Change: the New Status Quo for Marketers

Whether you’ve been in the marketing field for one year or 20 years, you already know that the “stuff” that filled your day and kept you up at night even 12 months ago has changed. There is disruption everywhere and marketers are being called upon to serve multiple roles and lead change across organizations.

It was this very topic that brought marketers together to discuss (read: vent and lament) and unite at The Marketing Quarterly – RBA’s event series designed for marketing leaders of Minnesota. The series kicked off with an engaging discussion on the topic of managing change led by Kara Wallace, Director of Strategic Marketing for Minneapolis-based construction and real estate development company M.A. Mortenson.

Kara - TMQ

What follows are the top five biggest areas of change for corporate marketers today.It-is-not-the-strongest-nor-most-intelligent-804x1024

1. The Fast Pace of Change Is the New Normal. Kara opened by sharing the famous quote by Charles Darwin, which has become the rallying cry of marketers everywhere. “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Today, the amount, speed and constancy of change in marketing is no longer an exception that is saved for the “big strategic projects.” It’s our new way of life everyday. Modus Operandi.


2. Changing Roles. As marketers we were already expected to wear different hats, multiple times a day. One more hat that has been added to our wardrobe now centers on technology. Marketers have to be technology experts, managing multiple applications and platforms that we use to do our jobs. I had never actually counted, but today I tallied it up and discovered that our marketing department alone uses at least 14 different tech apps and platforms on a daily basis.

3. Content, Content, Content. Publishing content. Repurposing content. Gating content. Marketers are more than writers today, but recyclers and publishers of many forms of content that will reach the right audience at the right time with the right message.

4. Part Artist, Part Scientist. As marketers, we still need to have the skills to write, create and execute effective media and visual assets for marketing programs. But today, it’s so much more. Budgets are shrinking and you better be able to track and quantify your marketing spend with data and metrics that show the results. Thus, you’re tasked with being the writer/reporter, creative genius AND chief number cruncher in the room when it comes to marketing planning. “Whole brain thinking” is the way of today’s marketer.

5. Change Agent. With all of these changes in roles and technologies to support it, marketers are being asked to take the lead on cross-functional initiatives. Organizations continually realize the need to innovate processes, systems and, most importantly, employee mindsets. One attendee stated, “I can upgrade all of the technology I want, but, at the end of the day, what I really need is to upgrade the employee’s way of thinking about how they’ve done things the same way for years.” As technology consultants specializing in digital marketing, we couldn’t agree more.

Each of last week’s event attendees shared a particular challenge they are facing today as they navigate change within their organization – from gaining stakeholder support and collaborating among different work groups to how to be innovative in a mature industry.

As marketing leaders, we concluded that the rapid pace of change is not going away.  And, while we didn’t come up with the secret recipe for managing change with ease, we did agree that the discussion should continue! And it certainly will.

While Kara opened with the Darwin quote that was quite apropos’ for this topic, I shall close with another, equally as prophetic, by the legendary, Bob Dylan: “The times they are a-changin’.”

Marketers – are you ready?


View the entire presentation from The Marketing Quarterly here.