Four Survival Skills That Every Next-Gen Marketer Needs

bear grylThe days when marketing executives could justify their jobs with “increased brand visibility” and “higher consumer confidence” now belong to a bygone era, like Mad Men and the three-martini lunch. The marketers of today sound more like data scientists than armchair sociologists as they talk about marketing ROI metrics and how technologies like Hadoop can transform the customer experience. It may seem as though Marketing has finally found its inner geek, but the reality is that data analytics has grown a lot cooler in the last five years. If marketers want to keep up in this new environment, they’ll need to develop these four survival skills and fast:

An Analytical Mind

Experience with data analytics is no longer just a qualification for IT. Next-gen marketers will need to roll up their sleeves and dig into their data with gusto and a good understanding of different analytic approaches. That means knowing the different strengths and weaknesses that enterprise data warehouses, marketing applications and big data systems bring to the table.

The Ability to Navigate the C-Suite

As marketing departments become drivers of technology in the business, they’ll need to communicate and build consensus among the CIO, CFO and CEO to get buy-in for those technology purchases. This requires that marketing learn to present its initiatives across the C-suite in measurable and understandable ways such as return on marketing investment, shifting capex to opex, growing top-line revenue and capturing market share.

A Newfound Respect for Customer Preferences

Next-gen marketers are expected to protect customer relationships and identities rather than behave like paparazzi who would put the pursuit of the perfect customer snapshot ahead of privacy. Despite the amount of personal information shared through social media, consumers are still highly selective and engaged in the kinds of information they share and with whom. Successful next-gen marketers will understand how to achieve customer intimacy by asking permission and using anonymized data analytics to protect identities.

A Passion for Sharing

On the other side of the coin, next-gen marketers will need to become better at sharing information with colleagues and trusted business partners. The old days of hoarding data insights like so much treasure have given way to infused intelligence where analytic insights are embedded into business processes such as supply chain management and customer service to create a consistent, 360-degree customer experience.

As more next-gen marketers enter the global workforce, we’ll begin to see a profound change in the way that other departments and particularly the C-suite view the role of marketing in the organization. The outdated image of Mad Men working magic with smoke and mirrors who could be easily sacrificed to the chopping block during an economic downturn will disappear. In its place, the marketing department of the future will be viewed as a vital Data/Customer Champion whose efforts are instrumental in harnessing data to drive better decisions across the business.

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