Marketers, Quit Being Know-it-Alls

Gone are the days when experts could sit comfortably in the knowledge that they knew all there was to know about their given field. Over-specialization in marketing has gone from being a blessing to a curse, and it’s getting worse. Marketers are asked to display increasingly more diverse skills when applying for positions.

Take a look at this info from a PR 20/20 post on recruiting digital marketing talent. It lists all keywords that appear in ads for marketing positions, pulled from LinkedIn in June 2014.

Marketers, Quit Being Know it Alls image PR Marketing Skills 600x372

Why is this happening?

New and amazing marketing software, research in psychology, and platforms with which to reach consumers has meant that traditional marketers have had to adapt to survive. The rate at which the technologies of the digital marketing arena have been emerging and expanding has made adaptation especially difficult to achieve.

Perhaps the problem is not with adaptation, but with understanding. Understanding where Digital sits within the greater landscape of Marketing, and understanding what the roles, skill-sets, and expectant results are required from your Digital Marketing team.

The lack of common understanding is reflected in the multitude of terms that spring up to describe different aspects of the work that marketers are required to do: growth hacking. marketing technologist. marketing automation specialist. acquisition strategist. You can be damn sure it won’t stop there, and that the same table above would look different a year from now. So how to navigate in this increasingly confusing landscape?

Here are a few things worth pondering:

Know that you don’t know – It’s ok in this day and age to not know it all. No one in their right mind could expect you to (although, there’ll still be many that do!). One thing that is important to understand, is what it is that you don’t know. It’s the first step towards knowing which type of help you need to perform at your role. The next one is knowing where to get it. In case you’re one of those who like to be know-alls, here’s a quick test: without looking, name at least 10 names from each section of this marketing technology supergraphic:

Marketers, Quit Being Know it Alls image marketing technology jan2014 600

Scott Brinker’s now (in)famous martech landscape graphic

Keep up to date with what’s going on – Make sure you are ahead of the curve by spending some time finding out what’s happening with new technologies, new research, and new ideas. Many of us squirm at the thought of having to learn yet another marketing platform, and it may seem reasonable to stick with the platform you know, and that you have already invested considerable resources in. This is often true, but this kind of thinking can often leave you behind the 8-ball. Plus, it’s easier than you think. Jut sign up for a Prismatic account, select some topics of interest and the right information will soon flow into your hands without any effort on your part.

Embrace your choice of an evolving profession – It’s really a blessing. The introduction of the Internet, and more so smart devices, has had a huge impact on how marketers rationalize (and “emtionalize”, for that matter) their audiences. The move from Newspapers and Magazines to Television and Radio took more than half a century. The shift from Television and Radio to Desktop Internet took barely a decade, and the rise of Mobile Devices has begun merely a few years ago. At this rate of progression we are looking at a constant revolution of marketing channels to consider. It’s important to keep up with every one of these channels until they become obsolete (is print obsolete yet?). Still think you must be an expert on each and every one of them? refer to item 1 above.


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