To mark the launch of Rakuten Marketing’s latest global research report ‘What Marketers Want; five strategic opportunities for 2018’, we caught up with Alison O’Leary, founder at Live True Career & Life Coaching, who shared her reflections on the findings.

Marketing Skills
Marketing today demands a myriad of skills and abilities akin to the personified swiss army knife.

Standard job descriptions band countless responsibilities under a single role, expecting the marketer to be a digital maven, data analyst, creative guru, attribution expert, regulation and compliance pro, networking wizard and more.

But this mythical all-rounder is exactly that. A myth. It doesn’t exist. No matter how good you are, how hard you work or how much experience you have, the abject truth is that you’ll never be a master at everything, even with a tonne of extra hours, targeted training and considerable effort.

Rakuten Marketing’s latest report details the strengths and preferences of over 1,000 marketers from the US, UK, France, Germany and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions, and blasts through this myth to establish four distinct modern marketer profiles, each with specific skill sets.

Advancers, Advocates, Adapters and Architects

When you look at the data breakdown, it’s no surprise that Advancers and Advocates dominate the marketer population today (81%). With the infinite advent of new technologies and channels, and the personal relationship expectations of consumers, marketing has moved from a profession to a lifestyle.

It demands creativity, tech passion and understanding, and influencer skills like never before, which might go some way to explaining why Generation Y and Z represent a significant proportion of these marketer profiles.

However, the disciplined, data-focused skills of Adapters and Architects are equally vital. These marketers are the champions of efficacy, whether optimising technology and channels, legislative opportunities or budgets.

With GDPR on the horizon and budget waste estimated at 26% this year, this less-represented group (19%) has a major role to play in the short and long-term success of marketing strategies and tactics. It might provide some comfort that Generation X sits at the helm of this group, bringing experienced hands to bear on these prevailing challenges.

All for one, one for all

Like any strategic business function, marketing needs the right balance of complementary team skills and abilities to succeed and secure a competitive advantage. The smartest organisations also encourage and find ways to capitalise on individual employee strengths.

Picture this: If you had a natural networker on your team, who wasn’t as adept at data analysis, which of the two skills would they be likely to enjoy the most and get a result from? If they gave equal weighting to both activities they’d limit their potential results because they wouldn’t be devoting their time to what they do best. But if they focused their energy on networking and had the support of a data hot shot on the team to deliver that component, they’d likely increase their contribution and success stakes considerably.

From the perspective of an enlightened employer, everybody wins. With everyone doing a lot of what they do well as part of an integrated team, the success rate inevitably increases, giving the marketing organisation its best shot at meeting and exceeding targets.

For marketing organisations, these four marketer profiles offer a simple and easy way to identify their current team mix and new-hire needs, so they can ensure the right balance and strengths-based approach that makes for an industry-winning team.