It wasn't too long ago that being a marketer consisted of balancing multiple communication channels to reach, understand and attract customers. And by "not too long ago," we're talking fifteen years ago.
In the meantime, the Web and mobile drastically changed not only the marketer's job, but what it takes to be a marketing asset.
These changes don't mean you need to be a data scientist or a developer. But you will need to understand these concepts in order to make smart decisions.
Understand 'Big Data,' a.k.a. 'Business Intelligence'
Any marketer knows about the big data buzz -- but it's really just business intelligence. Big data's buzzy because marketers have access to more real-time data than ever before and have unlocked more potential.
But how do marketers separate useful data from the noise? While you don't need a degree in data science, you will need an understanding of how to speak with your resident data scientist and a basic grasp of the analytics data available in your platforms. How else will you know which measures to use to assess a campaign's impact, or how to structure an effective A/B test?
Without a good understanding, you might miss out on the opportunity to target certain demographics with specific products or messages. Data not only plays a huge role in outcomes, but also in forecasting and modeling, which informs the decisions marketers must make to propel their brands forward.
Embrace Mobile - It's Where Your Customers Are
Numbers don't lie: marketing report after marketing report show that consumers are increasingly using mobile to interact with brands, whether shopping online, engaged with an app or reading content. As a marketer, your job is to understand and attract relevant consumers in order to turn them into a customer.
So having a mobile strategy -- separate from your digital desktop strategy -- is smart and necessary.
You're not expected to know how to create a mobile app or mobile-responsive website, but you will be expected to understand how to leverage the unique properties of mobile to drive user engagement. Mobile marketing tools (remember: they're different from desktop tools) offer new ways to engage your audience.
Imagine sending an email that people can't ignore (a push notification to the phone in their pocket), or knowing exactly where someone is (geofencing and iBeacons) or choosing to communicate with people at the best time for them, based on their historical behavior (optimal time push). Mobile is a new world of marketing opportunities.
Mobile marketing techniques can drive revenue growth for your brand. For instance, using optimal time push, you can engage commuters during their downtime and the nighthawks in the evenings. This can mean the difference between building brand loyalty and driving customers away.
The same goes for personalized push -- by providing details of what was left in a shopping cart versus sending a generic message, you can drive higher response rates when you remind customers to come back and purchase. But it's a fine line to walk, and you need to do testing to make sure you're not being too pushy, which becomes annoying, or too personalized, which can come off as creepy.
Mobile allows for the chance to build a more impactful and personalized relationship with your audience. And with the data breadcrumbs these tools leave behind, you'll get a sense of which tactics work for your segment, and build on that foundation.
Technology Literacy vs. Technology Prowess
For marketers to stay competitive -- as a brand and as an individual -- technology literacy is key. A general understanding of how tools work, how apps are created, and how data is derived can mean the difference between poor execution and great business results.
Leave the app development to developers, and the data mining to the data scientists, but know how to speak their language so you can more clearly and efficiently get the products, and results, you need in order to deliver on your goals and campaigns.
Dig in and start using the latest generation of digital marketing tools. The industry has evolved enough that many products are well designed and intuitive for marketers to create and deploy tests and campaigns. If you're unsure how to properly use these tools, ample training content is available and you can always engage in a sit-down with a customer support specialist who can demonstrate best practices.
So for all marketers who still employ the tried-and-true tactics of yesterday, take a good hard look at those strategies. Are they keeping you competitive?
If the answer is no, take a look at what data analytics and mobile technology have to offer you and your brand. You'll find that with a basic understanding, and some engagement with the tools, your direction and decision-making is more on point than before.