard Business Review, HubSpot, IBM Social Business, LinkedIn, Mashable, MIT Sloan Management Review, Moz, Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik, Percolate, ReadWrite, Six Pixels of Separation by Mirum, TechCrunch and Think with Google.
Editor’s Note: Also remember here at Marketing Land, we have a dedicated Martech Channel, which provides original content focused on marketing technology. If you subscribe to our marketing technology newsletter at the top of that page, you’ll also get a weekly summary of all our martech-related content.
This list of industry luminaries could run 100-plus deep, so I’ve focused on a select group of marketing technologists whose writings and work have most significantly influenced how I view the the industry.
7. Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec): He’s the man behind the MarTech Conference, the marketing technology landscape and chiefmartec.com. Oh, and he’s president and CTO of a marketing software company, too.
8. Sheldon Montiero (@sheldon_tm): Montiero is chief marketing technology officer (CMTO) at SapientNitro and architect of the agency’s CMTO University, the most comprehensive internal marketing academy model I’ve seen to date. View his 2014 MarTech deck, Growing Unicorns, to learn more.
9. Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel): Joel is an author, entrepreneur, internationally renowned speaker, and one of the most prolific bloggers and podcasters in the industry. He consistently shares his unique and valuable perspectives on business, marketing and technology. Modern marketers should be listening and reading what he has to say.
10. Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh): Shah is co-founder and CTO of HubSpot and creator of OnStartups.com and Inbound.org. He’s also one of the most brilliant and humble entrepreneurs I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Online Training & Certification
A growing number of organizations have capitalized on the need to fill education and training gaps in the industry. Here are six businesses that provide online training and certification for the next generation of marketers.
12. Content Marketing Institute: CMI teaches the art and science of storytelling through more than 35 online lessons in the areas of planning, audience, story, channels, process, conversion and measurement.
13. Google: The Google Analytics Academy is an ideal starting point for marketers seeking to expand their knowledge and capabilities.
14. HubSpot: The Boston-based marketing software company provides inbound marketing certification via online classes. Topics run the gamut of inbound methodology, from optimizing websites to landing page anatomy to segmenting contact databases. HubSpot also offers product and marketing agency partner certifications.
15. MarketingProfs: The company provides “Real-World Education for Modern Marketers.” Certifications are available through the MarketingProfs University program. Online training areas include branding, content marketing, digital marketing, email, lead generation and nurturing, writing, mobile, online advertising and social.
16. Treehouse: The company hosts more than 1,000 training videos on Web design, coding and business basics. Businesses can create groups and monitor progress and standings, which adds an element of gamification to the process.
There are hundreds of marketing conferences from which to choose. Here is a small sample of top destinations to consider as part of your company’s ongoing education program.
17. MarTech: MarTech draws the brightest minds in the industry together to talk about the convergence of marketing and technology. The inaugural event was held August 2014 in Boston.
18. Content Marketing World: The new marketing imperative is to create more value, for more people, more often, so when they choose to buy, they choose you. Content marketing and storytelling is the engine that makes that possible. Content Marketing World is hosted in my hometown of Cleveland every September.
19. INBOUND: More than 10,000 attendees packed the INBOUND 2014 conference in Boston. The annual event, which is hosted by HubSpot, features more than 150 sessions.
20. SXSW Interactive: Austin, Texas, is home to South by Southwest (SXSW), which, in 2014, included more than 32,000 participants from 82 countries, 1,100 sessions, and 2,377 speakers (source PDF). The educational choices (and parties) are seemingly endless, making this event a preferred choice for many marketing technologists.
The Age Of Tech-Savvy Marketing Talent
Tech-savvy, hybrid marketers are capable of building, managing and executing fully integrated campaigns. They are agile, adept at inbound strategy and, most importantly, immersed in marketing technology.
Businesses that have been slow to evolve are falling behind. Forward-thinking agencies, publishers, corporations and media companies are adapting their hiring and training practices to create sustainable competitive advantages through modern marketing talent.
The right technology is only the beginning. It’s how marketers integrate and utilize that technology that drives business performance.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)