Here at the Savvy Marketer, we’ve talked a great deal about the ever-evolving marketing landscape and how marketers can keep up. If there’s any single trend amid all these developments that are hard to miss, it’s that the pace of change itself is accelerating.
It seems like almost every day, we face a new marketing direction or come across a novel piece of technology that promises to “revolutionize” or “disrupt” the way we do things as marketers. But while change surely brings opportunities to the table, it carries with it a lot of challenges, too.
For example, the marketing tech ecosystem has now grown to more than 5,000 solutions, up from 200 products in 2011. That’s according to stats compiled by Scott Brinker which also find that 43% of marketers use 6 to 10 martech solutions, while nearly half of businesses (47%) admit they’re having a hard time keeping up with recent marketing trends.
This shift is taking place across all areas of marketing, not only with the tools we’re using but also with the strategies we rely on, the roles and responsibilities we perform, and the capabilities and skills we need to have. Marketers who can’t keep up with any of these developments run the risk of getting left behind.
That’s why, for this upcoming Labor Day weekend, it’s time for you to start thinking about enabling your entire team to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving marketing world. Today’s blog post offers up some insights on how to make your marketing team robust enough to meet these challenges head-on.
Embrace the right mindset
As marketing remains in a state of ever-increasing flux, it can be very easy to lose sight of what marketing is all about. Marketing exists to grow the business. That was true yesterday, and it will always be true no matter what tools or tactics dominate the scene.
This is why the first step to future-proofing your marketing team is to develop a growth mindset at both individual and collective levels.
Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, identifies two overall types of mindset that people have: fixed and growth mindsets. When facing an obstacle, someone with a fixed mindset tends to ask “Do I have what it takes?”, while someone with a growth mindset raises “How can I take on this challenge?” Folks with a fixed mindset assume that we’re born with specific abilities, while people who follow a growth mindset believe abilities can be learned and improved.
A growth mindset encourages taking on challenges, making mistakes, and learning from failures. These are exactly what a constantly-shifting marketing landscape needs. In fact, growth mindset applied to marketing is what “growth hacking” essentially means.
Define and fill essential roles
Making your team future-proof means assigning the right roles to the right people. But with job titles going in and out of fashion all the time, it can be difficult to figure out how to structure your team.
According to sources like HubSpot and Digital Marketing Institute, tomorrow’s marketing team will most likely resemble a miniaturized but fully-functioning content publishing and distribution operation. It’s going to be made up of marketers who create content, marketers who make sure that the content reaches the target audience (through both inbound and outbound channels), and marketers who ensure that the entire process runs smoothly.
Here’s what that team will most likely look like:
- Team Leader/Editor
- Content Contributors
- Data and Analytics Specialists
- SEO/SEM Specialists
- Social Media Specialists
- Email Marketing Specialists
- Phone Specialists
Gain and sharpen crucial skills
When we hear the term “skills gap”, we often think of a shortfall in technical skillsets. But the skills gap covers soft skills as well. In fact, some sources argue that the best way for people in specific positions to stay relevant in the next decade or so is to sharpen their soft skills.
While it’s certainly an advantage for marketers to be technically proficient, the changes happening in the modern marketing workplace require a healthy balance of soft and hard skills. As marketing increasingly becomes a collaborative and transparent effort, soft skills can help maintain teamwork, flexibility, and accountability among marketers.
Digital Marketing Institute names nine essential soft skills that all marketers need to possess, regardless of expertise or specialization:
- People skills
- Persuasion skills
- Analytical skills
- Technological savvy
- Ability to adapt
Stack up your toolkit
It goes without saying that preparing your team for the future means equipping them with the right tools. Technology powers a huge part of modern marketing that it accounts for 22% of the marketing budget. So, how do you make sure your marketing toolkit enables (rather than hinders) your team?
Triniti Burton of Integrate, a demand orchestration software company, outlines eight must-have types of martech tools:
- Marketing Automation
- Top-Funnel Automation
- Analytics Software
- Content Experience Platform
- Website Tools
- Customer Advocacy
- ABM and Predictive Intelligence
- Sales and Collaboration Tools
When building your martech stack, the following questions can help you initially evaluate a particular tool:
- What specific goal or problem do you want the tool to address?
- How well can you meet the goal or solve the problem without the tool?
- How does the tool align with your current process?
- Does the tool add or take away a layer of complexity in your process?
- Do you have the resources and capabilities to successfully deploy the tool?
- Can you demonstrate to others how the tool supports specific business goals?
Labor Day is the perfect time to think of ways to help everyone in your marketing team meet tomorrow’s marketing challenges.