The past decade has been one of significant change. We have not only become part of the global village but have embraced our citizenship in it. We have learned how to become digital at the core. Now we are quickly grasping the construct of Big Data and finding ways to use it to make marketing programs better and more personal. More importantly, we have become used to the almost frenetic pace of change. We are out of denial and beginning to accept that marketing as we know it has changed. I do believe we’re in the Cambrian period of marketing.

As you know, the Cambrian Period marked a profound change in life on Earth; prior to this period, living organisms on the whole were small, unicellular and simple. Complex, multicellular organisms gradually became more common in the time immediately preceding the Cambrian, but it was not until this period that mineralized – hence readily fossilized – organisms became common. This rapid diversification of lifeforms in the Cambrian, known as the Cambrian explosion, produced the first representatives of many modern phyla, representing the evolutionary stems of modern groups of species, such as the arthropods. Basically, leading to the world as we know it today.

Similarly, we have entered a new world of marketing – we are dealing with more complexity and change – even bigger amounts of data, constantly evolving technologies, continued fragmentation of channels and touch points… and unbelievably demanding consumers with constantly escalating expectations. This evolution has created a need for a new marketing model. And, more importantly, a need for a new kind of a marketer.

A Decathlete Marketer(R)

Over the past few decades, it was OK for marketers to be one-or-two sport athletes. You could succeed by being a brand expert or a response-oriented specialist. Not anymore. Today, you need to be capable and competent in ten areas within the marketing ecosystem – data, digital, mobile, social, experience, engagement, analytics, strategy, equity and creative. Like a decathlete (my hero will always be Daley Thompson), you don’t have to be a world record holder in all events. What you do need, though, is enough knowledge and familiarity in each area to be able to put the pieces together in a way that delivers measurable business results while building value in your brand.

Interestingly, in this world, a jack of all trades has better ability to be successful than a master of one. Being able to use all these “tools” in a cohesive and complementary way is now the imperative.

Do you feel overwhelmed by this? A number of my CMO friends do. There is too much static around each of these areas and how to best leverage definitely feels complex. However, it doesn’t have to be so… I will be exposing ways to break down these ten areas into manageable and digestible bites in a new book, which should be out by the Fall. Meanwhile, I’ll test some of the bits in my blog. Hopefully, they will be helpful. The changing marketing world is creating many new opportunities. Working together, we can all thrive in it.

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