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Marketing management: skills you need to create a modern marketing team

Marketing is going through a seismic change, with new roles and skill sets required to deal with the data-centric nature of modern marketing.

Marketing Management

The age of the funnel is dead. Replacing it is “the age of the customer”, where the purchaser, not the marketer, has control of the buying journey. This shift means it has become vital to map the customer’s journey via the use of data and metrics.

To adapt to this new era in modern marketing, CMOs must rely on new job roles and skill sets in order to remain successful.

New era: evolving roles

  • The sales team become: ‘Consultants in disguise’

Traditionally, the sales team has been used to chasing leads, deploying techniques to “push” prospects into becoming customers. But now those days are gone, as more and more customers research products and services online either via comparison/review sites or by reaching out to peers for feedback and advice.

B2B customers are already 60% of the way along the purchase cycle before they decide to contact their selected vendor.

This means that a sales rep must now act as a wingman/woman, offering advice and help that complements the customer’s accrued knowledge about a particular product/service, instead of pressing a message on them.

If your sales team continues to use old sales techniques, you run the risk of alienating your leads or, worse still, making them feel as if they are being patronized.

  • The marketing team become: ‘Creative data manipulators’

Of all the roles in the modern marketing process, it’s the CMO who is facing the biggest upheaval. The age of the customer means that there is a new focus on analyzing customer metrics and data. CMOs and their teams must adapt their skill sets or risk being left behind.

Research giant IDC believes that successful CMOs must:

  • Receive training in customer data and analytics management.
  • Be adaptable and keen to experiment – and most importantly, encourage their teams to do so as well.
  • Begin recruiting or training people with metrics/data-reading skills to fully exploit this emerging market.

New era: technology barriers

Another key area for development highlighted by IDC is the need for CMOs to work more closely with CIOs, as the traditionally segregated worlds of IT and marketing are brought together because of the data-driven nature of modern marketing.

This need for a shift in relationship is borne out by the Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2013 report, which highlights the significant technological barriers that are holding back marketing companies from creating a unified strategy.

46% of companies surveyed say that disconnected systems/technologies prevent them from integrating email fully with other business functions.

The most recent report from April 2014 (available here) tackled technology barriers from a slightly different angle. The results showed that the quality of the email database and the lack of strategy are the two main constraints to effective email marketing. On the marketing automation side, 45% of respondents consider lack of time as the main barrier to implementation. And finally, resources and time are the main deterrents from mobile optimization.

New era: new skill sets

Modern marketing is evolving from analysis. Being able to spot trends and themes buried in vast amounts of customer data is increasingly important.

According to Forrester’s report, Marketers Need To Acquire Adaptive Skill Sets, your team must now collectively:

  • Have the ability to sift through data and identify emerging customer patterns.
  • Understand the importance of A/B testing in the marketing process.
  • Be able to define and track customer lifecycle metrics.
  • Be engaged with social media and understand how to monitor and influence social buzz.
  • Be able to hunt out and effectively deploy new research methodologies and platforms.
  • Have knowledge of packages and platforms such as SAS, Endeca, Net Promoter Score, Crimson Hexagon and Cymfony.

While you can’t expect a single candidate or team member to boast all of these skills, the above list should act as a jumping-off point for identifying who you need in your modern marketing team.

Marketing Management Graphic

New era: recruit or train?

Whether you need such personnel on a day-to-day in-house basis is, of course, down to the size of your company and your needs. But ignoring these new skill sets and their associated roles could see your company slipping into obscurity.

To do:

  • Evaluate your data analysis training needs and the needs of your team.
  • Analyze the job roles in your team: do they align to the requirements of a modern marketing strategy?
  • Identify how you can best incorporate new modern marketing roles and their associated skill sets into your team.

For detailed analysis of another significant area in modern marketing, download our free eGuide: Stop: does your team have the right skills for marketing automation?


  • Skip O’Neill

    Listening to the customer and understanding their business problem is key to successfully partnering with a customer.