The changing role of marketing

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the “mad men” days of old now come with a new, more complex technological twist: conventional knowledge, experience and skill are no longer enough.

Additional competencies in entrepreneurship, data analytics, business innovation, and uniquely human skills — such as creative thinking, persuasion and emotional intelligence — are required.

A recent LinkedIn article on “The skills companies need most in 2019” corroborates this by listing the likes of analytical reasoning, UX design, business analysis, digital marketing and competitive strategies among the top attributes that organisations are looking for, and struggling to find.

Marketers are now facing an onslaught of data, having to navigate the unpredictability of the ever-evolving digital sphere, along with the rise of AI and emerging tech. They also need to be able to interpret the data and make smart decisions; know what is needed to make the digital world work better for humans; manage the shift in power balance afforded by social media to consumers, where one tweet about a bad customer experience can result in a tornado; stay ahead of known and new competitors; and traverse the tricky landscape of initiatives that seem acceptable in a local context, but could cause outrage on a global scale.

Just think of the backlash when a recent H&M ad featured a black boy in a hoodie with the slogan “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. In Sweden, this phrase might have seemed cute, but elsewhere it appeared insensitive and offensive. Corrective action was swiftly taken by appointing Annie Wu as H&M’s first global leader embracing diversity and inclusiveness, emphasising once again the need for brands to be more conscious, responsive, customer-centric and adaptable.

Oracle’s article on The Marketer of the Future unpacks this evolution further: “The role of the marketer has been elevated to one that is focused on business outcomes. By connecting data, insights and experiences, leveraging on automation and intelligence tools, marketers are taking more direct ownership of the end-to-end customer journey and ensuring their brands and organisations stay relevant to their customers.”

As they point out, “Customers are changing, and they are expecting marketers to know them better and provide more relevant and contextual interactions.”

Marketers now need to focus on how the brand can support a customer’s journey across a proliferation of touch-points and experiences in a consistent, authentic way that builds trust and safeguards ongoing brand allegiance. And if this can be done in real time, even better!

According to a recent Forrester report: “88% of organisations agree that the role of the CMO has changed and will continue to change, and is becoming increasingly vital for the success of a business.”

This major shift, from internally-focused marketing to a more customer-centred approach, is why progressive institutions like The Red & Yellow Creative School of Business have introduced a BCom in Marketing degree focused on not only equipping students with the technical knowledge and conventional competencies, but also the interpersonal skills and understanding of non-linear, integrated methodologies such as design thinking as a means to find innovative solutions for this “new” reality.


Class sizes are limited to ensure a personalised, boutique-style learning experience. If this degree is a perfect fit for someone you know, please tell them to submit their application for 2020 well before the January 31 2020 deadline.

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