21 Aug 2020

Top 3 Skills for Senior Marketers in 2020

Find the secrets to staying ahead of the curve in an everchanging, highly-competitive marketing landscape.

The marketing industry is constantly changing, never more so than in 2020 when traditional media and large agencies alike shed staff while brands focus on quickly pivoting to their own digital channels to maintain customer relationships.

Zuni managing director Mike Zeederberg says the skills in demand across marketing and data will depend on whether you work at a large ASX 200 company or top end of town, where the need for talent - particularly around AI, machine learning and automated behaviour mapping – will continue to grow.

“In the mid-level, there will continue to be growth and demand for staff that have the strategic capability and practical skill sets to operate the myriad of marketing technologies that businesses have now installed,” he says.

Technology platform skills will be in demand

Many businesses and brands have invested in complex marketing cloud technology - sometimes it’s a CRM, CMS, CDP or DAM - but these marketing technology stacks demand skilled staff.

“Businesses have invested significantly in high-performance race-cars, but there is a lack of highly skilled drivers out there who can deliver on the ROI promised in the case studies presented to the board,” Zeederberg says.

Businesses who invest in big name marketing stacks by Adobe, Sitecore, Salesforce often discover they're only using about 20% of the powerful functionality and being hit with significant licencing costs.

At the same time, smaller platforms are rapidly evolving functionality to deliver most of that 20% with brands like HubSpot, MailChimp and SharpSpring being popular.

The Zuni founder - who specialises in consulting to create data-driven customer journeys for businesses - says there are two key skills sets in demand to deal with this business challenge.

Skillset one: the strategists

Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time in the right channel through a marketing stack demands a complex set of audience segmentation rules, content plans, channel strategies and response rules based on segment, behaviour and reaction.

People who are able to strategically think about how to segment an audience to best meet business objectives while also creating compelling customer journeys will be in demand.
However, those big thinkers can’t just rely on creating a strategy as they usually need to oversee detailed implementation plans such as what email to send after which website visit and how to match them on social with a message that might also have to follow up with retargeting banner ads.

“It requires a really good understanding of the customer, their motivations and drivers,” Zeederberg says.

Connecting the dots between what channels can be used at which particular point in time and determining the rules around complex digital marketing interactions and how to market to unidentified visitors versus identified visitors will be very much in demand.

Skillset two: the platform operators

As marketing technology stacks offer greater complexity and greater accuracy, the skilled ‘racing car drivers’ who can make sure the platform performs as it promises will be sought after as new hires.

Zeederberg says businesses face the dilemma of whether to try and find someone with the right skills who may be expensive, or whether to invest in training them up. Investing in these platform operators often requires expensive training courses provided by the proprietary platforms and staff are often poached by competitors shortly thereafter.

The Zuni founder also says the tech stacks are competitive, with customer data platforms, integrated retargeting platforms and fully integrated marketing automation systems all competing against each other to become the next big thing.

“Anything that can understand customer behaviour and then respond with an appropriate next action is marketing gold – and there are more and more players emerging in this space, at lower and lower cost points,” he says.

The data engineers and the insight specialists

Playground XYZ CEO Rob Hall says the other change marketing is likely to see is the end of data scientists being treated like rock stars, and more attention being paid to the data engineers who can manipulate big data on platforms like to gain insights.

“A data engineer's job is to turn data science around and deploy it to people - actionable insights is what we’re all after and data engineers will be the facilitators of that,” Hall says.

Govcom Group head Alun Probert agrees, and says that as consumers change behaviour, finding meaningful insights becomes ever-harder but infinitely more valuable.

“The ability to provide insightful analysis then helps teams consider in real time which parts of their tactical communications activity are working and which they should stop doing,” Probert says.

“Virtually every piece of creative you see in the market, in any channel, will be informed by data at some point,” says Filtered Media CEO Mark Jones.

The real art of marketing will be finding the strategic insight - and the technical operator - who can use that insight to make better business and marketing decisions.

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