There has been an amazing shift in marketing in the past 20 years.
Gone are the days of winning marketing with the biggest Yellow Pages ad and a name like AAA Plumbing that gets you on the first page. Now, marketing is incredibly complex. It’s no longer a creative-driven discipline; it’s a data-driven discipline.
Yet, despite this profound change in marketing, the approach of marketers has largely stayed the same. But to win at digital marketing, marketers need to start thinking like engineers. Need convincing? Here are four reasons why you need an engineering brain to succeed at digital marketing.
Engineers think differently
Engineers, at their core, are problem solvers. They anticipate needs and develop answers that resolve consumer and societal problems. They are motivated to help and design solutions that enable people to do what they otherwise couldn’t have done. They also create a robust framework that is built to last. Good marketers do the same.
Engineers bring simplicity out of complexity
What once was a very simple world now requires an intimate knowledge of multiple rapidly changing technology platforms. Marketing is no longer set and forget; it’s about engineering solutions that meet both the business and their clients’ needs and coordinating a team of specialists to roll out all of the necessary tasks.
Engineers take a systems theory approach
Systems Theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems and how they function independently and within a larger, more complex system. Marketers need to be able to take this approach to marketing.
They need to focus on the individual components (think content, social media and Google AdWords) and meticulously design, build and execute each system so it can fit together cohesively to ensure the overarching marketing system functions at an optimal level.
It’s time for a name change
Project management is at the core of great marketing. With so many moving parts and so many people involved, marketing needs a logical, systems brain to manage the whole process. Not only to achieve the desired results but to ensure nothing gets missed.
While specialists are an essential part of the marketing team, like anything, when people are working in silos or not ensuring the whole system is performing as well as one or two parts, the results are nowhere as good as they should or could be.
To perfect each part requires the completion of many different tasks. Let’s look at a piece of content, for example:
- The idea needs to come from the thought leader
- Then the right content strategy needs to be developed to determine the who, what, where, when and why
- Then it needs to be reviewed, customised and spruced up by a content marketer
- Then it needs to get appropriate imagery from a graphic designer
- Then it needs to be set up well on the website by the web administrator
- Then it needs to be posted and advertised on social media
- Then it needs to be optimised for organic search (SEO)
- Then it needs to be emailed out to the database
Marketing has become more science than art.
If we’re honest, marketing is becoming less about the creative and more about the science. While the creative element is still important, the majority of marketing is now about the collecting and tracking of data.
Marketers need to analyse the numbers, identify patterns, predict behaviour, capitalise on trends, and report results. All the while ensuring this data is captured in a meaningful way that helps the business continue to improve and optimise their marketing messages and efforts to reach the right people at the right time in the right way.
That’s why we believe engineers will soon make up the majority of senior marketing managers if they are not already.