Marketers often come under fire when a campaign doesn’t perform well. Reasons for a bad campaign aren’t always down to poor management or planning and can be due to a bad product, non-market fit, economic situation and a myriad of other factors, which can throw a spanner in the works of a well planned campaign.
Worse still marketers are often the first in line to have their budgets, resources and staff cut, when their company isn’t doing well either.
Yes the marketing life is a double edged sword, if you do well you can expect awards and accolades, internally and externally, maybe even a bonus if your do really well and your CEO likes you. Hit the ground with a non-runner and expect to be shown the door.
However, is lack of training an issues for marketers in todays ubiquitous postdigital world.
Marketing is no longer non-measurable hocus pocus, the days of fancy dinners and big nights out with the agency are somewhat over, unless you’re in the banking, tech sectors or advertising, where money is still splashed around (Cannes people you know who you are.)
So what’s changed and why are marketers feeling the pressure – well as we crossed the digital line with the evolution of the internet, everything in marketing is associated with a number and a value: Unique views, time onsite, open rates, click through rates, followers, shares, downloads, leads created, pipeline created, revenue and sales, I think you get the picture.
Is big data causing big problems for marketers
In addition to all this data from campaigns, some firms have a ton of customer and prospect data on a huge scale. You have probably heard of the term “big data”, extremely large data sets that are analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.
So if you’re in ecommerce or a massive retail brand and have large global customer base, doing big transaction volumes, you will certainly have your work cut out for you, sifting through all this. Actually big data has become a business niche in its own right with many technology/marketing hybrid firms popping up with specialist tools, software and dashboards that can help you “understand” your big data, and often at a big cost to boot.
Over the next four years, the big data market is expected grow at about a 50 percent. In terms of value the big data and analytics market is predicted to be worth more than $187 billion by 2019, up from $122 billion in 2015, according to IDC (International Data Corporation.) A market research company.
But one of the big kickers is that just because something can be measured, doesn’t mean it should.
The actual value of all the different measurements, are not of equal in importance. If you double your number of Facebook fans or twitter followers, that’s a great success for your head of social media, or your CMO but is it going to make your CEO or CFO jump out of her seat and take notice?
If your new email strategy results in significantly higher open-rates, that’s a success for the campaign; but tell that to your head of sales and his or her response is likely to be: “So what?”
As a marketer you need to ask what is being measured, what those metrics are being used for, and assessing the importance of having the right metrics to prove marketing’s contribution to overall business strategy and growth.
Marketers have a challenging role to deliver acquisitions grow new customers and generate sales in high volumes and at the lowest cost.
Is there a lack of adequate training for postdigital marketers?
One of the rising challenges faced by marketers especially those green leaves who have just graduated and fallen out of the cherry tree into the real world is understanding the sales process.
In an article called The Myth of Marketing Careers Tony Lee, VP – Editorial at Society for Human Resource interviews a fresh grad ill equipped to deal with a marketing world dominated by sales.
“Trisha Walters wasn’t prepared for a job in sales. After graduating with a B.S. degree in marketing, she wanted to find a career at a company where she could plan promotional campaigns, study consumer behaviour and buy media time – skills she had learned from her professors.
But every time Trisha would go to a job interview for a marketing role the questions were about her ability to sell. She had never taken a class in sales techniques, but then again, one was never offered. Like most universities, her alma mater – Virginia Commonwealth – doesn’t teach sales skills. Instead, it focuses on traditional marketing theories, something few new graduates can apply on their first jobs.”
Tonys article goes on to provide some further commentary about the situation “you have to earn a job in marketing, and sales is where you pay your dues, say career counselors. No major consumer products company will spend time recruiting undergraduates for marketing positions because very few B.A.s are capable of handling a marketing job, they say, adding that without sales experience or an M.B.A., it’s unrealistic for students to expect a position in marketing.”
According to an article by Benji Hyam Co-Founder of Grow and Convert and Postable.io, he says “what school someone went to isn’t a good indicator of how successful they’ll be in a marketing role anymore.”
He also says some of the reasons marketing roles are harder to fill for are:
- Outdated hiring processes
- Ongoing change in technology and tactics
- And, yes, marketers themselves or lack of adequate training.
I will add one one more, #4 lack of sales knowledge
Doing some further research on this problem, I found two eyebrow-raising findings identified by The Fournaise Marketing Group.
90% of Marketers are not trained in Marketing Performance & Marketing ROI, and 80% struggle with being able to properly demonstrate to their Top Management the business effectiveness of their Marketing spending, campaigns and activities.
(Jaw hits the ground… ) given that the research is from 2014 and I hope standards have risen. However looking at the report this is a global problem.
The study measures the performance of Marketers each year, via (1) hi-quant interviews with more than 1,200 CEOs, Management & Marketing decision-makers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia; and (2) the actual effectiveness of 2.5+ million B2C/B2B marketing strategies, campaigns and ads across all media channels (traditional, digital, direct, mobile) across 20+ countries worldwide each year.
Again I think the disconnect with understanding sales and lack of training is highlighted further in one of the key findings, that 67% of Marketers don’t believe Marketing ROI requires a financial outcome (these are the very Marketers who struggle to give the correct mathematical formula for Marketing ROI), demonstrating a total lack of understanding of what ROI is all about.
Changes in consumer behaviour – Digital technology in marketing has become ubiquitous
Lets face it, consumers are mobile and digital, we live in a world of ipad’s, Amazon and Netflix, and from a marketer’s perspective for some time, there has been increasing talk of a need for a post-digital marketing world.
A marketing world where the use of digital media and technology in marketing has become so ubiquitous we no longer complete separate “digital marketing activities” since they should be fully integrated and simply part of marketing.
But is the expectation on marketers to be 360-degree performance machines simply to big?
CEOs want ROI Marketers, i.e. 360-degree performance machines trained to deliver (real) business results and prove/optimise ROI.
As long as Marketers continue to fail to get trained or are unable to master the use of digital and optimise marketing performance and marketing ROI, they will struggle to demonstrate to CEOs that they are not money spenders who jump on and hide behind the latest fads and blow smoke, but real business generators.
For business the challenge is to make the commitment to transform marketing by setting goals for digital marketing, social media and other channels – setting an integrated digital strategy and bringing in specialist digital marketing skills – through a combination of new hires for new roles, use of agencies and re-skilling existing marketers.
For Marketers, new marketing processes are also needed which integrate digital to the heart of strategy, investment and marketing campaigns. Naturally this can’t happen overnight, particularly since changes in marketing technology are also needed to support the integration of digital marketing.
I agree that marketers do need better training and must keep learning as technology, trends and tools evolve. I also think “traditional” marketing no longer exists, we have already hit a convergence and many campaigns cross between media.
Digital and mobile technology has become ubiquitous in both consumer and business tranches and mast be understood by any marketer and business leader or CEO.
Are you a marketer or a business leader, what are your needs and expectations for your business and how are you coping with the challenges in scale, scope and ROI?