The marketing revolution your education couldn’t prepare you for
Now don’t get me wrong here, I learned a lot at university and enjoyed studying the different aspects about marketing, especially the old-school classics. But, let’s be honest: there’s no national educational program that can keep up with the modern marketer.
Sometimes I feel like a car mechanic, working on a the latest Formula 1 marketing machine. Just when I’ve finished tweaking and testing it—over and over again—my product still seems to lack the latest essential tools. New cylinders, valves, connectors and tires just keep getting released, and they’re getting better and better. I can’t help feeling like my marketing machine will never be ‘cutting-edge’, and always be just one step behind. But that’s what being a modern marketer is all about, the challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing, pulsating industry of marketing technology.
Starter for Tech
So, did my undergraduate marketing degree prepare for the frantic reality of the industry? So many years spent analyzing S.W.O.T, memorizing the ‘4 P’s of the marketing mix’ (or was it 5?), evaluating Porter's 5 forces model—and let’s not forget scrutinizing the infamous, long-winded marketing ‘bible’, Kotler’s ‘The Principles of Marketing’. Considering my responsibilities today, it’s hard to determine how academic theories helped me in the professional world. Although, from time-to-time, I catch myself drifting back to Maslow’s Hierarchies of Needs when devising a campaign strategy—the revised version, of course (below):
But, the lack of relevance of my studies is no fault of any national curriculum. After all, how can you teach a class when the very foundation of the content is morphing into the next unpredictable stage? That’s just the harsh reality of our occupation. For example, take omnichannel marketing. It’s not even a new thing anymore—but none of my professors could even anticipate the relevance of ‘omni’ when I was at school—and it was not even that long ago. But, even a (relatively) youthful twenty-something like myself is made to feel old by the relentless ‘has-been’ tendencies of this profession—I mean, who uses Skype for conference calls anymore? In my opinion, Zoom, Slack, HipChat, GoogleHangouts are all better, newer alternatives to the original concept.
The tech's-fast club
...because tech is fast-paced. Naturally.
I’m always trying to comprehend how the latest ‘must-have’ technologies will take the pressure off my daily tasks and optimize my work-processes. The lengthy white papers, methodologically instructive how-tos, and compelling articles are all helpful as they are endless. It’s OK that my studies didn’t prepare me for this unforgiving world. I’m an autodidactic guy—I even taught myself what that word meant—so I get a buzz trying to keep pace. It’s what I love about marketing; it’s a craft that is constantly being redefined. My passion can only be adequately expressed through Aerosmith: I don’t want to miss a thing. Avid marketer and power ballad fan? Yeah, I’m that person.
As you can see from the annually-published Chief Martech infographic, marketing technology is getting more comprehensive and complicated by the second. Building your martech stack is all about streamlining processes, and it’s essential for technologies to complement each other. I evaluate every new martech tool that comes my way with the following questions: Does it integrate? Can I sync my data? Does it make my marketing operations more synergetic?
I’m not a developer, so my interests aren’t about the complexity or integrity of the code. I want the facts and figures. As a marketer, I know all the persuasive techniques, which has made me skeptical about every “life-changing” new product. That being said, my mind is open, and there’s nothing I enjoy more (save power ballads, naturally) than a good argument that’ll persuade me otherwise.
So, has anyone come across the next best martech tool? Convince me; get in touch with your best arguments. Remember, I’m looking for how your product will boost efficiencies, create leads, improve conversion rates and more out-of-the-box ideas I haven’t even thought of.