The Topline

Marketing, as a craft, has been practiced since antiquity and has been constantly evolving ever since. Whenever there were big disruptions impacting people’s lives (e.g., new technologies like television), new scientific discoveries (e.g., a new understanding of neurology) or dramatic cultural shifts (e.g., the civil rights movement), they had a profound impact on marketing. In such times, marketing itself would undergo a real paradigm shift. 

So far, marketing has had four distinct paradigms. We are now at the verge of entering a new paradigm where we are going to witness an unprecedented level of disruption, imminently. As a result, we need to entirely reframe and reimagine marketing — that new approach is Quantum Marketing. 

 In this fifth paradigm, many of the existing marketing theories, concepts and strategies will be totally upended. Successfully navigating this highly complex, emerging landscape will require talent that is versatile, multidimensional and capable of operating from both sides of the brain. Talent is going to make or break it for companies, and if marketers want to succeed, they need to find people who think like Leonardo da Vinci.

What That Means For Marketers

Traditionally, marketers specialized in specific verticals: there were brand marketers, performance marketers, marketing process managers, marketing innovators, and so on. The era of these siloed and “expert” marketers is rapidly coming to an end. The role of marketing itself within companies is ever-changing, and as the industry grows ever more complex, being multi-talented, versatile and agile will be paramount. Marketers will be at the epicenter of it all, trying to connect the dots across various areas within and outside marketing, while bringing their company’s mission and growth objectives to life. Doing that well requires an entirely elevated set of skills.

 Let’s see what that that means:

● Marketers need to acquire a deep understanding of new technologies in order to be able to gauge the impact of and enablement for marketing. In a world where everything is powered by these new technologies and a lot of jargon keeps floating around, they need to be able to both ask the right questions and discern the right answers from the fluff. They need to comfortably and effectively leverage the power of these new technologies.

● Marketers need to understand finance, particularly in the context of their business. They should be able to connect the dots between the marketing activities and the corresponding business outcomes. 

● Marketers need to understand data analytics and be able to walk the fine line between leveraging those powerful capabilities while totally respecting consumer privacy.

● Marketers need to understand communications & public relations because they are no longer separate fields, but are one continuum.

● Many marketing teams have great existing talent who bring a valuable perspective and insight. Marketing leaders must invest a lot to ensure this talent receives adequate training to upgrade their skills.

● CMOs need to set an example from the top of the house. They need to be on a learning journey to keep themselves up to date while also doing everything in their power to facilitate, enable, and catalyze the learning journey of their teams.

 Long Story Short:

The future marketers will be general managers with a deep understanding of marketing as opposed to being marketing specialists. Literally, marketers need to be like Leonardo da Vinci! 

 Talent is our most precious resource. It is critical that we ensure the next generation of marketers have the requisite skills to compete, succeed and thrive in the fifth paradigm. That requires rethinking how we find and train talent.

 In my next article, I will dive into precisely how I think marketing leaders can put this all together. If you have any thoughts of your own on this topic, please add them below.

 If you’re interested in a deeper dive on why we need to reset the mission of marketing, I wrote a full chapter on the topic in my WSJ best-selling book, “Quantum Marketing.”