The marketing landscape is transforming rapidly and profoundly. To keep pace, today’s successful marketing teams should include members with varied skill sets in data and analytics, as well as creatives who can weave their magic across print, broadcast, online, and mobile, and work alongside digital and customer-engagement specialists.
In essence, this is what a 2014 Harvard Business Review article referred to as the “marketing orchestrator model,” which identified the various areas of expertise required to establish a full-service marketing capability–18 in one organisation.
Authors Marc de Swaan Arons, Frank van den Driest, and Keith Weed noted that the role of the chief marketing officer is increasingly about building a flexible, diversified, and well-trained internal team that can work with external partners to access specialist skills, “balancing the mix of think, do, and feel capabilities in accordance with the team’s mission.”
That’s certainly the reality for Dave Sayer, chief operations and talent officer for advertising, marketing, and public relations at agency Ogilvy Australia. Sayer is charged with building the skills to support the firm’s diverse client requirements. While Ogilvy has specialist groups focused on, for example, search-engine optimisation or social media, everyone in the organisation is expected to have broad knowledge of different marketing techniques.
“When we are hiring for a specific role, for example, digital media, we look for that specialty in the market or in graduates,” Sayer said. “In client services, we look for people with broad knowledge. We are hiring digital natives anyway who were brought up in the digital world.”
According to Sayer, the more diverse the background and experience of staff, the richer the mixture of skills, experience, and knowledge available to clients.
Ogilvy Australia recently sought out people with data and behavioural science skills. “These are critical areas of understanding and are key to unlocking our clients’ marketing challenges,” Sayer said. “To not have these skills and knowledge in-house is to put at risk your relevance as a modern-day communications and marketing solutions agency.”
Specialist Yet Flexible
Like Sayer, Srikanth Pinninti, vice president of marketing for Indian online retailer Myntra, is responsible for building a team with diverse cultures and talent.
“While we hire traditional marketing talent from prominent business schools, we are also seeing the need to hire from diverse segments,” Pinninti said. “Going forward, we will look to hire candidates from different disciplines, like consumer psychology, [and] people with pure social or digital careers among other competencies. We will also build differentiated capabilities in our partner ecosystem.”
While Pinninti wants more specialist skills, he is also mindful of the need for every member of the team–no matter the discipline–to be flexible, willing to learn new skills, and able to handle “unstructured situations” given the pace and unpredictability of change. Pinninti said he makes a substantial investment in constantly training staff, as does Ogilvy, though Sayer stressed it is up to employees to take control of his individual development.
The HBR authors suggested that organisations most effective in building strong and resilient marketing teams establish internal marketing academies to train staff. They recommend staff be offered at least two days a year of targeted training delivered by external organisations.
Keep Creativity Close
Amid the race to embrace new disciplines in the marketing mix, Stephanie Tully, Qantas chief marketing officer and executive manager of group brand and marketing, sounded a note of caution. Organisations should not overlook the perennial need for creativity, she said.
“The new generation is obsessed with maths,” Tully said. “I strongly believe we are a bit too math-minded. We need great creative, and at the moment there is too much talk about how we reach consumers and not enough about the great creatives.”
The beauty of data? “It is not just about the output but the input to shape the creative thinking,” she said.