As little as 10 years ago, media such as direct mail and billboards might have been a marketer’s best friend. While analog channels are still part of the mix, the digital revolution has created many more powerful ways to reach customers and prospects. And as this professional field has evolved, so have the competencies that support performance excellence.
A decade ago, marketers were still measuring newspaper-column inches to evaluate the effectiveness of their earned-media efforts. Today, they’re looking at CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), CTR (click-through rates), heat maps, and other sophisticated means of measuring the impact of their largely digital campaigns.
As the world changes, so do the competencies professionals need to navigate the new landscape successfully. That’s why HRSG recently updated its marketing competency dictionary with several new competencies that address the dramatic changes these disciplines have undergone in a relatively short time.
In years past, you might have seen articles talking about the importance of integrating digital marketing into print and analog strategies. Today, it’s more likely to be the other way around. Both consumers and business-to-business customers are increasingly going online to connect with vendors and brands, and as a result, marketing has become a technical discipline that’s heavily focused on the digital space. The marketing technology industry grew a staggering 170% between 2011 and 2015, and marketers are scrambling to keep up. According to Korn Ferry, 27% of CMOs were concerned about their ability to stay ahead of and take advantage of digital technology trends. Understanding this new medium and knowing how to use it is a must-have competency for every marketer, regardless of the industry they work in or the type of customer they need to reach.
NEW COMPETENCY >> Digital Marketing: Developing digital strategies, programs and tools in line with organization’s branding and sales objectives.
Content is king
As digital channels have created new ways to connect and communicate, the field of content marketing has exploded. Customers are no longer satisfied to wait until information about products and services reaches them. They are actively seeking out those information sources and educating themselves. A study commissioned by InPowered revealed that consumers engage with an average of 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. As a consequence, marketing teams are tasked with producing articles, blog posts, white papers, infographics, explainer videos, and dozens of other content types. 88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing. And three out of four marketers say they’re ramping up their investment in content marketing in the future. Creating informative and engaging content journeys is one of the most critical competencies for marketers in the age of information.
NEW COMPETENCY: Content Marketing: Developing content strategies, programs and tools in line with the organization’s marketing framework and objectives.
Customer is king
When Econsultancy conducted a survey on digital marketing trends, respondents identified the customer experience as the most exciting opportunity. And it’s no wonder. By focusing on the total experience rather than the product or service, businesses can boost customer retention, satisfaction, and cross- and upsell opportunities—all while generating even more marketing buzz through customer evangelism. And when marketers neglect the customer experience, the impact is huge. Nearly half (42%) of US customers will stop purchasing from a company after only two bad customer experiences. Not only that, but 95% of respondents who had a bad customer experience said they told someone about it, and 86% of potential customers report that negative reviews affect their buying decision. Clearly, in a world of connected, empowered consumers, being able to deliver a seamless and responsive customer experience is a critical marketing competency.
NEW COMPETENCY >> Customer Experience Management: Developing customer experience strategies, programs and tools in line with organization’s business strategy and objectives.
The marketing octopus
The vast majority of marketers (95%) agree that a multi-channel strategy is important for their organization. And those channels are multiply rapidly and gaining bigger and bigger audiences. Smartphone use among US adults has nearly doubled since 2011, which means that no marketer can afford to ignore mobile. One million new potential customers join a social media channel every day (that’s 12 new users per second), adding not just one, but potentially dozens of additional communication channels to the mix. Yet the older forms of advertising, including print magazines, outdoor advertising, and television are by no means dead. As a result, marketers are required to coordinate a cohesive and consistent strategy across an increasingly complex tangle of channels.
NEW COMPETENCY >> Multi-Channel Marketing: Maximizing the performance of each multi-channel – physical retail, phone, online, and mobile – to maximize return from each sales opportunity through the implementation of an integrated strategy and plan.
Every discipline evolves over time, but marketing has undergone a radical transformation in the digital age. To stay relevant, job profiles for this fast-evolving profession need to be updated with fresh competencies that reflect today’s marketing realities and empower marketers to succeed.