Direct Marketing News, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Only 6% of companies deem email a desirable skill when hiring staff. Specialists are out, brand generalists are back in, says a new Forrester study.
Only 6% of marketing decision makers rank email marketing as the most important skill they consider when hiring or developing staff, according to a recently released study by research company Forrester Consulting and data-driven solution provider Oracle. In addition, just 2% of the respondents from France, Germany, the U.K., and U.S. list mobile strategy as their top-considered capability and a mere 1% say the same for social.
According to Andrea Ward, VP of marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud, recruiters are no longer looking to hire marketers who specialize in specific areas; instead, they’re aiming to bring on marketers who understand a variety of channels and can help companies communicate and engage with customers across them.
“It’s expected for the marketer to understand how each one of those channels contributes to the overall experience,” she says.
If email and mobile marketing aren’t the most coveted skills, what are? According to the 492 surveys and six phone interviews conducted for the study, one third of respondents rank brand management as the number one qualification when growing or enhancing their staff. Strategic planning came in a distant second with 13% of decision makers listing it as the most desired proficiency and data analysis came in a close third at 12%.
However, Ward wonders if marketers view brand managers in the same light that they did 10 years ago. Perhaps marketers are adapting data-driven marketers into a new brand manager role, she says.
Still, finding people who know how to merge data, marketing, and of course technology all into one profession is a challenge marketers continually face, Ward says. But companies can find this three-in-one persona in the “modern marketer.”
A modern marketer, according to Ward, is someone who knows how to use technology to learn about their customers, apply those learnings to create personalized conversations and content, and execute programs that measure their effectiveness in doing so.
“A modern marketer is someone who’s really looking to change the way a company has a relationship with its customers,” she summarizes.
Modern marketers first came onto the scene in the early 2000s, Ward suspects, when consumerization of technology and increased access to information became more prevalent. The dawn of this new marketing figure brought its own share of benefits, too. For example, adopting a modern marketer mindset empowers marketers by enabling them to show senior executives performance metrics around marketing activities, she says. Knowing which marketing activities are the most effective can also help marketers drive revenue. Consider the following: 44% of modern marketers say that their companies’ revenues exceeded their plan by 10% or more over the past year, according to Forrester and Oracle’s data. What’s more, companies that hire modern marketers tend to be the leaders within their industries. According to the study, 94% of modern marketers say that they’ve attained significant market share, and 49% claim to be the sole market leaders.
But becoming a modern marketer is easier said than done. In fact, just 11% of respondents qualify as modern marketers, according to the study. Ward attributes this low number to the fact that many marketers are still in the middle of their journey. Indeed, 41% of respondents say they’re in the developing stage of their marketing maturity progression and 33% consider themselves in the experienced phase. Furthermore, 15% say that they’re just starting out and are in the novice phase.
To reach modern marketer status, marketers need to grow in three key areas: attribution, storytelling, and digital experience creation, Ward says.
“The core to all of this, though, is the customer data element and knowing your customer,” Ward says. “If that foundation doesn’t exist, it’s going to be really hard to achieve those [three] other pillars.”
Marketers are already beginning to make strides in these categories. For instance, 87% of marketers surveyed agree or strongly agree that their messaging has become much more targeted toward specific segments, personas, or clients. In addition, 83% of respondents analyze their best customers to better understand how they buy and find other customers and prospects like them. And this hard work is paying off. According to the study, 35% of marketers rank increased sales as the most important result of upgrading their marketing strategies, processes, technologies, and skills over the past two years.
Of course, Ward acknowledges that transforming into a modern marketer doesn’t happen overnight and that it can often require organizational shifts. For instance, Ward cites silos as a main challenge that often inhibits organizations from reaching modern marketer status.
“There are questions around things like privacy, legal, or other process implications that go beyond the marketing organization,” she says. “When I’m talking to folks, those are the areas where they’re asking how to start broadening that change beyond just marketing.”
Therefore, it’s up to marketers to be that change and lead their organizations to a more silo-free way of life.