What It Means To Be A Modern Marketer

Posted by on March 25, 2013

Although it wrapped over a month ago, Online Marketing Summit has continued to stir up buzz in industry circles. Marketers in attendance left with tangible how-to’s that they could take home and put to use in their day-to-day work. This year’s event demonstrated the value of real-world ideas and strategic thinking that today’s experienced marketers in this economic and cultural climate need.

One of the most compelling themes at OMS was the concept of the Modern Marketer. Heidi Melin, CMO of marketing automation firm Eloqua, had used the term during her keynote as she discussed the evolving landscape and growing importance of technology that the modern marketer will need to have in order to be a successful contributor in today’s enterprises.

Eloqua  CMO Heidi Melin and Online Marketing Summit General Manager, Shannon Ryan discuss the modern marketer.

Eloqua CMO, Heidi Melin, and Online Marketing Summit General Manager, Shannon Ryan, discuss the modern marketer.

For leaders in the marketing space, we clearly see a seismic shift in the way companies need their marketing professionals to work. Gone are the days where marketing was a cost-center without direct methods for measuring return on investment. And gone too, are the walls between marketing and their cross-functional brethren in sales, IT, usability, product and database administration.

Scott Vaughan, CMO of UBM Tech*describes this new marketer as “someone with the ability to conceptualize new strategies that meet corporate objectives, and then the skills to break that strategy down into tactical plans that can be successfully executed.” A recent UBM Tech survey of technology marketing priorities attests this, finding that today’s tech marketer performs and average of seven major marketing functions with demand generation and revenue growth being the most important. But that’s not all. Marketing pros have to understand the latest best practices in marketing automation, online measurement and analytics, pricing, research, all aspects of online marketing, mobile, gamification, communications, social engagement, content development and most-importantly: cat-herding.

If you think about it, a role-up-your-sleeves mentality and the knack to know when to dig in, and where, means that the best marketers are really Masters in their trade – a lot like a trained chef, cabinet-maker or even a dentist. And it also means that we are always learning – honing our craft and using our peripheral vision to pick up on cultural shifts and new program ideas to help inform our next strategy or campaign concept.

In the last eighteen months or so, there have been so many articles written on the new role of the CMO. From being greater collaborators with the CIO and CRO, to becoming the best friend of the CFO — the promise for the trade of marketing is certainly dynamic and exciting. But while all reports are saying that “marketing has grown up” and that we have greater influence into the future of their organizations – We still have a lot of work to do in order to be present at the strategic table and to be able to join the strategic conversation earlier in the corporate planning cycle.

In general the concept of last-in and first-out still exists for marketing jobs. And the corporate pressure for quarterly results can be a challenge when marketing silver bullets are relatively rare to find.

The good news is that Marketing is evolving into an undeniably critical role. Lots of signs are proving this to be true. CMO tenure continues to increase, and the critical functions of data science and lead generation cannot be quickly outsourced or put aside.

The bottom line is that it’s an exciting time to be a modern marketer, but also a scary one. Regardless of the years of experience or expertise, we have to remember to be fearless, comfortable with change, and  lifelong learners.

*Online Marketing Summit is a UBM Tech brand.