As recently as a decade ago, the silos of public relations, advertising (print, TV, and radio), direct mail, brand development and sales support were most often delivered by a variety of vendors to companies and organizations in need of marketing.
While dedicated firms still exist for these services, technology’s rapid evolvement over the past few years has driven the majority of B2B marketers to integrate them with digital, online and social media. These integrated marketing firms provide one-stop shopping for clients, along with more cohesive marketing campaigns that push a unified message through a connected variety of channels.
Branding and content are still at the core of the marketing toolkit. Brands must be impactful and messaging must resonate with target audiences. But content delivery has irrevocably changed with technology. It is used for multiple purposes and platforms within campaigns, from improving search engine optimization to drive qualified leads to client websites, to developing attention-grabbing and informative podcasts, videos, webinars and white papers.
Modern content is flexible, fluid, and oftentimes two-way, with prospect interactions via the web and social media.
The modern marketer must not only be innovative in his or her development of content and brands, but also in how to actually reach – and connect – with prospects in multiple ways.
Gone are the days when an advertising campaign could rely solely on print, television and/or radio. Today’s marketer must determine the right mix of media to deliver content that will best secure prospective customer attention (which is so divided) among the technology blitz of the web, mobile devices and social media – which didn’t even exist a few short years ago.
A balancing act
This modern landscape presents a challenge, to say the least: The marketer is now charged with being an expert across constantly changing media, while still flexing his or her creative talents. In addition, marketers are charged with using technology to measure, monitor and automate marketing campaigns and functions. Modern marketing has become a balancing act of creativity versus technology.
Interestingly, a recent survey of U.S.-based B2B marketers by Eloqua found this tension shared by the majority of respondents. They reported confidence in the artful and tech-savvy aspects of marketing, but scored themselves lower in data analytics and marketing technology (i.e. software for marketing and workflow automation, social monitoring, etc.).
The “Defining the Modern Marketer: From Real to Ideal” report also relays that participants believe successful modern marketers should be expert content, brand and web marketers – a veritable triumvirate of marketing.
However, Eloqua asserts that marketing in today’s ever-changing technology environment should include the use of marketing technology, analytics (for ROI), conversion of leads and prospects to customers (and even sales assistance), targeting, and engagement via content, public relations and outreach. Survey respondents understood the importance of these five marketing characteristics but are lacking in their integration.
While marketing has always been a results-oriented business focused on campaign measurement, modern technology has created a demand for tangible ROI data.
Notably, the 2013 Technology Marketing Priorities Report found that marketing analytics was the fourth most cited job function of marketers who responded to the survey. Strategic planning, content creation and campaign management were the top three functions cited – out of the seven major ones performed by modern marketers.
Modern marketers clearly have their work cut out for them, as technology presents new opportunities and challenges to campaign strategy and execution, as well as to data analytics and automation processes. Overall, the innovative designs, creative content and unique hybrid of delivery strategies produced daily by integrated marketing teams make even the most intimidating technology challenge worth the trial.
Modern marketing is rewarding and exciting. Maybe not as exciting as Don Draper’s lifestyle in “Mad Men” – but that is a good thing.