I’ve been working in marketing for the best part of 15 years with the last decade spent purely running an online marketing agency. It seems to me that of all the traditional business functions that serve an organization (Sales, Finance, HR etc) it is marketing that is so dramatically revolutionized by the internet. Just consider the blindingly obvious: Internet advertising is not only the biggest form of advertising in the UK it is also the fastest growing. Yet in spite of this many senior marketing directors in some pretty big companies are woefully ignorant of the basics of marketing online. I spoke at the weekend to a friend who has a role as a Senior VP of marketing in a multi billion US blue chip and he was not aware of how Google Adwords worked.
So what are the new skill sets required to be a success in today’s marketing world?
1. Marketing or business degrees will not sufficiently prepare you for the current marketing environment.
Digital marketing is moving at such a rapid pace that it is virtually impossible for universities to even consider keeping up. The syllabus for many marketing degrees and business degrees is desperately short of up to date best practice in marketing. In the universities of the 80’s and 90’s a good dose of Philip Kotler would form the backbone of many marketing modules and whilst this remains a great book the impact of digital marketing has revolutionised best practice so much that it leaves many lecturers quite out of touch.
We had a ‘1st class’ graduate complete a dissertation on Google Adwords whilst working on a placement with us. It was an excellent piece if work but she received a 2:2 for the dissertation and when we challenged this it turned out that the professor marking the paper simply could not appreciate the impact of Adwords on businesses.
My advice – If you really are serious about a career in marketing then you may want to think about options other than a marketing biased degree.
…..which brings me onto my next point.
2. Creativity remains important but the need for data analysis and more generally great maths skills has risen dramatically.
In the past the ‘stand out’ marketer might be someone with great insight into human behaviour (Psychology) or perhaps an amazing knack of getting the perfect copy (English). Now the need for rapid analysis and the ability to quickly interpret data has shifted the balance of skills towards maths. For this reason at Push we have changed our recruitment policy away from favouring ‘A’ grade English to and absolute requirement for A grade maths at an advanced level.
My advice – get your sums right.
3. Grabbing attention is becoming a lot more important.
AIDA still applies as a useful framework for marketers but perhaps the shift is towards ATTENTION. In the past much of an Ad Exec’s role has been about creating DESIRE. Trevor Beattie, the man behind some of the UK’s most famous TV ads including Wonderbra’s Hello Boys and French Connection’s FCUK, has claimed that modern technology has killed the 30-second TV commercial and the focus should be on just 5 seconds. Just think about your own behaviour for a second. Do you take the time to dwell on TV commercials or skip through them on the fast forward whilst hovering over your iPad?
My advice – You cannot get to Desire if you have lost someone’s attention. Get great designers to inspire in an instant.
One final thought….The best place to develop your career right now is more likely to be in an agency rather than ‘client side’ in a large company.
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Category: Personal Branding