Artist vs. Scientist

Are the marketing roles evolving or are they merging?

This week I saw an intriguing infographic comparing the role of Marketing Artist versus Marketing Scientist. I found it interesting because I have always considering marketing more of an artistic service. Yet, the way technology is emerging and transforming marketing and advertising one could argue that the marketing function is taking on more of a scientific role. After all, marketing journals and blogs promote such topics as big data, analytics, metrics, tracking, and return on investment. In the past, these terms were not normally discussed in the confines of marketing; but, now they are part of the lingo.

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Salesforce advocates that these two roles as separate and distinct. One focused on creativity and innovation (The Artist) and the other in data and analytics (The Scientist). Each persona has specific tools, techniques, tips, and strategies that they use to be successful. Modern marketing departments will successfully blend these two roles together.

In the context of artists and scientist, Jim Sterne defines the roles in terms of data. A data scientist is responsible for understanding and advancing the nature of data, its collection methods, and the algorithms for processing it. An artist is responsible for creating something new that delivers original insight and evokes emotion. A data artist must have a firm comprehension of hard science, a sound understanding of business goals and processes, a penchant for creativity, and a talent for communication – a very rare combination. A data artist must be a master of all digital media –ad networks, email campaigns, YouTube channel measurement and more – to create valid insights worthy of using as foundations for business decisions. I like that!

Marketers are challenged with old legacy systems and non-integrated data. Resources (scientist or artist) spend a significant amount of time analyzing what happened yesterday. They are running to catch up or get ahead of competitors. Even worse, those that work with “results” spend more time creating and distributing reports than truly analyzing. The insight is in the analysis, not the reports themselves. More resources are needed to explore the data and then let that inspire them. Imagine the possibilities!

So where’s this all going? I believe there is a huge shift toward more technology in marketing (see my previous blog), but how does the modern marketer truly blend the scientist and the artist?

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Marketing Technology Careers

New Opportunities in Marketing for Tech Geeks

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Say what?

That’s right, you read correctly. There are new opportunities emerging in marketing that – gasp – are not creative. Yet, I believe these new roles have the ability to contribute to a successful campaign as much as creative ingenuity.

Technology is changing the face of marketing in more ways than just engagement and advertising. It’s bringing to light the need to recruit and hire personnel with technical acumen. Creative skills have always been a crucial part of marketing and will continue to be so. But, as the digital landscape continues to morph and grow, marketers will struggle with delivering content dynamically and quickly without people that possess technical ability. The tools available today (and certainly in the future) are much more sophisticated and integrated than ever before.

Additionally, more and more marketers need to understand the data that is cultivated and stored inside their organization and be able to maximize the value from it. See if this sounds familiar: the marketing department wants to more fully understand customer perception and attitudes. They hire expensive vendors and purchase additional tools capable of collecting this data only to find out that the Customer Service department is already gathering a large portion of this information through their customer information systems. What ends ups happening is the implementation of disparate systems and duplicate customer information. This happens over and over again throughout the corporate world. It is often said that an organization is “data rich, but information poor”. Meaning, most organizations are swimming in data, but what they lack is real integration and analytical insight as to what the data means or how best to use it. Here’s where marketing geeks come to the rescue.

The skills required to integrate marketing campaigns across multiple channels seamlessly and understand the data that is required to be successful are in high demand. One such job is a Marketing Technologist. DigitalPeople’s case study describes the marketing technologist’s primary role is to assure that technology is being used in the most effective manner and that it offers a competitive marketing advantage. They work more closely with business leaders to prioritize IT strategies and make them executable as they relate to key marketing strategies. Companies currently looking for this type of role include Dell, Baptist Healthcare System, and NBC Universal. Scott Brinker states a marketing technologist is a marketer who understands technology and a technologist who is passionate about marketing. A more elevated role is Chief Marketing Technologist, one that is equivalent of the Chief Information Officer. This person reports directly to the Chief Marketing Officer and oversees all things marketing – marketing software, data and analytics, social and mobile platforms, apps development, content marketing, web mechanics, and digital advertising networks.

These new roles and responsibilities open the door for a whole new group of people who may have not given a career in marketing a second thought. But, as the future of marketing becomes more technical, marketing tech jobs are hot!

So, marketers…get your geek on!

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Twitter Embraces New Features

New Release Shows Twitter Can Change

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Dismal market news dogged Twitter for much of 2014, as investors were continually concerned about the growth of the user base and the strategic direction of the company. In July, Market Watch reported shares had fallen 9.5% since first-quarter results were released in late April, and were down 39% year-to-date, mainly due to investor worries that the company’s user base wasn’t growing fast enough. A Huffington Post article later reported that Twitter posted a loss of $175 million, or 29 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014. Additionally, Twitter was repeatedly compared with Facebook – both in number of users and flexibility. In the first quarter of 2014, Twitter reported 255 million monthly active users, compared to Facebook’s 1.3 billion monthly users. Facebook added new features and facelifts while Twitter’s functionality remained relatively unchanged.

