Not long ago, marketing was about the 4 Ps (product, price, place and promotion). It wasn’t about educating and engaging customers like it is today. The change in marketing’s roles and responsibilities was led by the Internet – which shifted knowledge and power to the customer – and is now being propelled by marketing technology.
Marketing capabilities are leading to specialization
Evolution is happening faster than ever, requiring more and more specialization. That specialization is vital to a thriving marketing career. This is especially true for technical marketers who are responsible for the systems and data that power customer engagement.
They require a deep knowledge of how systems work and communicate with each other, and must understand the ways data should be stored to provide maximum accessibility and flexibility for use (e.g., analytics and segmentation). Additionally, they must have the skills to customize tech solutions and interpret the resulting data.
Few (if any!) marketers have this array of knowledge and abilities. There’s simply too many MarTech solutions that can be leveraged in myriad ways to successfully build expertise across the spectrum. Think of it along the lines of doctors specializing, from general practitioners to internists and then a step further to gastroenterologists or endocrinology.
…Yet general knowledge is still crucial, and motivating
Marketers need to specialize, but like doctors, we still need strong working concepts of all that is going on in the technical stack as well as the many other functions in the marketing organization.
Maintaining a working knowledge of all marketing functions – as well as staying abreast of trends and technologies – might seem burdensome, but it can also be energizing. Engaging with thought leaders, following Linkedin groups, and digging into interesting Tweets (not just re-tweeting) is mentally stimulating.
Participating in user groups and online communities such as Eloqua’s Topliners can provide a treasure trove of solutions for complex technology problems that others have already solved. Even better, you can share your experiences, help others and build your personal brand. Kristin Connell, director of digital marketing at DelTek and TopLiners leader, clearly highlight’s the community’s value:
“Topliners is an extension of our own team. If we were playing basketball, Topliners would be the infamous ‘6th man’ for us – enabling us to play smarter vs. harder. That, plus I get to ‘meet’ modern marketers from all over the world.”
Because change is happening so fast, we can’t be bystanders; we must jump into marketing’s technological revolution with everything we have. If we don’t, we’ll be left behind with our faltering businesses and careers.
“We need to become strategically bold about our profession and our responsibilities. We need to become comfortable living and working in beta because that’s where growth lies for all of us. In trying new ideas, testing new approaches and thinking unconventionally. We need to appreciate uncertainty, because comfort and growth can’t coexist.”
As the marketing revolution continues to unfold, we need to keep our eye on the ball and continually deliver value to the business: leads in the pipeline and top-line revenue. We shouldn’t care about technology because it’s the latest trend – we must care because without marketing automation and many other MarTech tools, our business and career will be left behind.
We must disrupt ourselves now to evolve with the industry. Those of us who do will watch our businesses grow and our careers flourish.