March 31, 2017

Debate: Hybrid roles are here to stay

Jonas Ander, CMO, Nortal
Jonas Ander, CMO of Nortal

Nordic marketing departments are behind many other countries in today’s digital transformation, a recent study by Google, and the Boston Consulting Group shows. If you want to catch up with the rest of the world, here are some tips.

Marketing functions are in a stage of fast transition: completely new systems, processes, and competency demands are emerging for many companies. An important shift has been the new scheduling paradigm as the annual marketing plan with its scheduled activities and campaigns is now gone. Today’s modern marketing works with strategic targets, but without ambitious, detailed activity plans.

Not being able to make long term plans means that working in an agile way has to become a commonplace. A growing number of teams already divide their work into so-called ‘sprints’ that last for a couple of weeks and enable smaller, regular deliveries according to a clear priority order. You should do the same. For the chief marketing officers this means that resource planning becomes an even more important part of their everyday role.

Another thing you should consider is how to use predictive analytics. In an environment where the market is moving faster than ever before – and the speed is growing too – it becomes increasingly difficult to stay a step ahead of your competitors. Data is growing at a 40 percent compound annual rate, meaning that it is becoming as important as people are.

This will give an advantage to companies who learn how to use data for smart, predictive analysis that helps them spot trends in business before their competitors see them. Predictive marketing helps you and your company understand what is to come; it is about making assumptions regarding the future and adapting your offers and your communication accordingly.

As marketing has become more and more technology-dependent, marketing and IT are growing even closer to each other. According to the analysis company Gartner: American and British marketing directors are planning to allocate as much as 27 percent of their marketing budgets to IT and technology in 2017. This trend is driving the emergence of new hybrid roles spanning over traditional departments. Silos are broken up.

In the USA, many companies are appointing a Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT), who is equal parts strategic, creative, and technical. For the “ordinary” marketing director, this is a chance to obtain even greater responsibilities. Yet, it also poses a threat to those who aren’t keeping up with digital development and who are running up against risks to become overtaken.

The marketing function has never been as important for the success of a company as it is today, but it’s also no longer living a life of its own. Cooperation between business development, IT, and sales is becoming increasingly crucial. This means, in turn, that modern marketers must know much more about the different adjacent areas of business to be able to create the biggest possible value for their employers. Hybrid roles are here to stay!