Marketing has never been harder than it is today

There are more start-ups being launched than ever before, while at the same time there are more ways to reach an audience. As a result, consumers and companies alike are being bombarded with marketing messages…whether it’s in a social media newsfeed, in an email inbox, or through content marketing. Cutting through that noise has become really difficult.

At the same time, the marketing strategies have become more complicated to excel at, particularly for small start-ups with minimal resources. There’s always been an inherent tension in marketing: on one side, the creative, free-thinking, “sudden genius” that builds a brand over time, balanced by the data-driven approach that relies on metrics like conversion rates and methodical a/b testing. Like the Yin and Yang, one cannot exist without the other. But both camps have dramatically changed over the years – which makes today’s marketing so complicated.

First, on the creative side…

Consumers today expect to have a different relationship with brands and businesses than in decades before. Social media essentially gives consumers a megaphone and they expect a two-way dialogue. Perhaps more importantly, consumers are looking to connect with the human side of a business, and only want authentic stories and messages from their brands. All of this requires a new tool set: marketers need to dig deep to become authentic storytellers.

On the data-driven side…

Just a few years ago, metrics folks mainly focused on search engine marketing (including both paid and organic) – with the single mission of appearing higher in rankings and getting noticed in a search engine’s results. Today, there’s a whole new landscape. With social media, there’s an explosion of micro-targeting opportunities. For example, marketers can hone in on new moms of a certain age or married men who drink coffee and own a dog. Likewise, mobile has introduced a completely new distribution platform with a very different set of rules than traditional search engine marketing.

The bottom line

It’s difficult to find the right talent to fill both the creative and data-driven roles, much less to find the Yin and Yang in the same person. Few CMOs in large companies would consider themselves to be strong in both disciplines.

As story-telling and hard-core data-driven marketing become more important and more complicated, we are looking for founders that are great in both disciplines, or at least recognize that both camps are necessary to gain attention and relevance with today’s audience.

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