Traditional marketing methods are rapidly losing their relevance in the age of modern marketing. We see new trends take shape at the speed of light. In this article, we discuss how veteran marketers can reinvent themselves in the age of data-driven marketing.

Thanks to the development of digital avenues, marketing as a discipline has made giant strides in the last two decades. This has led to marketers bidding goodbye to the traditional spray and pray approach and introducing data-driven marketing in their organizations.

Veteran Marketers used to have to rely a lot more on their intuition in the past and the best ones would value curiosity and meet with prospect and customers, talk to sales, run focus groups, observe buying behaviors, listen to objections, attend trade shows, etc. By combining data, if you pair these human insights with all the new data marketers have access to, you’ll be able to innovate faster, better connect with prospects and customers, as well as optimize the customer and buying experience.

Michelle Huff, CMO of UserTesting

Data-driven marketing enables you to track every penny you spend on advertising, how a visitor behaves on your website, and how prospects move through the marketing funnel.

Although the marketing principles remain largely unchanged, the way you execute them has changed a lot.

Given that data can get you more actionable insights than ever before, every generation of marketers should be open to data showing insights that differ from their intuition. It’s important to remember to not be reactive to what is first reported – even if it’s not what you expected. Trust your intuition, but also work to understand how the analysis was done. Then you can confirm underlying assumptions between data and your gut. You might end up identifying contributing factors that you’re aware of but aren’t being quantitatively measured today.

~ Liz Kao, VP of Products, Full Circle Insights

So, if you are a veteran marketer looking to reinvent yourself, here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Get Acquainted with the Different Areas of Modern Marketing

Modern marketing is a customer-centric phenomenon, unlike traditional marketing that kept the brand at the nucleus.  The first step in adapting to the data-driven world is to get acquainted with the different facets of modern marketing. Some of them are:

Pick any topic of your liking and read up on the learning material on that subject.

Note: MarTech Advisor contains a vast repository of content that covers these topics targeted towards different levels of expertise. Our MarTech 101 series serves as a primer on the fundamental concepts pertaining to marketing.

2. Understand the Concurrent Skills Required to Learn the Concept

Let’s divide the required skills into three different categories:

A. Universal Skills

Universal skills are the ones that help you do your job better regardless of your domain. Some of the universal skills are writing, design, research, leadership, decision making, storytelling, negotiation, etc. Good writing skills are helpful in almost every area of marketing such as email, content, and social media. However, you don’t have to be an expert in all these skills, simply being aware can make you better than most marketers. For example, excellent writing skills clubbed with an eye for good design can elevate overall marketing efforts for your organization.

B. Core Skills

Core skills are domain specific. If you want to be a data or analytics person, you must possess analytical thinking and data visualization skills along with the knowledge of core concepts of statistics.

C. Peripheral Skills

These skills form the subset of a larger skillset. For example, having knowledge of SEO and CRO can certainly help you become a better content marketer.

Based on the chosen area, define which of these skills you need to learn.

Learn More: Five Must Have Skills to Work in MarTech/Adtech

3. Sign-Up for Courses

Traditional online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have paved the way for beginners and professionals both to learn any skill they want at their own pace. 

While you can sign-up for specific courses, many well-known universities across the world have introduced degrees along with certification courses that you can enroll for.

Here are a few courses/certifications to help you get started:

You can also sign-up for the following MOOCs as they offer a wide array of courses not just related to marketing, but entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, machine learning, behavioral economics, business psychology, etc.

Bonus Tip: Alongside these courses, read case studies of successful campaigns as these will help you understand how different facets of marketing work in the practical context. You can also reverse engineer the processes of successful brands by following them on social media, signing up for their newsletter or registering for their product.

4. Get Hands-On Experience with MarTech Tools

There’re over 7000 tools and applications in the MarTech space. No, you don’t need to know all of those. But experiment with different tools that are well-known in a niche. For example, if you’re interested in social media marketing, learn to use HootSuite, Buffer or Sprout Social.

Also, understand how to build a MarTech stack. Here are a few tools that you can start with:

  1. Buffer
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Content Management System (CMS) — such as WordPress
  4. Moz
  5. SEMRush
  6. MailChimp/Constant Contact
  7. Google AdWords
  8. VWO

Learn More: 3 Ways to Future-Proof Your Martech Stack

5. Understand the Role of Data in the Ecosystem

Data is the thread in the marketing ecosystem that binds everything together. While you don’t need to be a data ninja to be a data-driven marketer, it is mandatory to know how to interpret analytics data. 

Being able to make sense of the data will allow you to determine the future course of action and take the necessary steps to get there. For example, if a recent email marketing campaign has yielded average results, you can introduce a series of A/B tests to find the weak link and fix it.

6. Automate Whenever Possible

The biggest advantage of MarTech tools is arguably their ability to automate different operations. When you automate processes, you can sit back and observe how things are working and make minor tweaks wherever necessary.

For example, you can set different rules for the onboarding email campaign that trigger different sequences depending on how the recipient reacted to the initial email.

Automation saves you a lot of time and prevents inefficiency that might arise from repetitive, monotonous work.

Learn More: What Is Marketing Analytics and Why You Need It in 2019

Final Takeaways

Always be able to tie your efforts to measurable financial results. Driving volume alone doesn’t cut it anymore. Show you can work with both quality- and quantity-based results. Use the experience and knowledge you’ve gained over the years to drive decisions that you’d normally make, but make sure that they can be broken down into hypotheses, actions to determine the validity of the hypotheses and quantifiable results. Today, it’s about structuring and articulating the decisions you usually made with your gut into specific components.

~ Liz Kao, VP of Products, Full Circle Insights

Being an industry veteran has already equipped you with the strategic and management mindset that is crucial to be a successful marketer. Your aim with reinventing yourself may not be to get hands-on with everything, but just to catch up with the dynamic nature of marketing. Following these steps will definitely put you ahead of the curve as you can now seamlessly fuse your newly gained knowledge with your priceless experience.

Originally posted on MarTech Advisor, by Indrajeet Deshpande

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