Are you afraid of the future? Are you afraid for your job?
All the excitement about technology and data in the marketing ecosystem creates new opportunities -- but opportunity depends on change, and change requires new roles and skills. What roles are we giving up when we create these new opportunities? Will your job be threatened if you don’t know how to proceed?
The technology stack being developed for marketers is focused on efficiency and targeting, maximizing both upfront spend as well as back-end performance. In this case, we’re losing project-management-oriented, process-centric, paperwork-dependent roles. Trafficking, operations and project management are probably most affected, with immeasurable hours being saved from the process of implementing advertising and marketing campaigns. This creates cost savings, which can be passed along to the end budget owner. If this is internally focused, you can reallocate headcount to more strategic roles, or even push dollars into more active media and acquisition-oriented expenditures. If this spend is agency-focused, then your agency costs can be reduced, with more dollars also being allocated to working media.
I think what’s most valuable is that the opportunities being created are more analytical and strategic. To be successful now means that spreadsheets must be within your comfort zone, which may not have been true as recently as four to five years ago. Marketers must be able to evaluate performance, identify trends in the data, and optimize efforts to meet goals. Long-term plans will be required, but dependent on short-term “sprints,” with 90-day milestones and weekly analytical exercises to determine if you’re on track. This creates a more strategic day-to-day situation for marketers.
All this is music to my ears, and I would hope the same could be said for other marketers. I never enjoyed the mundane processes at most large organizations. Still, in this new environment you cannot rest on your laurels and sit idly by, hoping things will work out. If you are unsuccessful, it will show very quickly. That can be intimidating, since accountability can be a scary thing.
I’m not saying marketers don’t like to be accountable, but there are many cases where marketing metrics are too brand-focused and less revenue-focused, and I think those days are on the way out. Marketers are becoming more and more responsible for revenue, and I personally find that exciting. I like knowing the art and science behind what we do actually works. I like knowing if something isn’t working. I like proving value to the organization!
So whether you’re afraid for your job depends on whether you’re driving actionable, measurable business objectives -- or are hiding behind process and “awareness”-type metrics. If you are comfortable with accountability and efficiency, and happy working toward a common, revenue-based goal, then you are armed with what you need to be successful. If not, then I would recommend some soul-searching this year. If these changes don’t come to your organization in 2015, they will most certainly be there in 2016.
Good luck to us all!