The Many Faces of Marketing

It should come as no surprise that the field of marketing attracts students from all backgrounds. As a liberal arts English major myself, I preach about the importance of a diverse and well-rounded education strengthened by “real-world” experience.

Recently, I was challenged by an industrial design major to explain the role of engineers in marketing. Interesting. I accept your challenge, and I raise you…

As the emergence of new technology (virtual reality, smart watches, etc.) forces constant change in marketing practice, and the evolution of current technology makes marketers reimagine new ways to reach audiences, the role of marketing itself is opening doors to new roles faster than ever.

Today, agencies must challenge themselves to employ professionals outside the traditional “creative” role to keep up with the demands of our clients’ target audiences. Consumers and decision-makers are not settling for familiar, traditional and basic digital advertising. Marketers have a responsibility to be more creative, more relevant and more inviting. And that comes in many different forms.

Today, it’s commonplace for marketers to hire contributors with financial backgrounds — thanks to the growing need to understand big data and apply the resulting insights to marketing strategies. Software engineers, such as those on Domtar’s Learning Curve* campaign, are now sitting next to art directors at “the table” to help build apps that drive engagement, brand affinity and, ultimately, increased revenues.

But it’s what’s on the cusp that is going to define the future of marketing: marketing doesn’t only give to industry, industries are giving back to marketing.

Intel is using anthropologists and social scientists to define opportunities to infuse customer insights in marketing strategy. IBM is hiring industrial designers to physically build advertising spots in major “smart” cities. Hello Flo and sociologists are defining new standards of conversation. Toyota solicits architects to design treehouses for commercials. Red Nose Day partnered with Judd Apatow, an award-winning filmmaker, to tell its story. Nike is using mechanical engineers to set new national wellness standards. Audi consults with industrial engineers to make the most advanced in-car safety and entertainment features come to life in advertising.

The common thread: all these roles are fighting to understand — and keep up with — the constantly changing needs and preferences of consumers.

If we are to keep our clients happy and engaged and their audiences coming back for more, we need to start employing these roles more frequently.

Marketing is the jack of all trades. It’s the melting pot of industry professionals, where each can make a significant, valuable contribution to our clients’ challenges. We owe it to our clients. We owe it to consumers.

*Domtar is an EMA client