84% of marketers now regard the rise of the digital native as overwhelmingly the most important (or a very important) factor affecting marketing plans. So while we welcome the digital generation we must also retool our minds and skillsets to the new marketing order. This, though, appears to be the biggest hurdle.
Skills shortages, lack of experience and budget constraints as a hangover of the recession continue to plague the digital marketing landscape. While we are certainly not short of data, the problem is that not enough marketers understand how to extract its true value, whether that is in customer loyalty or data monetisation.
Our research found that modern marketers were split into distinct factions when it came to their strategies, channels and skills. Each faction has something to bring to the table but do these marketers span the full spectrum of skills needed to help their businesses flourish in the digital revolution? Read on to see if you recognise yourself in our archetypes and explore whether you have the skills for the future.
1. Multichannel Master
A multichannel player at heart, these marketers concentrate on digital techniques but often look to use all of the major channels available, whether they are relevant or not. Multichannel Masters are in the majority, accounting for 45% of the UK's marketing population.
Typically, they work in large energy companies, banks and telecommunications giants. They often cite budget constraints as their biggest inhibitor, but this is mostly due to spreading their resources too thinly across numerous channels. In our survey we found that they utilise mobile, call centres, direct mail, live events, webinars, and social media channels in each campaign.
Interestingly, our research indicates that Multichannel Masters are particularly confident in search, and fairly confident in other forms marketing.
2. SoMoLo Maven
SoMoLo marketers have their finger on the pulse. They focus on the latest media channels, apps and platforms like Vine, WhatsApp and Snapchat to tell their story and attract new customers.
From a budget perspective, our research shows that they spend more on social media, mobile marketing and webinars than any other group. Unsurprisingly, they also use websites, search and email on a regular basis. Online is their world and they thrive on the real-time interaction as a way of measuring success. They show a positive dislike to traditional broadcast media, largely because of the lack of quantifiable data-driven results.
Often working for disruptive brands or a small online agency, they tend to be innovative at making budgets work as hard as possible, designing 'noisy' campaigns with not much money to spend.
These are the pioneers of digital marketing and are the most confident about their strategies. They also have a good grasp of the power of real-time data analytics, which will become increasingly valuable as the industry dives deeper into big data.
Interestingly, they see great value in live events in tandem with their digital execution. Our survey showed that SoMoLo Mavens will use up to 10 channels in any one campaign.
3. Digital Nerds
We define a Digital Nerd as a marketer who shifts massive amounts of data but is uninterested in brand advertising. They are in their element looking at data and calculating propensity models.
On average, they use eight marketing channels with online ads, search and websites being the first ports of call for all campaigns. Email, press ads, live events, direct mail and social media make up the rest of the campaign budgets.
Digital Nerds tend to spend their money in tried-and-tested digital channels and are quite timid at exploring the new. Perhaps this is because they champion measurement. Working to the mantra of 'data, data everywhere,' this breed of marketers see websites, search, online ads and email as their closest friends due to the simplicity in evaluating click-through-rates, open-rates or basket competitions.
They are masters in data analytics, but lack an adventurous personality to test new grounds with creative output. In the majority of cases, Digital Nerds work in traditional digital agencies, loyalty companies and major online retailers.
Social media is too vague for them to determine a return on investment so it's unusual for them to dabble in this world. They rate live events quite highly, perhaps because there is a tangible way to qualify leads based on sales interactions.
4. Old School Direct
All firm handshake and steady eye contact, this old school marketer wants to engage directly with customers, physically and personally. Ignore the brand; this is all about the one-to-one sell.
These marketers, mostly from B2B tech or big catalogue companies, major on direct mail, call centres and email marketing. They're also keen on events and the digital equivalent of webinars. Averaging ten channels for their campaigns, this marketer tends to avoid channels – such as outdoor, TV and radio – that don't give them the face-to-face opportunities they crave.
Like the Digital Nerd, old school marketers are numbers driven, but these guys rely on high volume marketing to hit their goals, rather than detailed personalised customer insight. Interestingly this group's confidence in their marketing strategies is a little shaky, spending more on live events and direct mail than their confidence warrants. Perhaps these guys recognise that change is in the air.
With the evolution of marketing on the horizon, many brand owners are already using hybrid models to break through the 'noise' and engage in meaningful conversations with their audience. But to integrate digital marketing with traditional channels, marketers need to become masterminds in data analytics.
- Dr Charles Randall is Head of Solutions Marketing, SAS UK & Ireland