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.