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21 Feb. 2014 | Comments (0)

As a marketing leader, your new normal doesn’t necessarily look entirely like traditional “marketing”. The field of marketing has embraced a significant amount of change, and right at the heart of that change is a new era of data (and big data) and analytics—and a new type of marketer has emerged.  To be competitive, the modern marketer possesses a different set of skills and experiences when it comes to data and analytics (not simply metrics).  Finding, assessing, hiring, training, and motivating this new type of marketer are now critical factors for those of us building an analytical culture and the marketing organization of the future.

Who is the modern marketer?

Regardless of the role in marketing, the expectations related to data and analytics need to be consistent. While there will always be more advanced analytical and technical positions, there is a new baseline for all marketers. The skill set includes a knowledge of data management principles and analytical strategies, and an understanding of the role of data quality, the importance of data governance, and the value of data in marketing disciplines. Today’s marketer needs to go well beyond reporting and metrics, and be more proficient in a full range of analytics, which may include optimization, text, sentiment, scoring, modeling, visualization, forecasting, and attribution.

Marketers need to have experience with the technology, tools, and design approaches that leverage data and analytics. Campaign design, multi-channel integration, content performance, personalization, and digital marketing can all be driven by fact-based decision-making, ideally with direct accountability to results and the ability to very quickly react and adjust to the demands of the customer and the market. The marketers I am referring to have a distinct blend of creativity and reasoning talents; they are inquisitive, inventive, and enthused by a culture that is advanced and agile.

How do you interview and assess for the modern marketer?

When assessing marketing candidates, there are some techniques that could help you “test” for the modern marketer. As you evaluate their experiences, look for examples of campaigns, projects, and other key accomplishments that highlight the role that data and analytics had in decision-making and evaluation. It is time for all marketers (not just the creative side) to have a “marketing analytics portfolio” that could demonstrate the use of data in the design phase, the types of analytics employed as part of strategic decisions, the testing strategies applied, and the performance assessment. It is important for marketers to be able to articulate and demonstrate how they know they influenced change and learned from failed efforts. Marketers tend to focus on the visual and the message, which are both critical. Modern (and analytical) marketers can explain the what, how, and why, or why not.

It is important to use both verbal and written assessments to gauge a candidate’s technology and analytical “IQ” in addition to their marketing savvy. I would suggest requesting written responses to questions such as:

  • How do you approach decision-making as it relates to marketing planning and investments?
  • What is the difference between metrics and analytics?
  • What analytic approaches have been most beneficial in your marketing efforts?
  • How would you describe “marketing data”?
  • What role does technology played in marketing?
  • How does marketing deliver value to the organization?
  • How has data and analytics changed for marketing?
  • What type of advanced analytic techniques have you been exposed to in your marketing career?

The modern marketer needs to be think more like an architects, engineers, or scientists. Designing, testing, diagnosing, analyzing, and adapting can and should be daily functions in the marketing environment. Evidence of this evolution is shown in the titles that marketing has begun to adopt: experience architect, data scientist, web engineer, web curator, marketing technologist, marketing analytics manager, and customer experience manager.  Marketers today are managing a customer life cycle, dialogue and relationship in an environment where almost everything is measurable. The ability to use data and analytics to thoroughly understand, personalize, and constantly improve that relationship is fundamental to their success. It is an amazing time to be a marketer—and to hire them.

 

This blog first appeared on the Harvard Business Review on 1/6/2014.

View our complete listing of Talent Management blogs.

  • About the Author:Adele K. Sweetwood

    Adele K. Sweetwood

    Adele K. Sweetwood is Vice President, Americas Marketing and Support for SAS Institute, Inc., the largest independent vendor in the business analytics market.…

    Full Bio | More from Adele K. Sweetwood

     

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