The Changing Face of the Marketing Department

Marketing is changing and to keep up, so must your marketing and the roles within your team

They say that change is the only constant, and so it is true for the modern marketing department.

As the digital world has steadily, but assuredly moved away from the outdated practices of outbound marketing, ushering in the new and improved disciplines of inbound and account-based marketing (ABM) in its wake, marketing departments have found themselves slowly but surely, replacing old skill sets with new ones.

Out went cold-calling, junk mail and TV commercials, and in came educative content, email marketing automation and YouTube how-to guides.


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Content has for a long time now been the core pillar of inbound marketing and ABM – and it still is. Over the past ten or so years, the marketing department has been largely made up of creative writers, design whizz-kids, skilled video-makers and other creatives, perhaps with a project manager overseeing the operation.

These multi-disciplined departments would create solid content marketing campaigns that guide prospects and customers along an entertaining and educative path to purchase and achieve fantastic results for their respective companies.

But today, the buyer’s journey is becoming increasingly complex. More and more channels are being opened up all the time – from instant messaging (IM) to chatbots to virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) – and big data is proving to be a game-changer.

The result is that the marketing department now has even more demands being placed on it, and there are many new roles that need to be filled.

New Demands on the Marketing Department

Content writers, image designers, video-makers and project managers all still play crucial roles within the marketing department. Of course they do. All marketing campaigns rely on content to attract and engage key audiences, and so creatives (and someone to manage them) are and always will be, vital to the modern marketing function.

But in 2018 and beyond, there are additional roles, too.

Marketing Analysts

Today, the marketing department that is solely or primarily made up of creatives is at risk of being distracted by vanity metrics.

Amazing content is created, published and shared across the usual social media and email channels. However, many creative marketers can fall victim to focusing on the wrong key performance indicators (KPIs). When the content generates a high volume of social shares and high email open rates, which in turn pulls in large swathes of unique website visitors and page views, it’s easy to think that the campaign has been a success.

But what do these figures really tell you? Not an awful lot if truth be told.

The metrics that truly matter are those that impact the bottom line. Sales. Revenue. Cost per acquisition. Customer lifetime value (CLTV). Lead quality. Return on investment (ROI).

Creatives may be great at creating content. But what the modern marketing department needs is a dedicated marketing analyst. This is a person who understands the metrics that matter, and is able to glean valuable insights from the user data that the content generates, and then turn it into meaningful, actionable insights that will inform the content marketing strategy going forward.

What’s more, the marketing analyst will produce predictive analytics and forecasting, and be able to foresee incoming trends and guide the creative segment to meet them accordingly.

Marketing Technologist

Incorporated into the marketing analyst role, some larger firms may need to create a marketing technologist role in its own right.

The marketing technologist is responsible for aligning marketing technology with business goals and will be a technology-savvy professional with a deep understanding of data. Most probably trained in both IT and marketing, they will be able to marry the two.

In charge of the marketing department’s customer relationship management (CRM) system and marketing automation technologies, the marketing technologist is a required role that will guide the selection and usage of the right software tools that will be used to attract and convert leads, and then acquire and retain new customers.

In addition, marketing technologists will select and then configure content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, as well as workflow, digital asset management and project management tools. They will also source dedicated tools for specific functions, such as Kapost or Curata for content marketing purposes, as well as run A/B tests and cookie-based re-marketing campaigns.

 Sense Checker

Another role that may often be incorporated into either of the two above, is the sense-checker.

This role is all about ensuring that the technical requirements of content – search engine optimisation (SEO), A/B testing, and the template restrictions of various content marketing tools – are not standing in the way of either clarity or creativity.

Data and analytics are important – vital, even. However, it’s important that the marketing department isn’t, for instance, creating content that’s so stuffed full of keywords that no one wants to read it, or that headlines are trimmed down to the point of obscurity simply because some headline analyser tool insists that the most clickable ones are six words or fewer.

The sense-checker, therefore, will be responsible for ensuring that all headlines, images, written content, and editorial calendars are created via meaningful testing and optimisation, and that all campaigns are designed primarily to engage the end user, and not simply to perform well in search engines..

Over to You

The marketing department is changing. New roles are being created, so it’s hardly surprising that 93% of firms expect their marketing budgets to increase in the year ahead.

Budget Change

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They need to. As the buyer’s journey becomes increasingly complex, marketing technology proliferates and becomes more sophisticated, and big data gets bigger and bigger and bigger, the marketing department can simply no longer expect one or two people to manage it all. From analysts, to technologists, and forward to sense-checkers, a company’s marketing function is growing, and new skillsets are required in order to remain competitive.

If your marketing department doesn’t have the time, resources or budget to cover all the required roles, get in touch with Incisive Edge to discuss how we can blend seamlessly with your current team and fill the roles you require.