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Keep on moving! Why learning never stops for successful marketers

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With technology fast-evolving and consumer habits ever-changing, marketers must keep moving forward too. But are you keeping your thinking fresh? Here, we explore why the pressure to learn is also a huge opportunity.
Keep on moving! Why learning never stops for successful marketers

Our new series of blog posts are inspired by the University of Glasgow Online MSc Marketing programme. Today we examine why a commitment to ongoing learning is vital for marketing teams…

Today’s marketing landscape is in a state of flux. We’re in the age of digital transformation where change is constant and disruption is the norm. This fact is reflected by Statista’s projection that $7.8 trillion will be invested directly into digital transformation between 2020 and 2024 world-wide.

What does this mean for marketers?

It means, we’re in high demand as key players in helping businesses embrace the unfurling world of digital opportunity. But the demands placed upon us are also rather weighty.

In this article, we examine three key reasons why a commitment to ongoing education is so important for marketers.

Technology is evolving fast – and so are customer expectations

“We went from being the Flintstones to the Jetsons in 9 months”

– David Giambruno

The interplay of technological evolution and changing consumer expectations places unique pressure on marketing teams. The scale of the challenge is perhaps best illustrated by Scott Brinker’s now famous “Martech Landscape” infographic. It features platforms ranging from social media, marketing automation, content management, CRM and much much more.

Scott’s first launched the graphic in 2011 identifying 150 marketing vendors on the market. The 2020 edition featured 8,000!

martech landscape

Why does this matter to marketers? It matters because it signifies the growing demand for marketing technology which better serves customers, improves marketing efficiency and drives better results for marketing departments and the companies they serve.

It reflects the breadth of knowledge that today’s marketers require and how it constantly needs to evolve. While you may not need to grapple with the full spectrum of marketing technologies – apart from chief marketers who will need a good grounding in most areas – every marketer will benefit from updating their expertise in the technologies relevant to their work.

Marketers can keep up with trends and ensure they’re ready to adjust to consumer demand by:

• Actively seeking out and listening to customer feedback
• Subscribing to publications which offer insights into the latest thinking and industry-related trends.
• Attending relevant industry lectures and networking events
• Seeking out relevant training which can help update and sharpen marketing skills

Perhaps the most obvious change related to marketing is the huge growth in data. Social media analytics, website analytics, CRM insights, advertising data, mobile data and more. Trying to make the most out of it is one of the biggest challenges right now for marketing teams.

In the same way that brands only remain successful if they adjust to new trends, marketers must also continue to evolve. Those who do will distinguish themselves – and their brand – from the competition, increasing their value and the company’s relevance in one happy parallel.

The University of Glasgow Online MSc Marketing programme provides students with the latest marketing knowledge, underpinned by the enduring core skills which businesses value. Delivered by the triple-accredited Adam Smith Business School, it gives students the tools to succeed now and into the future. Discover how the programme can expand your digital marketing expertise.

New learning opens up new opportunity

marketing opportunity

If you’re dedicated to ongoing learning and improving your skills then you’re more likely to progress your career and increase your earnings potential.

As we’ve outlined in the previous section: technology’s evolution creates a demand for people who can learn and adapt to it. The more intense the competition for consumers, the bigger the premium for the marketer who drives the consumer to – and through – the sales funnel.

Leaving new tech to the younger members of the team could be a mistake for experienced marketers. New social channels, the rising capability of Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual or augmented reality – all have the potential to be game-changers, like the technologies that came before them.

Relying on a skillset and years of loyalty may not keep wizened practitioners ahead of those who are mastering the new technologies. It’s one case where the turtle may not beat the hare. Perhaps this explains why the average tenure of a CMO is less than three years!

A dedication to new learning offers the following benefits for marketers:

1. Improved chances of a promotion

A commitment to ongoing learning signifies to decision-makers that you’re passionate, engaged and ready to progress in your career. By investing time and money in your own development (or taking every training opportunity offered), you’re more likely to see doors open within the business.

In some cases, a professional qualification may be a pre-requisite for a senior job role.

2. Increased earnings

By improving your qualifications and skills, you can put yourself in line for a pay rise. This increase may be offered as part of a promotion or as a way of keeping you in the business.

Continuing education often leads to a higher starting salary at a new job too. It’s worth noting that in some cases, a specific formal qualification will be required to prove your credibility. A highly regarded qualification reassures the employer that you have a strong grounding in marketing’s fundamentals which can be replicable in the future.

3. Possibility of a career switch

If you restrict your expertise to a particular role within your company – and the specific duties which are required of you, then guess what? It might be difficult to make a career switch. However, if you’re equipped with a broader range of skills – and qualifications – you’re better positioned to make a career switch.

A thorough grounding in marketing’s fundamentals and a proven ability to deliver great marketing, is closely entwined with business success. So, if you have a passion that you think can be transformed into a successful business…

A savvy marketer improves business outcomes

marketing success

The marketing team has a huge impact on the success or otherwise of a business. If you’re a marketer who can grasp the shifting nature of marketing, and have the timeless foundational skills to support it, then you can play a defining role in the accomplishments of the company.

Business leaders understand the importance of ongoing learning too. A study by Econsultancy showed that 89% of executives say their organisation’s growth depends on rapidly evolving their skills capabilities to meet emerging consumer marketing needs. And yet, only 28% of marketers said that they received ongoing learning and development that is matched to how their market/business is evolving.

If people training and skills development fails to evolve in line with business objectives, there is surely an unbridgeable gap between ambition and achievability.

A savvy marketer will see new trends before they arise and spot the business opportunity within it. Take the example of Black Swan Data. The company has an impressive ability to spot emerging trends in social conversations. Via a machine learning algorithm they were able to spot the trend in green tea before the market had been provided for. Its client, Lipton Tea, were able to get ahead of trend and bring a new product offering to the emerging market with no immediate competition.

This is a high-tech example of the importance of being primed to spot new consumer trends and respond. A big part of a marketing team’s role is to understand the problems or needs of customers and working out how to address them.

It further emphasises too – marketing doesn’t work in a silo. Marketing’s influence and impact reaches out to almost every part of the business. For example, customer service, sales, finance, and technology can all be impacted in a positive way by marketing. Establishing and maintaining a two-way line of communication between teams is important so that each can feed into the other.

Marketers – and marketing teams – need to be ready to ensure the business itself is ready to grasp new opportunities or negate new threats to its business model.

The learning journey continues

Learning never stops for the successful marketer. That’s one of the joys of marketing. New technologies and concepts are always emerging which offer the chance to get ahead of the competition and be a real difference-maker at your organisation.

The question is: are you ready?

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

– William Pollard

Would you like to upgrade your marketing expertise and enhance your career path? A full range of new and traditional marketing disciplines are taught in the Online MSc Marketing programme at the University of Glasgow.

Delivered by the triple-accredited Adam Smith Business School, it explores the latest topics from analytics to user experience, along with core marketing essentials. Find out how you can unlock new opportunities in your marketing career.


Main image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Mel Dixon
Author: Mel Dixon
Editor at Global Marketing Alliance

Editor and freelance writer wading his way through the world of data. One step at a time. Interested in data driven marketing insights supported by... data.

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