Marketers, you are more than marketers! The boundaries of marketing are expanding far beyond the traditional definition of marketing. Modern marketers are embracing new skills. I believe we need to think like Growth Hackers, Strategists, and Content experts.
1. Growth Hackers: Growth hacking can be defined as a marketing skill, a job title, a trend, and a mindset. The principle of Growth Hacking (a.k.a. Lean Marketing for startups) is to run tests on small populations and limited in time. By learning from theses tests and adapting quickly, you can invest in proven and profitable tactics. Growth hacking reaches beyond the field of marketing into SEO, User Experience, and development. It is a very interesting extension of the field of marketing as it is a combination of marketing and engineering. More interestingly, marketing and engineering are often considered as “oil and water”, so it is particularly impressive to see how both fields are learning to learn from each other to create new pathways to success. Modern marketers think like Growth Hackers in a context of limited resources and information overload. Like Growth hackers, modern marketers put data first and engrain testing and learning in the core of their marketing campaigns. We actually see a lot of marketing consultants in the San Francisco Bay Area “rebranding” themselves as “Growth Hackers”. Well, it makes a lot of sense, if we consider it as a new marketing skill in which a lot of small to mid-sized companies see the most value. But not only small companies: I was personally at an event recently at Facebook, hosted by Brian Hale, Director of Growth Hacking there. It’s very interesting to see that Facebook created a “Growth Hacking” department and is investing a lot of time and brain power into this field, instead of growing a traditional marketing department. This is quite strategic for the company, and not surprisingly, Facebook even had attendees sign an NDA prior to the event.
“Growth hacking appeals to the right brain-leaning engineer set. It’s less creative (in the artistic sense) but it makes up for it by being flexible, scalable and efficient. So now you’re seeing tons of people gravitate towards that style of marketing because it’s what the founders of up and coming companies want.”
Ryan Holiday, Why All Marketers Should Be Growth Hackers, Forbes.com
2. Strategist: Marketing driven companies understand that marketers have a strong strategic mindset to plan for the future, while executing on today’s marketing campaigns. It is actually quite difficult to combine both “urgency” and “strategy”. Most marketers in small to mid-size companies are stuck in execution and short-term issues at hand. Marketers have a lot to think already with what’s already on their plate. Moreover, we tend to confuse strategy with reporting. It is not because we have nice-looking dashboards that we have a great strategy. It is vital of a marketing skill to create the space and take the time to understand figures and project yourself in the future. Modern marketers have the ability to toggle to a 10 000-feet view to identify how a particular tactic is playing in their overall company strategy. A great way to get better at this is to use the Covey Quadrant that was popularized by Stephen Covey in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. To me, modern marketers know how to focus on “Quadrant 2”: What’s not urgent, but important. Most of us are stuck in quadrants 1 and 3, whereas quadrant 2 focuses on improving processes. It is the key to thinking long-term and strategically. A lot of times we associate things that have a sense of urgency as important, but that is not the case. For example, marketers definitely focus on the next product launch, that is both “urgent” and “important” (quadrant 1), but not on their brand’s vision and mission, that are oftentimes yet to be defined. Defining the brand vision and mission is not urgent, but it is critically important.
3. Content Generation: Content is king in the era of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), Saas, self-service offers, and social media. You know that. But there is a difference between good content, good content in the right context, and good content in the right context with the right amount of promotion. Producing content that converts is an invaluable modern marketing skill. However, I found that marketers often spend 9 hours writing a paper and 1 hour promoting it. Modern marketers spend as much time writing content than promoting it on the right marketing channels. Jay Baer, speaker and founder of the blog Convince and Convert claims that good content is content so useful that people would be willing to pay for it if they had to. I invite you to watch this interesting video from Jay explaining this concept and giving a few useful examples.