08/25/2014 02:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Overcome Marketing Talent, Tech and Strategy Gaps: An Interview with Paul Roetzer,

More than ever, technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives--and marketing is no exception. New technologies, innovations, and changing consumer behaviors have left many businesses struggling to keep pace.

To this end, I sat down with Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and founder of PR 20/20, to discuss the impact of digital transformation on marketing.

PS: How has marketing evolved, and what challenges has this created for corporate marketing departments?

PR: Marketers' futures depend on their abilities to meet increasing ROI demands and continually adapt to new marketing tools, philosophies, and channels. But the rate of change in the marketing industry is accelerating, and the challenges for marketers seem to be multiplying.

The marketing talent pool is underprepared, the marketing mix is evolving, and the matrix of technology providers is exploding. Customers are tuning out traditional marketing methods, while consuming information and making buying decisions on mobile phones, tablets, computers, smart televisions, and wearable devices. Marketers are drowning in data, dealing with the complexities of real-time marketing and navigating brands through the openness and transparency inherent to social media.

As explained in the book, gaps in marketing talent, technology, and strategy are very real and impacting many businesses' performance. Luckily for marketers, with these challenges also come opportunities.

PS: What types of opportunities exist for corporations that can successfully navigate the new marketing landscape?  

PR: Marketing technology has changed the game. Organizations of all sizes now have access to the tools and knowledge needed to grow more efficiently and intelligently, to outthink, rather than outspend, the competition.

Successful marketers will take a technical, scientific approach. While the creative side of marketing remains important, it must be paired with data analysis and technology to drive maximum performance. For those that master this new world, there are significant opportunities to differentiate businesses and drive growth.

PS: How can businesses these overcome marketing challenges and become successful?

PR: That is a multifaceted question, and will vary by organization. However, as previously mentioned, I see the gaps in marketing talent, technology and strategy being the biggest hurdles to overcome, so let's dive into those a bit.

To better attract, train and retain modern marketers:
  • Focus on culture and purpose to attract top talent.
  • Recruit from nontraditional backgrounds to expand the talent pool available.
  • Offer formal internal training programs to continually enhance team capabilities.
  • Maintain a performance-based culture in which marketers are assessed and compensated based on achieving marketing metrics.
To improve technology selection, activation and management:
  • Appoint a chief marketing technologist or similar leader who manages the convergence of marketing and technology.
  • Assess the existing marketing technology infrastructure, and identify steps to improve weaknesses.
  • Build strong working relationships between IT and marketing teams.
  • Invest time and money to move away from legacy marketing systems in favor of more agile software-as-a-service solutions.
To improve strategy, and capitalize on the age of content, context, and the customer experience:
  • Adapt strategies and campaigns in real-time based on analytics.
  • Break down internal marketing silos and focus on personalized and consistent customer experiences across channels.
  • Take an integrated approach to analytics, automation, content marketing, digital advertising, email, mobile, search, social, PR, and web.
  • Balance campaigns across the sales funnel, mixing activities designed to build brand, generate leads, convert leads into sales, and increase customer loyalty.
By filling gaps in talent, technology, and strategy, I strongly believe that organizations will be able to overcome the biggest gap of all-the performance gap.