Think back to this past year and how your job has changed.
Did you take on additional duties?
Did your job title change?
Did you acquire new co-workers through department mergers?
The answer to at least one of these questions is likely “yes” as the marketing universe continues to change. Content marketers across the industry have taken on accounting duties, IT roles, legal review roles and even HR strategies within their everyday tasks. This leaves employees floundering as they try to master skills that are increasingly divergent from their original job titles.
Will marketers continue to expand their skills in order to keep their jobs?
Or will the modern organizational structure evolve to help workers better manage their workloads?
It all depends on how directors and managers balance their talent in the upcoming year.
Marketing Teams Require Increasingly Diverse Skill Sets
One of the main reasons that organizational charts and job titles are changing is because there’s significant pressure on marketers take on additional tasks and diversify instead of specializing.
Lara Sinclair, head of content at Simple, believes someone who worked in a traditional marketing team just a generation ago wouldn’t recognize today’s modern marketing departments. This is mostly because digital marketing teams were siloed for so long, and traditional marketers felt they were part of a totally different department.
For example, marketing writer Samuel Scott started his career managing SEO for an adult website that shot him down whenever he had marketing ideas. This prevented growth and frustrated him in his constrained role. At the time, SEO wasn’t considered a marketing role, but today it’s an essential part of the content creation and copywriting process.
Even departments that aren’t similar are starting to merge, changing the employee job titles who work in them. Martin Smith, head of marketing for Adobe, tells Marketing Week that his company pairs individual marketers with salespeople on calls to support the process. Marketers use these meetings to learn about the customer journey while supporting the sales team with content and resources to close the deal. The sales and marketing teams are increasingly becoming one.
Employees Are Struggling to Keep Up With the Demand
As departments merge, employees are constantly expected to expand their skills to meet the company needs. The team and Marketing Dive found 90 percent of marketers believe they’re underskilled in their industries. They might have a strong grasp of marketing concepts, but struggle with finance, sales, and IT best practices.
Instead of past generations passing on their expertise, they’re trying to keep up with changing job roles. The team at TEKsystems has an infographic that demonstrates the seismic changes in marketing job titles. The titles that top their list wouldn’t have existed a decade ago, or would have been part of the IT department.
A perfect example of this is the role of analytics usage in marketing. According to TrackMaven’s 2017 Marketing Leadership Survey, 51 percent of marketers do their own analytics without any specially trained staff. A employee who didn’t take statistics in college might struggle to learn the basics of data analysis and manipulation, giving them the feeling of being underskilled.
Feelings of Inadequacy Affect Job Pools
Diverse skill sets and varied job descriptions are also creeping into want ads. Marketers are finding a variety of required skills in when they apply to jobs, ranging from IT troubleshooting to advanced finance knowledge.
If companies add everything but the kitchen sink to their job descriptions, they could miss out on interviewing top talent prospects because of skills insecurity.
For example, business expert Nancy Clark cited a popular Hewlett-Packard study that found women only applied for positions if they met 100 percent of the qualifications, while men applied when they met 60 percent of the listed skills needed. Imagine if 50 percent of your talent pool ignored your job posting because it featured an endless list of tangential skills that merely would be nice for a candidate to have.
Job Titles Are Increasingly Meaningless
Along with long job descriptions, job titles are becoming increasingly confusing as they change to encapsulate the variety of tasks.
Jordan Teicher, editor-in-chief at Contently, cites Salesforce’s 2017 State of Marketing report as proof of the changing nature of marketing. That report found that 61 percent of marketers have shifted their roles from their traditional job functions to align with the customer journey over the past 12 months.
The job marketers apply for this year could be completely different from what they actually do on a day-to-day basis this time next year.
Hiring Managers Need to Focus on Traits, Not Skills
With all of these changes taking place at the role level and at the task level, entire marketing departments are evolving. It’s futile to do anything but embrace the change.
Jeroen Nas, CEO at VEMT, prefers to use the phrase “predictable disruption” to describe the marketing industry. With all of the changes to the modern marketing industry, no one should be shocked that their roles are changing, as well. Marketers can fight tooth and nail against this evolution, but that’s not a productive attitude to have in such a flexible and evolving industry.
CMOs Need to Work Backward When Building Teams
Most marketers balance multiple tasks and take on additional roles whenever they have the space. This makes it hard for managers to sort who manages what and places added pressure on employees to do everything well.
Susan Marshall, CEO and founder of Torchlite, encourages leaders to start with their goals and work backward, instead of sourcing talent for a skill and then figuring out where they go in a company.
“Many marketing departments are tasked with too many objectives and launch campaigns that don’t ladder up to those objectives,” Marshall writes. “Once you clearly articulate WHAT you are doing and WHY you’ll be on a faster path to figuring out WHO should do what.”
There will always be an endless list of tasks and opportunities for marketing teams to complete. Managers who design their teams with these opportunities prioritized will see greater teamwork and marketing success than those who stick to specific roles and departments.
Agencies Are Also Affected By Organizational Changes
Changes to the marketing universe aren’t just targeting in-house teams. Marketing agencies as a whole have been affected (and in some cases benefited) from the rapid digital changes over the past decade. Most companies can’t pay to bring on a staff member to specialize in one channel or task, especially if that channel becomes a low priority six months later.
“It can be hard to find the right team of in-house marketers for your company,” says Jacob Baadsgaard, founder and CEO of Disruptive Advertising. “Investing in any new marketing channel is a risk, and what happens when you hire someone whose skill set doesn’t fit your company’s needs?”
Agencies allow brands to immediately test new options without requiring in-house employees to master new skills. Employees don’t need to hire a “jack-of-all-trades,” when they can hire an agency that has a team of experts on hand.
Agencies Need to Keep Up with the Demands of Clients
While hiring an agency might seem like an easy solution, there are drawbacks to outsourcing your work. Mark Schaefer, author of Known, shares one story where a company received pitches by two different (large, national) social media agencies, neither of which actually took the company’s needs into account.
“They had provided formulaic, cookie-cutter approaches that were unrealistic, out of touch with the strategy, resources, and political realities of the company, and simply destined for failure,” he writes
This lack of personalization is a common frustration from in-house marketers. The RSW/US 2016 Outlook Report surveyed 165 senior level marketers and 115 marketing agency executives. The top responses for what frustrates marketers about agencies include:
- Claiming to be a full service agency without actual expertise
- Shallow understanding of the brand, company and industry
- Ineffective integration across multiple channels
Even agencies struggle to fully integrate their services with other marketing teams, proving that marketing roles are much more blended than most people think they are.
Over the next few years, agencies might see more clients testing in-house work to make the marketing process more integrated. Pepijn Rijvers, CMO at Booking.com, recently moved their operations in-house to increase the speed of decision-making and the amount of data available to them. His team was growing increasingly frustrated by the long approval process and people involved with completing simple tasks.
You might not experience a complete overhaul to your organizational structure in 2018, but there will be changes. Team members will take on more roles and change their titles, departments will continue to merge, and those who adapt will thrive.
So, brush up your skills and get ready for change this year. The marketing world isn’t done evolving.