I have a con­fes­sion to make. I always aspired to be a “cre­ative type.” I envied their imag­i­na­tion, sense of style, verve, and intrin­sic knowl­edge of what is cur­rently “in.” After years of work­ing for Adobe, with both cre­ative depart­ments and cus­tomers, some of it has rubbed off, and while I may not be exactly hip, at least my wardrobe can best be described as 50 shades of black.

But as I talked about in my last blog, I have embraced the ana­lyt­i­cal side of my brain. Today’s mar­ket­ing depart­ments are going through a sim­i­lar trans­for­ma­tion. Dig­i­tal has changed the descrip­tion of a mar­keter as well as the makeup of a mar­ke­teer­ing team. To put it sim­ply, the orga­ni­za­tion looks different.

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing has intro­duced new peo­ple with dif­fer­ent skills, a new process in the exe­cu­tion of mar­ket­ing con­cepts, and a new tech­nol­ogy that allows us to do more than ever before. It’s time to wel­come the nerds into the field of marketing.

Today’s dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing depart­ments need ana­lysts just as much as the “cre­ative types.” Instead of hold­ing MBAs or BA degrees, they have obtained BS or MS degrees. They have learned how to ana­lyze data—lots of data—and draw insights from it that the tra­di­tional mar­keter can­not always see.

How­ever, just as tra­di­tional mar­keters have had to embrace the world of ana­lyt­ics, the ana­lyz­ers are embrac­ing the world of mar­ket­ing. They need to under­stand mar­ket­ing con­cepts so that they can draw the proper insights from the data they eval­u­ate. Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing allows mar­ket­ing depart­ments to have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the process of mar­ket­ing. But there is a down­side to the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing rev­o­lu­tion, too. The vol­ume of the data can over­whelm you.

One way we solved it at Adobe is by form­ing the Mar­ket­ing Insights and Oper­a­tions (MIO) Depart­ment. While access to data is democ­ra­tized, the MIO team has become our sin­gle source of truth. By hav­ing a cen­tral team respon­si­ble for pulling and ana­lyz­ing all mar­ket­ing data, we have avoided duel­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of data. It used to take us weeks to agree on what the data was and what it meant. By hav­ing a team of experts gather and inter­pret the data, we can quickly get from data to insights to action. While these folks are respon­si­ble for the data side of the house, they are more than ana­lyz­ers or sta­tis­ti­cians. They are mar­keters. They know the right goals to mea­sure and the right insights to draw from the data to help a mar­ket­ing cam­paign. They need to be sto­ry­tellers to prop­erly present the find­ings and lead­ers to push for the right changes to be made as a result of those insights.

Our CMO Ann Lewnes recently said that in today’s dig­i­tal world it is “Time for Mad Men to become Math Men.” And while the hottest mar­ket­ing degree today is “ana­lyt­ics” and peo­ple with the right skills are worth their weight in gold, the irony is that they are hard to find. Mar­ket­ing has gone dig­i­tal,  yet the peo­ple com­ing out of col­leges and MBA pro­grams often lack the skills nec­es­sary to under­stand how to mar­ket in a dig­i­tal world.

The schools that pre­pare this new gen­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal mar­keters need to address this prob­lem, and tech com­pa­nies like Adobe must step for­ward and help. In my next blog, I will explore what the col­leges need to do and dis­cuss what Adobe is doing to bet­ter pre­pare peo­ple for the brave new world of dig­i­tal marketing.