Morphing of Digital Marketers

I was recently having a conversation with someone about whether I thought the role of marketers is changing. I don’t know whether the role of every marketer is changing but I do know the skill set needs of digital marketers overall has been changing for a while.

While there are many who claim all marketing is digital marketing, color me cynical on that. If you have worked in the traditional verticals that have always dealt with paper and who have tens of millions of customers who are more comfortable with paper than solely engaging in digital you know this simply isn’t true. If you doubt this, take a look at dollars spent for digital against overall marketing budgets at many large companies.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t create digital experiences that simplify and deepen their engagement with the brand over acquisition, service and retention phases. But it does mean you don’t walk around the halls screaming how digital is going to be the only channel that matters. Yeah I know, shocking and this coming from me!

However, for those of us involved in digital marketing, the field is becoming more technology driven. Vendors and products are becoming more business user friendly and integrations are starting to get simpler. If you run many of the products that you can find on our marketing technology management platform, Open Lantern (openlantern.com), you will see that many products are now built with connectors that make data integration easier than before. Navigation has become more user friendly, menus are in actual English and you don’t need to fill out 40 fields to complete a transaction. Many of these vendors are now hiring CX and UX specialists to create a better experience inside their products.

As these products get easier, marketers still need to become more technologically aware. This does not mean that marketers should become developers, although I have interviewed many young marketers out of college who can code HTML pages with CSS and Javascript. At a minimum marketers should be familiar with what the top five marketing technology categories are and how they can help them. They should be able to log into a SaaS product and understand the basics of what they are looking at. Your marketers should be able to sit in meetings with IT and not be thrown by the conversations that are happening around development, integration and maintenance. These skills are not nice-to-have’s any longer. They are table stakes in the increasingly technologically focused world of digital marketing.

The creation of Marketing Technology departments in various companies is the start to getting marketing departments to sync better with their IT and vendor counterparts. These hybrid technology marketers bring a skill-set to the table that does not exist still in many organizations. It still remains true that the overall rising of the technology competence of all our marketing staff will see a rise in the marketing capabilities we can deliver for our customers. Our job in leadership is to make sure that our people are getting the right training and experience to adapt to the rapidly evolving world of technology in digital marketing.