Inside a marketer’s brain: Speed to market, but destination unknown?

"The age of the CMO has ended. Today we are a jack of all trades: Data analyst, culture ambassador, chief data officer, chief digital officer, chief experience officer, and visionaire," says Head of Marketing and Comms, Marion Englert.

Marion Englert, Head of Marketing and Communication, Continental General Trading Group
Marion Englert, Head of Marketing and Communication, Continental General Trading Group

Now, even more than ever before, the job of a marketer is critical to the success of a business. But as a seasoned marketer and communications professional, today’s landscape can make you feel like you’re extinct, a dinosaur.

It feels like being on a rocket ship – destination unknown. We’re always on!

It has almost become the norm to be flying blind at times, as we navigate unchartered waters. We’ve come from being the creatives of a company to juggle more complex data, and find the need to invest in ongoing education to keep pace.

An identity crisis within marketing?

With advanced technology and a world that is moving at lightning speed we’re having an identity crisis. Who are we? A CMO? No, these times are long gone. Today (more than ever) we are a jack of all trades: Data analyst, culture ambassador, chief data officer, chief digital officer, chief experience officer, and visionaire.

The need to define a clear and inspiring future journey for your company based on innovation and transformation is more important than shiny ads or campaigns. Not forgetting that we’re also risk Managers.

We must take more (calculated?) risks than ever before to drive innovation and stay competitive in a market that is not only driven by our customers’ changing needs, globally accessible information and new technology.

To align a customer’s journey with business strategies is and always has been a core of our job roles but it’s gotten more complex and unpredictable.

User journeys change fast, Google and social networks change their algorithms and platform functionally almost daily, lines are blurred between brand awareness, performance marketing and ultimately quality leads and sales.

For our colleagues and superiors who have previously had a hard time trying to understand what we’re doing in our departments, it’s only gotten worse. Nobody can really grab what we actually do and to be honest – being a dinosaur in our fields, sometimes even we don’t.

We’re active across so many different fields now trying to be the master of puppets in all ways. Dynamic skills are required and that requires continuous learning and adapting our skills.

Staying relevant in an age of GenAI and GenZ

Also, if you hit a certain age in our profession, it sometimes feels like you’re detached from the new ways of working. Bridging the gap between generations and experience is crucial.

Recently, we heard that 64 per cent of the Gen Alpha would rather be an Influencer or YouTube star than the president of their country (3 out of 9 global YouTube channels are run by Gen Alpha kids). We also heard that 73 per cent of 8-11-year-olds play video games most of their days and that one third of them hang out with their friends only online.

#GenAI is growing at unprecedented rates – ChatGPT reached 100 million users in only two months in comparison to Google Translate in 6.5 years.

Speed to market matters like never before. The biggest pressure to stay on top in this digital, extremely fast paced world is data, data and more data – clean and easy to use. But the lack of control over data and ownership of data management is adding another challenge.

Today’s marketing environment is relentless – advanced technologies, shifting consumer behaviors, and an overall disruptive market requires constantly growing your skill set. Forget about your decades of experience, you must be vigilant all the time. Experience does not pay the bill anymore.

On top of all the above, being out and about networking is key. The importance of active networking should never be underestimated to maintain a robust brand. To juggle and balance your daily workload with the necessary training, attending industry events and keeping track in this fast-paced environment is paramount.

Key struggles

  • AI tools ever evolving landscape
  • Tighter budgets
  • Explaining Marketing’s contribution to the business leaders – metrics to measure success can be difficult especially when it comes to campaigns that focus on brand visibility, awareness and engagement rather than solely on driving sales.
  • Training your team to be on top of the game
  • Constantly testing new channels and walk on unknown territory
  • Leads and data, data and leads
  • Getting customers attention in a fast-paced digital environment

Key learnings and takeaways

Embrace change, stay on top of the ever-evolving technology landscape, be open and curious and keep your network going to learn from your peers, the industry and emerging trends and tools.

By Marion Englert, Head of Marketing & Communication, Continental General Trading Group LLC FZ, Dubai