The role of the marketer in the digital age

For marketers who entered the profession when print and TV reigned supreme, the arrival of digital has been nothing short of a revolution.

Most obviously, it’s led to the creation of numerous new channels and technology, from websites and social media to blockchain and smartphone apps. All of these present new opportunities and challenges.

But has the role of marketer itself transformed – or merely adapted? And what type of person should your brand be looking for when it comes to growing your marketing team?

Traditional marketing

Ever since the 1950s, the mantra of marketers has been the Four Ps: product, price, place and promotion. 

Marketers’ job was simple: take the product and sell it, usually by telling a story about it in a creative way. The product itself would be developed by separate teams, and insights into customer behaviour would be garnered and analysed by market researchers, usually external. 

What digital has done is break down all those barriers between the marketing, product development, data analysis and customer support teams – and, most importantly, between brands and customers themselves.

Data-driven marketing

Take data about customer behaviour. Nowadays, it’s produced in real-time at a rate of knots through a variety of channels: social media likes, click-throughs and web page views as well as purchases. 

Marketers need to be tech-savvy enough to extract this data, numerate enough to analyse it – and quick-witted enough to respond to it, fast. 

But they also need to understand what’s driving customer behaviour at every step of the journey.

Customer experience

These days, marketers must respond to, shape and create the entire customer experience of their brand. That includes every customer touchpoint, not just those connected with sales. 

Increasingly, customers care about companies’ values: some 66% say they would spend more on a product from a sustainable brand, rising to 73% among Millennials.

As technology such as blockchain makes accountability and transparency possible right along the supply and value chains, consumers are demanding to know that their cash is being spent in a way that resonates with their principles. 

Customer collaboration

Customers also expect greater collaboration with brands. Businesses which talk to, rather than with, their customers are doomed to be overtaken by disruptor brands using new technology to offer personalised services.

No wonder that more and more Chief Marketing Officers are being re-designated as Chief Growth Officers: marketing is no longer a thing that’s done to a finished product, but rather an integral part of how a business develops its goods, services and brand.

All-rounders or specialists?

So these days, marketers need to be all-rounders shaping the entire product lifecycle and helping to jell all the teams involved – a role recently described as “the master of the orchestra”. They need to be agile, multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional.

But they also need to be experts who can cut through the noise of limitless data and content and focus on what really matters: the brand’s key messages, its ethos, and its journey with its customers. 

Tamara Rogers, global chief marketing officer of GSK Consumer Healthcare, cites the following essential capacities: “The ability to be wide-eyed and laser-focused. Open to the unexpected opportunities but only if they are in support of the brand positioning and strategy. Stay current by keeping pace with change and be endlessly curious about the opportunities change provides.”

Marketing’s certainly come a long way in the digital age. And the future of marketing as a career looks to be a challenging and exciting one too.

Contact Linney today

To discuss how Linney can help your brand meet the marketing challenges of the digital age, contact us today.