Before the Internet and mobile computing era, the role of marketing was pretty typical. The tactics were slow to change (radio advertising began in the 1920s, while TV was the next major revolution in the 1940s – that’s two decades apart!) and marketers honed in on the 4 P’s. Marketing was easy to teach in schools as things were slow to change. Stripping out gender and race issues in our history, the roles within a typical marketing team did not change much over the last half of the 20th century.
Fast-track to 2013, and the roles within a marketing team are evolving and changing yearly – often at the speed of advancements in digital technology. To provide some context, think about the following:
- Tablets – It’s been three years since Apple introduced their first iPad. Marketers weren’t even thinking about tablets at the time, let alone responsive design and mobile-optimized customer acquisition and branding. This is now core to any marketing team.
- Social media – Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn did not exist 10 years ago.
- Information Overload – whether it’s Google Analytics, big data software, or even just Excel, marketers have data at their disposal in abundance. Call it Moore’s Law of marketing data.
These are three distinct examples of advancements in hardware, society and culture, and analytics; each one affects individual marketers and how businesses build out their marketing teams. Whether you have a single person covering the full-stack marketing responsibilities, or a team with generalist and specialists, the roles and responsibilities in a modern marketing team have changed.
Marketing Executive Marina Glogovac has seen it all as a marketing leader and digital trailblazer over the past 20 years. “When I was working in media publishing earlier in my career, our marketing tactics were much more traditional with typical direct response strategies and team structures. We had experts in building a brand, pricing, and promoting our products,” says Glogovac. “As I moved into leadership positions, becoming CEO of Lavalife and CMO of Kobo and DealFind, the marketing roles and the types of people I hired changed. We began focusing on content, so writers and editors became important. We needed younger people who were in tune with social media and technology. We required development and design resources who understood marketing.”
So what type of roles and people make up the modern marketing team?
One of the most common themes I’m seeing these days is the transition of professional journalists into professional marketers. Are they just the same thing now considering the rise of content marketing? With the decline of media publishing and the uptake of brands becoming publishers in their own right, journalists are taking their copywriting and deadline-meeting talents to marketing teams. Add in some working knowledge of SEO, CTAs, and influencer marketing, and bingo – you’re a marketer!
Programmers with broad skills – be it in management, sales and marketing, or design – are tough to come by. Find one for your marketing team and the sky is the limit. Marketing developers can expedite things like setting up analytics configurations, building conversion funnels and landing pages, setting up campaign optimization macros, and just generally trying funky stuff by leveraging their core development skills. This leads to our next one…
I don’t think that there is one great definition for what a Growth Hacker truly does, but aspects of the role converge on all areas of marketing – especially product marketing and user acquisition. Essentially you’re an experimenter who has the right combination of soft skills to get buy-in to just test stuff out, and the hard skills to execute such experiments.
CRM, marketing automation, digital publishing, analytics, email marketing – with so many third-party tools in play, marketing teams need people who can work across various marketing softwares.
All marketers need to understand data and numbers. It’s never been easier with so many great analytics suites out there. But, big data has shifted the model and now there exists an arena for true analytical minds to help aid marketing efforts with superior intel. Statisticians, MBA’s, finance wizards – these are all folks that can move into this marketing arena.
No longer is the sole role of a designer to simply accept a creative brief and spit out a few designs for marketers to reject and scribble on. A great marketing designer is well-rounded. She can research a topic, write copy, design great vectors in Illustrator, and build useful creative assets without relying on others. In a busy world where there’s generally too much back-and-forth and approval hierarchies, a designer who can execute end-to-end is a true marketing asset.
Every “head” of marketing knows that the CEO is truly in charge. In the social media arena, a good marketer will exaggerate this and promote company executives as extensions of the brand. What they say on twitter, what they blog about, what events they speak at, which articles they’re quoted in – this is all marketing and Executives need to play an active role. No more hiding out in the corner office!
Customer Success Coach
Marketers need to play an active role across the customer life cycle and lifetime, using analytics to find efficiencies and building processes that scale. No longer can marketing simply hand off customers to Sales and Support – they need to stay involved in the end-to-end experience. Glogovac explains that “analytics are now core to any marketing role and the new concept of a ‘revenue marketer’ has emerged whereby marketers are fully or indirectly responsible for sales.”
Few homepages are complete without the requisite company and/or product video. In a world in which YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine, creative types who can create great video content are core to any marketing team. New, emerging social video channels like Vine and Keek will change the paradigm of this role once again in the near future.
This is not a comprehensive list. Outlined here are some roles and responsibilities that did not exist prior to the digital revolution, or even just a few years ago in some cases.
What do you think? What roles are core to your modern marketing team?