Top skills that marketers will need in 2022
Over the last 12 months, senior marketing leaders and their teams have faced many new challenges. Amid budget constraints, reduced headcounts and the shift to remote working, marketers have had to adapt marketing plans seemingly overnight. Duncan Egan looks at how the marketing industry is undergoing significant disruption.
Many executive leadership teams are turning to their senior marketing leaders to help their business navigate new COVID-19 demand cycles. It’s about turning short-term opportunities into long-term commercial momentum. Marketers have become change makers and customer champions. They are no longer solely responsible for driving marketing transformation. Instead they are focused on positioning their brands for growth and success.
Given the demanding and dynamic nature of the role, the next-generation of marketers will need to have specific skills. These will have help them be able to navigate, transform, innovate and react to anything that’s put in their path. In 2022, CMOs and their marketing teams will need to display five key attributes:
Attribute 1: Agents of change
With new customer demand cycles and new ways of working, marketers need to be receptive and adaptive to change. We’ve seen countless examples of marketing ingenuity, innovation and agility as marketers adapt to the digital channels and formats that consumers now prefer.
Marketing now impacts every aspect of the business and is the primary driver of customer experience, which means marketers are seen as agents of change within their organisations. To deliver change, marketing leaders need to align their work to the overall company strategy and empower individuals to prioritise meaningful and high-value work that helps the organisation achieve its business goals.
Attribute 2: Digital-first
Future marketing leaders are technologists. Marketers today rely on, and are passionate about, digital tools to support the entire marketing ecosystem. Adobe’s Workfront research found that 85% of Australian marketers regularly use data to make informed marketing decisions and believe that digital tools help to deliver measurable ROI and demonstrate the value of marketing to their organisations.
In 2022, marketers will need to keep a finger on the pulse of emerging technology to stay competitive. Adobe’s Future of Marketing research found that majority of marketers plan to experiment with new content types and channels to differentiate their customer experiences. Seventy-five percent of Australian marketers plan to implement 3D content into their marketing efforts. This is closely followed by video (72 percent) and VR/AR (61 percent). Currently, only 57 percent of marketers say they actively use AI / ML in their organisation.
Attribute 3: Hybrid creatives
Remote working posed the biggest challenge to the creative process for marketers over the last 18 months. More than 71 percent of marketers felt that creativity suffered during the pandemic. In 2022, we expect CMOs to embrace a hybrid creative process, as some of their team members return to the office.
To do this, senior marketing leaders will need to continue to invest in digital tools and platforms that enable virtual collaboration and unlock creativity thinking in their teams, while bringing back in-person creative sessions. Majority of marketers plan to bring back face-to-face meetings to encourage creative thinking when workforces return to the office.
Attribute 4: Dexterous business leader
As marketing becomes a critical business function and more CMOs take a seat at the boardroom table, they’ll need to look beyond traditional marketing leadership skills. This means cultivating a broader skillset to become dexterous leaders that help to drive innovation and change in their organisations.
According to Adobe Workfront research, one third of marketers believe data analysis, financials, project management and coordinating workloads are some of the most valuable skills for the CMO to have. Senior marketing leaders will also need to improve their visibility into business priorities and strategies. This will drive marketing transformation and help their businesses stay ahead of regulatory and industry change.
Attribute 5: Custodians of customer trust
Today, consumers are sharing more personal data online than ever before. But Australian consumers are also demanding that businesses ask for consent to use their data and be transparent about how their data is being used. In fact, 40 percent of Australians want to be given control over how their data is used.
In Adobe’s Future of Marketing research, marketers believe the number one way to build and maintain trust is through customer experience. Marketers, by default, are now the custodians of customer trust, and need to actively seek permission to use customer data, articulate its benefits for the customer and the business, and give the customer ultimate control to opt-out or change their preferences, to build trust.
It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. By being receptive to change. Embrace a digital-first and hybrid approach. If you cultivate business skills and prioritising trust, marketers will be ready for the next horizon.
Duncan Egan is the vice president of marketing APAC, Adobe.