This week at work I had a few meetings centered around technology choices to set up our company (and our marketing team) up for success. It dawned on me how much being a marketer and a marketing leader has changed. When I started my marketing career in brand management at Procter & Gamble I thought a lot about brands and products, offline marketing, and connecting with consumers. Occasionally, I would think about websites but at that point it wasn’t a big focus for me. My leaders and I reviewed marketing plans, revenue results and return on investment of our programs. We were traditional marketers at a best-in-class marketing company.
There was a marketing manager on our team called the “interactive marketing manager.” It seemed so novel at the time. We staffed this role to begin to test programs that included web microsites, social marketing ideas and email communication plans. We were trying to figure out if investing human resources and money in this digital marketing thing was worth it. Irony. Today, my team builds marketing programs with digital tools at the center of what they do. In my job, I think and discuss technology options daily. Based on this difference, you would think that my P&G experience was decades ago and not just the 10 years that it has been.
Beyond the shift toward digital and social, another massive change in the job of the marketer today is the ability to leverage data in our marketing planning process. There is more data available than most marketers know how to use. My experience is that often too much data is worse than none at all. With too much data, many of my team members get stuck in analysis paralysis versus idea generation and marketing planning. Often times my team members don’t have the experience and skills to be effective at drawing conclusions from data fast enough to build great marketing.
As a marketing leader, these two shifts amongst others have caused me to change how I approach my job. I believe that my core functional objective is the same. What has become different is how I do my job, how my teams bring our marketing to consumers and how I lead my people. I have had to become more connected both in my own life (social marketing, blogging, reading business and marketing news) as well as in my work life (listening more actively to the consumers of our companies services, being online and available more often to my team). I have had to put myself in a frame of mind to constantly learn and ask questions. With the technology changes and the willingness of consumers to go with the change, marketing teams have to be change agents and risk takers within their companies. As a marketing leader, I have learned to encourage and teach this behavior to my team many of whom don’t come to this naturally.
P&G’s cosmetics interactive marketing manager was the tip of the iceberg in terms of the evolution I have experienced in my marketing career. I am counting on the next decade to be even more filled with change. It makes me excited about what I can learn, teach and contribute.