I often write about how technology permeates every aspect of our lives. Today it seems as if nothing remains unscathed from the avalanche that is technology. To that end, I sat down down with Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint and founder of PR2020.
PS: What's driving the demand and necessity for tech-savvy, hybrid marketers?
PR: As outlined in The Marketing Agency Blueprint, there are three primary catalysts -- change velocity, selective consumption and success factors.
Change velocity is simply the rate of change. Technology innovation moves fast, and has a direct impact on consumer behavior, business processes, software, marketing philosophies and more.
Marketers need to be tech-savvy in order to not only keep pace with change, but also to understand how technology advancements affect the way consumers communicate.
Selective consumption is the idea behind inbound marketing, basically that people are tuning out interruption-based messaging, and deciding when and where to interact with brands. It's one of the main trends driving the adoption of search, social, content and mobile strategies. By 2016, interactive spending is forecasted at $77 billion.
Finally, technology has made it possible to measure marketing activities and tie them to real bottom-line results. As the c-suite demands greater levels of insight into performance and ROI, marketers that can capture and interpret this data will be the ones who excel.
With all these factors coming into play, Gartner predicts that by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.
PS: What skills are required of next-generation marketers?
PR: The prototype marketer will be a hybrid, able to perform strategically across multiple disciplines -- data analysis, content marketing, social media, email marketing, mobile, development and programming, etc. They will also have strong competencies in business, IT and human behavior.
To do this successfully, they must be tech-savvy, analytical, strategic, creative and strong writers. They also must be able to adapt quickly to changing market factors and consumer behaviors.
Unfortunately, there is a talent gap. With the rapid rate of change, universities and companies struggle to keep their training programs relevant, leaving tremendous opportunities for proactive organizations to train and differentiate through talent.
PS: What steps would you recommend organizations take to advance their marketing teams?
PR: For starters, companies need to understand the current state of their teams -- where their strengths and weaknesses lie. It's only with this honest marketing assessment that they can identify gaps in their current staff, and put plans in place to move their marketing forward.
Luckily, there are a wealth of free and paid resources, from conferences to online training to books, that marketers can tap into enhance their skills. Some of our favorites include Inbound Marketing University, Google Conversion University and Treehouse.
In a lot cases too, it's best to learn by doing. We often recommend starting with a small campaign to test the water and get a feel for new strategies. From there, move forward based on results and lessons uncovered.
The hardest part is often taking that first step out of your comfort zone and trying something new.