Dear fellow marketers, I have a question for you:
Why is it always something?
I’ll bet most of you know what I mean! Marketing can be a thankless job. After all, we don’t close the deals. We don’t retain the customers. We’re not typically on the front lines of the press interviews (though we are often cultivating the message behind them).
In general and as outlined below, being a marketer can be tough. However, in the data-driven era, there is also more room than ever for marketers to prove their worth – and congruently that opportunity is at our fingertips.
1. We’re expected to simultaneously be a creative agency and a data scientist.
Being creative and simultaneously analytical typically involves two very different brain processes. And while it may be a headache within the marketing realm, it isn’t going to go away. In the not-so-distant past, marketing more so resembled the Don Draper era, where the creatives were creative and the metrics of success fell wholly on another department, where people born to number crunch got to live out their spreadsheet dreams.
Today, while finances are delegated to the numbers department, success metrics are not. As many before me have stated, the role of the CMO and the CIO are merging rapidly, so while the monitoring of revenue is another department’s responsibility, calculating a campaign’s success metrics – leads, impressions, shares – is on you, sweet marketing friend.
What’s the best way to make analytics understandable for creatives? Visualize them. Big data doesn’t have to be scary, in fact, big data is the biggest marketing asset we own. The answer to being both creative and analytical is to use visualized big data for consumer insights. This way, when you take “risks,” they aren’t actually risks. When you know the affinities and demographics of your audience, you know what will resonate. Guess work doesn’t have to be the basis of your team’s creativity. And in the modern marketing department, guess work is simply no longer acceptable.
And in the modern marketing department, guess work is simply no longer acceptable.
2. Our tenure is short.
The average CMO simply doesn’t stick around long. Why? Often it comes down to this simple fact: marketing is ever-evolving.
Consider the rise of the social media manager over the past decade. That role simply didn’t exist in generations past, yet it has become essential to the modern marketing team. Any CMO who couldn’t anticipate that rise in need is probably no longer the CMO at their (former) company.
And that doesn’t just apply to social media roles or needs. They say marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 50, which means that CMOs need to be ahead of the curve, with their finger on the pulse, 24/7, all while performing their day job.
Despite the ever-changing magnitude of a CMOs role, the average tenure is actually increasing. The positive little culprit working in our favor is measurability. Yes, our time spent trying to mold both the left and right hemispheres of our brains is paying off because where we are measurable, we are properly modifiable.
3. We are in the midst of a technology overload.
Marketing automations promise the best tracking insights. We have listening platforms to measure sentiment analysis. There is no shortage of CRMs and DMPs. My inbox is constantly overloaded with emails from sales reps promising me increased ROI, deeper insights, lower ad spend – the list goes on.
How do I know which platform is truly the best out there, for my company and for my team, or if it’s worth my time to consolidate and create a hybrid platform of sorts. And how much money would that cost?
With the need to provide detailed analytics in order to solve the two aforementioned issues, the real difficulty of the CMO arises here: which do you choose?
Audience insight, or consumer insight, is a marketer’s most powerful tool. It allows you to take calculated risks that put positive success metrics on your spreadsheets and in your presentations to the executive team. It allows you to maintain a long-term tenure and keep your eye on what your audience sees as the prize (and then deliver). So the solution here is actually pretty simple: pay for the system that gives you the most of what you need – audience insight.
Big data plays the integral role here, especially when it comes to second-party data (or data collected via social media). Via permission from your users, you can use social authentication to collect data points on your audience’s brand affinities, social habits, demographics and, ultimately, their personal concerns, needs, wishes and desires. Couple that with on-site analytics and suddenly there’s context around the people who bounce and those who don’t, those who request a demo and those who read the blog, those who share and those who comment.
Context is the backbone of the marketing department, and you’ll need to exercise it for future campaigns.
That context is the backbone of the marketing department, and you’ll need to exercise it for future calculated campaigns (or risks), and producing the success metrics you’ll need to prove your dollars were well spent.
The fact of the matter is that we are in the throes of the data-driven marketing era, and there is no going back. Even if history repeats itself and we resort back to billboards and mass blasting, there will be a way to measure impressions, conversions and everything else the CMOs of yesterday never had access to.
The time is now to rise above these marketing challenges and welcome the opportunity instead.