The 21st Century marketing professional

For modern marketing professionals, the industry is changing beyond recognition. The fundamentals of yesterday’s skillsets still apply, but new applications, channels and digital developments mean that a raft of new marketing jobs and specialisms are emerging all the time –  in fact, the top ten ‘in demand’ jobs of today didn’t even exist five years ago.

Customers are certainly more sceptical about marketing as an industry and wiser to marketing messages, yet the marketing function is still central to brand creation and value. However, the way that brands communicate with customers has undergone a significant shift, both in speed and channel; all moving the customer to the centre of the business in a far more meaningful way.

For many traditional marketers, the academic training of “7 P’s” now feels a little out-dated. However, for those seeking employment or moving up the ladder, the good news is that the fundamentals of good marketing analysis, planning and strategy still remain the same. A new language and operating speed is now in play though. Terms such as digital marketing abound and this field seems to grow monthly. Once, it was enough to be developing a company website. Today, the focus is on social media and social business tools, mobile apps, smart e-commerce solutions, SEO and other technologies.

Community management is a new notion, highlighting a strategic move to a more collaborative strategy. Real time marketing highlights the speed of change in the business world and the need for marketers to both respond and proactively plan within it. Slow bureaucracies and static three-year plans simply don’t cut the mustard any more. The modern marketer needs to be responsive, on the pulse and regularly tweaking and updating their approach based on sound information, analysis of the market and good old-fashioned gut instinct. At the same time however, basic ‘smarts’ are still part of the equation. A good practitioner will know which trends to observe from the side-lines  and which to analyse and incorporate.

Other skills are also a key part of the modern marketer’s mix. Not only do we have to build and maintain a successful brand for our business, we need to consider our own personal brand. We need to think about how we are perceived, operate and how we communicate our value in an industry where new people are snapping at established players’ heels for incumbent roles, if not creating their own, new roles!

Rather than attending business schools, savvy marketers are networking and using the power of social media to inform themselves in bite sized, regular updates. They scan the wider business horizon and understand wider business implications of changes to provide coherent strategic input to decision makers. They know to speak to experts and specialists and to involve those people without necessarily having those skills themselves. They can pull apart a pitch at forty paces and understand what they are being sold by suppliers, expertly guiding the relationship.

In short, the marketing industry is more challenging than ever but also more exciting, rewarding and intellectually absorbing than it ever was. For those ready and willing to change with the times, there are rewarding careers and plenty of progression options.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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