Making space for Marketing Specialisation & Software
The language of mathematics is now a part of the marketing vocabulary. ‘Algorithms’, ‘formulae’, ‘attribution modelling’, ‘correlation analysis’ and other statistical calculations are becoming common to campaign conversation. This represents a rather drastic shift from a world where creative outputs were largely explored within the realm of human sciences and measured against such. It’s a pretty bitter pill for those who hoped to leave the world of stats 101 far behind them in their first year at college.
While aspects of enterprise-wide skills and functions (such as finance, operations and customer management) are slowly coalescing into the CMO role, I would argue that specialist research and analytics skills need to be de-centralised and managed in two ways: through specialised people and software tools.
On-demand Specialist Skills
By tapping into an on-demand services economy, the skills gap can be relatively easily filled. Even though it brings with it it’s own challenges, this solution is far simpler in the short term than the shifts that need to occur throughout the organisation in order to manage marketing data and reap the rewards thereof. It’s no surprise that 94% of business leaders surveyed by Mavenlink see the use of contractors rising in the next 12 months.
Powerful Software Solutions
At the same time, marketing teams are inundated with sales pitches from software suppliers - each more hyperbolic than the next - with promises of grand returns. And as overwhelming as this may be, the fact remains that as the digital consumer matures, the onus falls upon brands to procure data and to apply sophisticated storage, research, analytics and visualisation to that data - and shouldn't neglect to throw privacy and security systems on top of that pile too. The bottom line is that software is not optional.
This observation is strengthened by research such as that from Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey (2016 - 2017) which reported the finding that marketers do indeed juggle more responsibilities than ever before, and therefore also require more budget for technology. To put it into perspective, the CIO’s average spend on technology is 3.4% of budget - a huge chunk of change, but not unexpected for the role. The CMO’s surveyed intend to spend 3.2% on technology - almost the same amount!
Don’t Neglect Either
I would advise marketers to run the planning and procurement of both specialist skills and software solutions in parallel. Not only because specialists will require support through advanced technology, but also because there simply is no time to waste.