- Students pursuing careers in marketing lack a sturdy mathematical background that could help them better analyze and interpret the troves of consumer data companies are now putting a premium on, according to a new report by the ANA's Educational Foundation division shared with Marketing Dive.
- The research points to several other data-related challenges marketers face, including barriers preventing businesses from providing "real and contextualized data" for academic purposes. Many companies might resist sharing case studies that could impact their competitive advantage, for example, and clearing data to share can be difficult to begin with.
- A third highlighted challenge is that many upcoming marketers could have trouble meeting employers' demands to blend technical knowledge with "soft skills," like teamwork, writing and creativity.
Data-driven marketing has been an industry buzzword for years, but the sector continues to be disrupted as businesses deprecate traditional marketing roles to favor those centered on growth and technology. The ANA's latest report indicates that the next generation of marketers might still be ill-equipped to finesse the types of skills necessary to thrive in an environment where success is increasingly defined by hard numbers and an analytical mindset.
Across 150 interviews, the trade group surveyed a mix of business leaders, academic figures and students to glean its findings.
"This report clearly displays the urgency with which our industry must address this issue," ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a statement. "The use of data and analytics in marketing will only grow exponentially in the coming years, and it's essential that we develop the talent we will need to use those tools in the most cost-effective and productive manner possible."
Marketers falling behind the curve when it comes to qualitative capabilities is crystallized in the volatility that has recently rocked the CMO position, even at brands known for savvy marketing and innovation. This trend has negatively impacted areas like pay and influence over time.
The number of brands that reported their CMO was among the highest-paid in the executive suite plunged 35% from 1999 to 2017, while tech officers quickly climbed over that period, according to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review. Tech and information officers at the top corporate level today also far exceed the number of CMOs, the study found.
Per the ANA's report, aspiring marketers must internalize not only a stronger analytical toolkit, but also ways to meld those skills with the types of creative and collaborative capabilities the field is historically known for. Some major consumer brands are already accounting for the demand for a more hybrid model for marketing. For example, Coca-Cola late last year resinated the global CMO role roughly two years after retiring it to shift duties to a chief growth officer. The beverage giant's reinstated top marketer spot is now focused on better unifying marketing and operations.
The ANA provided some other recommendations for preparing the next marketing workforce to better realize the potential of a more data- and growth-oriented industry. For one, the group said that marketing and advertising's image must be updated from "just fun and creative" to illustrate its growing quantitative and analytical side. The ANA is running a "Best Jobs Ever" campaign that sheds light on the underplayed diversity of marketing jobs currently available.