2010 was a daunting time to graduate from college. Jobs were scarce. Pay was low, and the economy was crawling back from a volatile recession.
I graduated from Hampton University in Spring of 2010 with a degree in broadcast journalism and no job prospects. I’d interned in production and reporting at a number of small market broadcast affiliates but was not enthused about the grit of entry-level broadcast career life. The situation was dubious at best. The late Aretha Franklin sang it soulfully in the theme song for a classic show, but it was certainly a different world than where I came from and expected as a bright eyed graduate.
I needed a change, a course correction. After a long heart to heart with my school’s dean, Dr. Roz Whitaker-Heck, she introduced me to a guy who landed me an internship at Young & Rubicam Brands, and the rest is history. Today, I’m a brand strategist and marketing nerd among other things. I survived the job scare and have built a stable career thanks to a dean who cared and the world of marketing.
After a few years working as a junior communications consultant, I realized quickly that I would need to expand my skills to get the salary and work life balance I longed for. I needed a more senior role, and to differentiate myself, I needed to get on and in front of the innovation curve. What did innovation in marketing look like in 2013? It looked like big data and analytics. So with an interdisciplinary degree in Communications Culture and Technology from Georgetown University and Python training from General Assembly, I expanded my skill set from soft to technical, putting myself in a space where I could work on all sides of what was then the future state of marketing.
Now in 2018, automation and robotics have become the new standard in marketing, and mastery of the efficiency they enable continues to set the thought leaders a part from rest of the crowd. In 2018, you need automation, robotics and thought leadership to market effectively. Period. Here’s why:
Time is money. Automation saves it.
Time is literally money. Labor hours cost, and the same is true for marketing. Strategic planning, creative production and media/ad buys represent the cost of marketing. You spend enough launching tactics and campaigns. Why spend more of your budget setting up a campaign when technology do it for you inside and outside your organization?
Workforce automation tool, Workfront, boasts saving business an average of 10,000 hours of labor for tasks sharing spreadsheets and estimating resource availability. The value is is clear. Take email marketing for example. Think about how much time it would take manually deliver e-mail campaigns with a data-informed strategy. “Send e-mails to people who opened my e-mails before,” or “send e-mails to people who clicked my e-mails before”. Each of those projects could cost at least 4–8 hours of labor to execute effectively, but e-mail automation tools like Mailchimp and CRM tools like Hubspot can do that for you, saving you time and money while enabling you to do more high leverage things like optimize your campaigns with all of the data available to you.
Bots do not replace us. They make us better.
These days, brand marketing is all about the customer experience, and any organization looking to deliver a peak customer experience should have bots in their workforce. Why? Bots make us better.
As annoying as the robot voice on the other side of the customer service line may be at times, she’s helpful in ensuring you get where you need. Have you chatted with a brand online recently? You were more than likely chatting with a bot to a certain point. Remember, time is money, and saving your time is just as valuable to brands as saving labors hours.
There’s a debate on the value bots add to the economy and the harm the present to workers. The benefits of a bot enabled workforce are quickly realized, and in many cases, bots do procedural and process oriented work more efficiently than humans. For marketers, this should be more encouraging than it is ominous. Yes, bots will completely change the face of customer experience, but this affords marketers new opportunities to stand up activations that more deeply engage consumers and encourage more positive interactions.
Master the future? No. Think about how to do it? Yes.
In these rapidly changing times, no one knows what’s next. There’s always a new benchmark, standard or expectation. For brands and their marketers, positioning for the future can be risky and time consuming without many positive outcomes. Overall, success in this dynamic economy is more about your decision making approach than the outcomes. If you asked Jeff Bezos what Amazon’s business model was back in 1997, I’m sure it’d be starkly different from what they’ve realized today over 20 years later. Market success is about adaptability, not predictability, and simply thinking about the right way to approach the market can afford its own opportunities.
You may not be able to master the future, but you can think about it and tell others what you think. That’s thought leadership, and thought leadership affords many benefits in content marketing. Brands and marketers who can think about the future and its challenges for their consumers, define them and propose solutions are sprinting to the top of the public conscious, grabbing interest and potentially new consumers along the way.
The future isn’t far, but we need the knowledge to master it today.
Want to learn more about the new standard of marketing? Do you want to hear me give an hour long spiel about everything you just read along with case examples and career strategy recommendations based on my experience?
If the answer to both of these questions is, “Yes”, and you don’t mind coming to the wonderful city of Richmond, Virginia, then join me on December 4th for my lecture, “The New Marketing Standard” as a part of the Visiting Scholar Workshop Series at the historic Virginia Union University.
Feel free to reach to me via LinkedIn with questions.
See ya there!