Who Will Fill The Talent Gap In The New Era Of Data-Driven Marketing?

Fueled by the growing prevalence of big data, the way we work is changing. Forward-thinking companies are tapping abundant data streams to gather business intelligence and inform strategic decision making. For marketers, big data is at the heart of substantial shifts in how marketing campaigns are designed and delivered. While big data’s implications across many aspects of the marketing landscape have generated considerable discussion, less obvious is the impact it will have on the marketing teams of tomorrow, and how it will shift industry roles dramatically.

As marketers continue to embrace data-driven insights and the resulting fundamental changes to the consumer engagement game, it is now becoming increasingly evident that the players on the field also need to change. With the reorientation of marketing targeting, strategies and execution toward data and analytics, the brand marketing teams, agencies, and system integrators of tomorrow will look very different than today’s lineups.



The Brain Drain

Across the marketing industry, there is a looming talent crisis, which will likely be exacerbated as the C-suite becomes cognizant of the need for players with different skills than they’ve needed in the past. The Association of National Advertisers and Advertising Educational Foundation have issued a call to action for agencies and marketers, noting the need to plug the talent fissure resulting from candidates opting to work for adtech and martech companies. 

The industry’s talent-based nature means that it needs to attract different types of expertise with distinct skills. In order to win on the new playing field, brands and agencies now need to pair the right people with advanced technology. As marketers compete for a limited pool of data scientists & tech talent, they need to find ways to prepare and develop candidates, positioning themselves as employers of choice if they want to compete with the big tech and consultancy brands.  


The plethora of emerging technologies heralds the coming of an interesting and exciting decade, and data will be at the heart of groundbreaking changes in the marketing ecosystem. New playbooks are needed for this new era and winning teams will look to a new equation for success, DQ+TQ+CQ = MQ, where the Data Quotient (DQ) plus the Technology Quotient (TQ) plus the Creative Quotient (CQ) must come together and equal a new kind of Marketing Quotient (MQ).

Tomorrow’s most valuable players need to be comfortable with a broad range of data science, code, new technologies and SaaS-based solutions. They will be tasked with creating fresh ideas and recommendations based on insights coming from data platforms in real time, at light speed and then direct and deliver messages & delivery across every consumer experience touch point.  

The Tech-Creative Hybrid

Programmatic, augmented reality, machine learning and the growing adoption of people-based marketing across more channels and devices means that teams of the future are likely to be populated with anthropologists, tech geeks, content creators and data scientists will become the new account planners, art directors, strategists and media planners. 

Many positions will morph into a tech-creative hybrid, nurturing the marketing ecosystem and architecting solutions together to drive growth. Account planning will incorporate human behavior, data science and cultural analysis, art directors and copywriters will need to embrace the tech geek within and data scientists will become the new media strategists—curating data and predictive analytics to make insights actionable. 

In the beginning of the data revolution, there was a sentiment that data and creativity were incompatible, but this could not be further from the truth. Big data will deliver insights that marketers previously could not have gleaned, and marketing teams of the future will require talent that is able to pilot the technology and creatively use the data. As the touch points to reach consumers continue to expand, the MVPs of tomorrow will need to express their creativity in a multitude of ways, across an assortment of platforms.  

The Big Questions

In the same way that marketers of the future need to create experiences that people want to consume, companies of the future need to create environments that people aspire to work in. In this respect, the big questions raised by big data are: What are companies and agencies doing in order to prepare the talent of the future for this changing landscape?  And where can they turn for help when their expertise and resources fall short?

As data and technology become the critical foundation for customer experience, look for a new generation of consultancies to rise up and fill this void with a deep focus on data solutions and marketing system integration. The race to power next-generation marketing is on, and the lines between art and science will continue to blur as we sprint towards a world where humans and computers are harmoniously integrated. In the new marketing inning, the game is the same—but the players will be different.

2 comments about "Who Will Fill The Talent Gap In The New Era Of Data-Driven Marketing?".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, February 21, 2018 at 9:53 a.m.

    Laura:  Hard to disagree with your analysis.  What's the size of the talent shortfall?  What are
    the solutions?  Any ideas would be helpful.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 21, 2018 at 11:03 a.m.

    Of course "data" is always helpful guidance for product positioining strategies and decisions about ad execution----nothing new here. The question is whether it is reasonable to think that CMOs and others higher in the pecking order must be trained in the detailed use of "data" or whether they simply need to pay more attention to whatever insights are provided and see to it that the specialists who mine the "data" a) can explain it clearly and b) have a far better understanding of what the implications and tradeoffs are in making sensible business decisions. I think that it is unreasonable to expect upward mobile execs who have much broader responsibilities than merely fine tuning their media targeting to become "data" technicians---as some have suggested---not you, Laura. Teaching the same execs to listen when the insights that might be found are revealed is a far better and more realistic approach.

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