Stuart Tucker, chief customer officer at hipages
In business, the only thing you can rely on is the fact that things will always change. This is particularly true in marketing, where the pace of change has never been faster. In this rapidly evolvingg climate, the opportunity cost that comes with not having the right marketer is substantial and can make the difference between a business hitting its growth goals or falling behind its competitors.
Marketing in 2021 includes traditional capabilities, such as brand strategy and communications planning, as well as newer practices like content planning, data strategy and channel attribution. As I reflect on my 30 plus years in marketing, the role and characteristics of a marketing professional today has evolved substantially. Here’s how I define the new marketer and what I look for in the marketing team at hipages.
1. Expert at partnering
Marketers never work alone and need to be experts at partnering. Marketing departments generally consist of specialist disciplines like content marketing, SEO/SEM, social, and PR, so collaboration is essential. Outside of the core team, there is also a need to collaborate with other areas of the business, such as Product, Data Science, Customer Service, Sales and Finance. Additionally, there are external partners for the development and delivery of creative and media. Too many times I’ve seen marketers treat their agencies with disrespect and that’s not the way to create great work! So, at any time a marketer could be managing 10+ partner relationships. At hipages, our team are constantly collaborating to reach KPIs and develop great work that grabs the attention of our target markets.
2. Great at creative
We all operate in an attention-deficit environment, so every marketer must understand how to develop great creative content. It’s becoming a ‘lost art’ as we chase hyper-targeted digital solutions, but a bad ad well targeted is still a bad ad. Too many marketers simply throw a problem to their agency, rather than developing insights and clear goals via a strong brief. It’s about creating an open environment where great work can flourish and there is the opportunity to think boldly and take a chance. You need to champion the work internally and avoid ‘creative by committee’. This takes courage by the marketer, but the alternative is vanilla creative that will simply not get noticed. It’s about big plays now that genuinely cut through - you won’t get there via incrementality.
3. Understands brand
Brand is everything. Unfortunately, it’s generally misunderstood. It’s the starting point for all consumer decisions, so it should be the first consideration for all marketers. And by brand, I don’t mean advertising. It’s how a company understands what makes them stand out from the pack - how they look, feel, speak, act and more. It’s about every touch point from the company delivering in unison. Having a clear brand point of view is key and every marketer should be able to articulate this view and understand how they contribute to brand strength.
4. Comfortable with change
Sometimes even the best planning can become unstuck. The ability to adapt to evolving conditions and still put forward the best work is critical. Issues will arise if the marketing team doesn’t recognise the need for real-time adjustments to keep the project rolling. Take the pandemic for example, in those first few weeks alone, marketers across the globe were forced to completely shift strategies and react to unforeseen challenges in a way that still capitalised on the opportunities available for their organisations. For the hipages business, we had to move fast as we saw demand for our tradie members soar over lockdown. We pivoted our marketing to focus on educating tradies on how to operate with customers in a COVID-Safe manner, as well as lobbying the government to class tradies as an essential service.
5. Commercially driven
Results are king in marketing, so it’s no longer tolerable for a marketer to not understand how they contribute to the bottom line. Marketers who are results-oriented will have better focus on the outcomes of their work rather than the process to create it. This means understanding the commercial drivers of the business and how marketing contributes to achieving these in the short term, medium term and long term. Over the last year, the hipages business has hit a number of milestones such as listing on the ASX and the marketing team has been critical to contributing to this success. More specifically, we’ve seen brand awareness increase from 27% (August 2018) to 56% (November 2020) as we put a concerted effort to invest in brand health and doubled down on our sponsorship agreement with The Block, at the same time as driving growth in other key metrics such as jobs posted to the marketplace and tradie acquisition.
6. Continually curious
It is no longer purely about 'making an ad’ and understanding the results months later. The industry is dynamic with new trends going viral, new platforms emerging, changing Google algorithms and social platforms constantly updating. To stay ahead of these changes, the new marketer must have a curious mindset and never be afraid to ask why. They must be able to apply critical thinking skills to solve any problems posed by these constant changes, and always keep the consumer front-of-mind. The expectations of consumers are always increasing, and it is key to stay along with them on that journey. For our team, this involves understanding both sides of the marketplace - our tradie members and their customers. A good result for us is not just traffic to the website, but an increase in jobs posted, tradie enquiries and app downloads.
Now more than ever, off the back of the pandemic, it is critical to make the right hires for your marketing team and find people who can drive forward your business with agility, creativity and a laser focus on results. If you can find these six qualities in a marketer, you will set your business up for the best chance of success.