But, 2015 brings a New Year and new promise for Twitter. This month, Twitter announced it is rolling out two new features, which are designed to make the platform more appealing. One feature is private group messaging and the other is the ability to shoot, edit and post videos directly through the Twitter app. While Twitter hopes to capture more new users to the platform, it also wants its current user base to use the site more often. According to Robert Peck, managing director and Internet equity analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, some analysts believe the new features, investments in advertising technology, and the company’s outreach to third-party software developers could be potential catalysts for Twitter having a “Facebook moment” in 2015.

Clearly, video is the king of content. Just on YouTube alone, over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute! That is why the new video feature of Twitter maybe one of the most important. Previously, the only way for most Twitter users to share video was through Vine, Twitter’s standalone video app (which provided short, 6-second clips). Now, Twitter users can add video up to 30 seconds in length. Twitter for iPhone users can upload videos from the camera roll and Twitter promises to be expanding this functionality to Android soon. Twitter hopes the addition of video will promote richer, more frequent, and shareable content.

The new group messaging feature allows users to start conversations with up to 20 people on Twitter. Those people do not all have to follow each other to chat privately. Since its inception, Twitter has largely been focused on public conversations. Yet, with this new release, the ability for private conversations will be realized. This type of functionality should promote greater levels of engagement with users. Maybe more users who enjoy Facebook for its social collaboration will migrate to Twitter now that more social interactivity is possible. You can bet that’s what Twitter is aiming for.

Are We Too Connected?

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Brad Paisley has a song, “Welcome to the Future”, where he reminisces about childhood wishes, such as being able to watch TV on long trips and having arcade games at home. Now these things are available on his phone, from the palm of his hand. This kind of modernization is exciting and intoxicating. What was once thought impossible is now possible. We are lead to believe that if we just get connected and live in the digital stratosphere our lives will be easier, simpler, and smarter. With a simple press of a button we can manage bank accounts, buy products, play a game, or connect with people and brands we love. Even social media sites provide the ability to connect, but without face-to-face or telephonic conversations. We are easily convinced to join, like, share, upload, click, or check in. But, what’s the price we pay to reach ultimate connectivity? Is being so digitally connected really helping us or making us smarter?

A 2012 research report by Pew Research Center describes how analysts believe many young people growing up in today’s networked world and counting on the Internet as their external brain will be nimble analysts and decision-makers who will do well. However, these experts also expect that constantly connected teens and young adults will
thirst for instant gratification and often make quick, shallow choices. Survey respondents think educational reform and greater emphasis on social skills will be necessary in the future. Moreover, 42 percent of survey respondents agreed with the statement:

“In 2020, the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields baleful results”

The survey presents some interesting insights about concerns in the decline of deep analytical skills, critical thinking, and the ability of young adults to focus for long periods of time. Yet, Christopher Ferguson’s main point is that America is in a state of “moral panic.” This state of moral alarm is very similar to the outrage that shook up the nation’s prevailing, orthodox mores at the advent of cultural events such as comic books, rock and roll, and Dungeons and Dragons.

Is emerging technology presenting truly smarter options or are we sacrificing precious social and analytical skills in order to live by machine? As Sophocles once said, “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Let’s Get It Started

Our lives are surrounded by various forms of media – both traditional media forms, such as print, television, and telephonic, as well as emerging media, such as video, mobile, and social media.  Before jumping in to various topics on emerging media, let’s consider what is meant by the term.  According to West Virginia University’s IMC 619 Emerging Media and the Market class, emerging media is a “global term to cover social, digital and mobile communications”.  Think about how the vast array of devices interact with our daily lives.  It is an integral part of how we function and the majority of the population seems to have access to this emerging technology.  Pew Research Center states that 90 percent of people have a cell phone with 58 percent having a smart phone.  The capabilities of emerging media have surpassed what most people thought was possible just a few years ago.  Today, people can move seamlessly between conversations, web browsing, social interaction, etc. all from the palm of their hand.  Such levels of engagement and connection have also created a huge dependency on this type of media.  Most people admit they cannot do without their cell phone.  In fact, Pew’s Research shows that 44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night and 29 percent admit they cannot imagine living without their cell phone.

For marketers, the constant change in the emerging media landscape is dizzying and the capabilities require  constant nimbleness and creativity.  However, a marketer’s best friend in the emerging media market is data.  The more the better.  Marketers are using data to zero in and personalize their message to specific audiences.  Companies are turning to computer models that analyze massive pools of information to make inferences about health, personality traits, and even mood in real-time, in order to help them predict, and ultimately influence, the customer’s next purchase.  The sophisticated way in which it is now possible to gather or collect information about a consumer resembles a science fiction movie (think Minority Report).  Except the technology isn’t futuristic.  It is here.

While emerging media may seem invasive or intrusive, most consumers prefer to have an emotional connection with brands.  Michael Lazerow, the chief marketing officer of the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, states that “the value of targeted marketing isn’t just from the marketing message itself, it’s from the intelligence and optimization” — data — “with each interaction that builds a one-to-one relationship with each customer to increase brand loyalty and drives sales.” There is a delicate balance between giving the customer what they want without being seen as intrusive.  Emerging media will always push the envelope and make us think and act in a whole new (and hopefully) smarter way.