Today we all live and work in a new era, the Internet Century, where technology is roiling the business landscape and the pace of change is accelerating. Eric Schmidt
In this new era where everything is accelerated by technological changes, Marketers are also deeply impacted. They can't stand still. They definitely have to reconsidered their job, their approach and finally their profession, Now. What should they do? How should they do that? While there is not one answer to this question, I use the label Smart Creative Marketers for defining what a future Marketer is! But what does it really mean, let me tell you.
Inspired by Google
"The only way for businesses to consistently succeed is to attract the best smart creatives and create an environment where they can thrive at scale."
In the book How Google Works, Google brilliantly identified the impact of technology on organisation and coined the term of Smart Creatives: someone that combines a technical way of thinking with never-ending ideas and ways to tackle complex issues. While this term was not specific to Marketers, I truly believe it fits very well for them. The Marketing practice is currently revolutionised by technology and competitive landscape where brands are operating. It requires new ideas and solutions to problems that didn't exit in the past.
Why Smart Marketers?
Smart can be defined as able to think quickly or intelligently in difficult situations. Following ORACLE (1), Marketers must move at light speed. They need to adapt on the fly and be agile and nimble. With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated daily there really is no other choice.
You either adapt. Or die. It’s that simple.
I don't say that Marketers were not SMART in the past but they had to operate in a more stable world in terms of disruptions and changes. Today, they are facing several challenges:
They have less time for deciding what to do. Markets are moving fast and you can't wait too long otherwise it might be too late.
They have more data to analyse. Explosion of data due to the exponential increase of objects, people and systems is making situation analysis very complex.
They have more systems to use. Increase of technology (MarkTech) is forcing Marketers to spend time learning and using systems that didn't exist 10 years ago. Below you can see the Marketing Technology Landscape representing more than 5000 solutions (3)
They have new competitors. GameChangers are appearing everywhere, disrupting classical models with no respect for existing codes and rules.
The classical 4Ps won't work anymore obviously. This is why Smartness is key for Marketers and they have to be smart in a digital world. IBM says (2): Marketers should increase their Digital Acumen. Best Marketers are using predictive and prescriptive analytics and cognitive computing to create richer customer experiences.
Marketers have to be able to analyse complex situations through complex data provided by complex systems and come with intelligent solutions, quickly. Wow! Looks like mission impossible, no?
Why Creative Marketers?
The word creativity might be overused and sometimes misused! I like the definition provided by Creativity at Work:
Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.
This skills is fundamental today for any marketers because it implies 2 main actions: thinking differently, finding connections, hidden patterns AND turning these ideas into reality.
Interestingly enough, when following Marketing studies you either are very creative (art oriented school) or very productive (economical oriented school) but combining both is where the difficulty is.
Creativity is ranked by World Economic Forum as one of the top 3 skills you should have in the 4th industrial revolution.
Creativity will become one of the top three skills workers will need. With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.
In a fascinating study on The Conversation (7) by two Australian psychologists, creative people actually see the world differently. Their findings suggest that: "the creative tendencies of open people extend all the way down to basic visual perception. Open people may have fundamentally different visual experiences to the average person". In simple words, creative genius literally doesn't see the world the same way you do.
Some tips that might help you ...
As a Marketer, you should be capable to explore data without fears and extract relevant insights and knowledge. Ensure to take decision as much as possible based on data but don't lose your gut feelings.
As a Marketer, you should be capable to build, change, rework systems as they are part of the value proposition and core to most of the current disruptions. Ensure to understand how products and services are built. Technology is now part of your job.
As a Marketer, you should have the flexibility to develop the capacity to think differently in multiple perspectives by operating from emergence, detachment and allowing. Ensure to keep your mind free and opened and be capable to find hidden patterns and connect the dots.
As a Marketer, you should be safe in ‘not knowing’ the answer or the solution but how to generate it through intentional disruption, provocation, and disagreement and through deep inquiry, listening, and debate. Ensure to be curious, provocative, disruptive and avoid repeating same old recipes when situation has evolved.
As a Marketer, you should be receptive and cultivate skills in the innovative thinking including divergent/convergent, critical, associative to ideate hypothetical solutions that may not have previously existed. Ensure to be agile, apply sprints and design thinking in everything you do.
As a Marketer, put always human in the center of what you do. Ensure to apply human-centered design thinking processes and lean and agile start-up methodologies to develop empathy speed and agility.
As Marketer, you cannot make it alone. Only team play and co-creation with customers will deliver solutions to your problems. Ensure to debate, team, network and experiment with innovative business models and prototypes.
- ORACLE (2017) - The Future of Modern Marketing: 2017
- IBM (2016) - Global C-Suite study - Redefining Markets: The CMO Point of View
- ChiefMarTec.com (2017) - http://chiefmartec.com/2017/05/marketing-techniology-landscape-supergraphic-2017/
- Creativity at work (2014) - What is creativity? - http://www.creativityatwork.com/2014/02/17/what-is-creativity/
- AdAge (2011) - The Habits of Highly Creative Marketers - http://adage.com/article/news/habits-highly-creative-marketers/229162/
- InnovationExcellence (2016) - The Rise of the Smart Creative (Lessons from Google) - http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2016/05/23/the-rise-of-the-smart-creative-lessons-from-google/
- theconversation.com (2017) - People with creative personalities really do see the world differently - http://theconversation.com/people-with-creative-personalities-really-do-see-the-world-differently-77083