I came to marketing by happy accident. I followed my heart and walked away from being a technologist and towards being a marketing technologist. At the time, the word ‘marketing’ was an odd fit for someone who majored in applied physics, as I did. Today, it makes plenty of sense. In the almost twenty years that have elapsed since I became a marketing technologist, marketing has changed significantly. It has become one of the most technology dependent disciplines in which one can engage.
It’s not just that marketing has become technology driven. Marketers also find themselves at a place where accountability is paramount, where they must rely on data and analytics to extract insights and deliver results more quickly, where technologies like personalization and programmatic advertising are upending even modern approaches to engagement. Saying simply that marketing has changed is an understatement. Marketing is experiencing an evolutionary moment.
Any article you read identifying the qualifications for the “new” marketer lists characteristics like “digital-savvy” and “data driven”. There’s no argument from me on those. It can only help for marketers to be technologic ally and data savvy. More skills are needed, however.
There’s an old Saturday Night Live sketch where Chevy Chase, as a presidential candidate in a debate, remarks, “It was my understanding that there wouldn’t be any math.” Truthfully, marketing has always required some math. What’s different is, in many ways – with its growing reliance on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – marketing no longer simply needs marketers. To achieve maximum effectiveness, marketing needs marketing scientists.
Marketers and scientists do very different things. Marketers live to reach customers, to drive them to some action and, ultimately, to get them to purchase. Scientists’ goals usually revolve around experimentation that leads to incremental advances and discoveries. There is an understanding that even small steps forward can ultimately result in disruptive achievements. As is clear from concepts like A/B testing, marketing has been adapting some of the experimental approach to achieve goals. Still, more is needed.
What’s missing is an adherence to scientifically thinking about the processes involved in marketing. In the evolutionary metamorphosis being witnessed, marketing is transforming from a primordial business discipline to a 21st century, science driven iteration of itself that requires the approach of a scientist. Read more