It’s true, if you haven’t heard. The Consumer is your new head of marketing. You may not know it yet, or you may be thinking about the idea, but regardless, it is already here.
Changes in the way we seek and share information have affected the marketing landscape. And that means an impact on careers. Here are 5 ways marketing careers are likely to change:
- The consumer should be your focus. We talk about how content is king, but few would disagree that the consumer is the ultimate arbiter. Organizations that grasp this reality create strategies based on the consumer experience and build relationships using the brand experience. Companies providing value and information to their existing and potential customers – who show they actually care about these constituents – will achieve success.
As marketers, we know that consumers are more knowledgeable than ever, even before they decide to spend any money. But we are also consumers and we like to be educated consumers, don’t we? Remember the old ad campaign for a men’s clothing store, named Syms? I can still hear the tagline… “At Syms, an educated consumer is our best customer”? Well, today that is the norm. Digital mobile technology allows us to research product information and demonstrations the instant we want to. This brings us to point number 2…
- Content is still king, and video is the crown right now. Yes we all know video is on the rise in marketing, and everyone is trying to get in the game. But how? Often the simplest video is the best. Explanations or demonstrations work extremely well on video in a skilled producer’s hands. This relates to consumer focus, because as marketers we still need to consider what our consumers want to know. Then we create videos with that in mind. Use of video for marketing should involve clearly stated goals and strategic purpose in order to be most effective. Videos should be short, useful, entertaining, and interactive to facilitate learning more or purchasing. For example, I found this video about fixing a broken zipper on YouTube that does well in these criteria I mentioned. It’s a little long, but it is clear both visually and verbally, and well-explained. By contrast, this second video on the same subject is shorter but less clear visually and verbally. You must assess what video elements will have the most positive net effect on your constituents.
- More conversation, less content machine. Even though it is important to provide relevant, useful information to prospective customers, engagement can suffer if consumers don’t get a voice in the conversation. People want to connect with their brands, and digital lets them do this. Marketers need to remember that communication is a two-way dialogue – if the consumer is not in the conversation, both parties are worse off. This crucial measure of consumer engagement must be considered as much as any. When consumers interact with your brand, they develop a deeper relationships with it, to positive effect.
- Understanding the consumer. Taking time to understand a brand’s consumers is a crucial step. Going beyond data points and buyer personas, marketers should seek to understand what pain points their buyers and consumers have. Offering genuine solutions for these pain points, is yet another way to develop deeper relationships with our consumers. We are selling to people with genuine needs – not just consumers or conversions.
- Understanding Data. Of course the use of data analytics is growing, and marketers need to be part artist and part scientist now. Yet as the mounds of data pile up, they usually mean little without a perceptive human team to interpret them and make vital connections. That is the difference between information and understanding. So, marketers will need to be able to work well with data, and tell effective stories with the information collected. AMA volunteer Ben Cohen just published a very interesting post on this topic of generating better insights from data.
These changes are just some of those coming over the horizon. We are all wrestling with these changes now and must expect even more, as technology influences our culture and communication. Marketers and brands need to be where their customers are. We need to strive to provide value, create a positive consumer experience, understand our customers, and help them become a part of our conversations; this information guides people on their customer journey and allows organizations to become a trusted resource.
To learn more about this subject in person, register for the AMA Boston’s March 23 event called “The Future Marketing Landscape and Its Impact on Careers.” This event will feature a panel of speakers that include a local area employer, a recruiting agency, and a marketing agency. They will share their insights into marketing career skills and trends for 2016.
Speakers will include:
- Bob Van Rossum, President, MarketPro,
- Eric DiChiara, Vice-President, Creative Group,
- Mark Emond, Founder and President, Demand Spring,
- Jeffrey Henning, Founder and PRC of Researchscape International.