Moulding the Modern Marketer: 5 Tips On Building the Right Marketing Team From Kevin O’Rourke

Updated: April 7, 2021

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Moulding the Perfect Modern MarketerIn a study conducted by Forbes 62% of Millennials responded that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. The same study also revealed that 84% of Millennials say user generated content on company websites at least somewhat influences what they buy.

These shifts in the way audiences consume content means marketing departments have to adapt. The days of siloed marketing teams are coming to a close, and modern marketers have to start thinking about assembling teams that are agile and able to keep up with today’s “always on” media landscape.

This week we bring you more wisdom from industry thought leader Kevin O’Rourke, who has been in the content marketing trenches, figuring out what it means to be a “modern marketer” in this new media landscape. O’Rourke is a pro at “creating curiosity” and spent his career building and implementing award-winning digital and social media campaigns. His pragmatic approach to marketing as well as his ability to use technology to turn brands into conversation pieces and leverage the digital space has helped him transform brands “from non-players to bleeding edge.” His resume includes driving the fastest growing Facebook page in Canada and he has served as a speaker and panelist at a number of annual conferences, including ClickZ.

Below we’ve distilled O’Rourke’s responses into 5 tips for content marketers looking to mould the perfect marketing team in this ever-evolving advertising landscape:

1. A CMO’s secret weapon is human capital.

For O’Rourke, “software – and to some degree hardware – will always play a role in creating efficiencies, timelines, and integrations, specifically in those businesses with an e-commerce backbone.” However, he goes on to note that the real power lies in human capital- the people you hire with a keen sense of insight and the ability to interpret what the data is telling them. These people need to be fast, agile thinking, and able to plan for the moments that matter.

2. Modern marketers must merge art and science.

How do you define a modern marketer in today’s technological landscape? O’Rourke turns to Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint, who believes that “marketing is now, as it has always been, an art form. But the next generation of marketers understands it can be so much more. These innovators are rewriting what is possible when the art and science of marketing collide.”

O’Rourke also believes that modern marketers should change their approach to design advertising around customer moments, not brand moments. Marketers still largely plan against brand moments and milestones – one time events that are anchored to campaign flights and product launches rather than personal moments. “Finding these [personalized] moments across the entire consumer journey and putting them in the centre of your strategy” is key for O’Rourke. He believes that brands need to start thinking like publishers in this new media landscape, and create content that is optimized for conversation, rather than content optimized for broadcasting.

3. Marketing teams need to be agile and embrace change.

For O’Rourke, one of the biggest challenges facing marketers is managing the organization of their marketing teams. The days of one social media manager handling Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels are coming to a close as is the era of the one-person-content marketing team, explains O’Rourke. “Every department within a larger organization, even those that are typically not seen as great champions of the customer, must understand how they fit into the overall common purpose,” continues O’Rourke.

This need to reorganize and re-evaluate what constitutes the ‘marketing department’ is prompted by the challenges presented by changing customer behaviour. The customer journey has come a long way and is slightly more complicated, says O’Rourke. To keep up with our “always on” media landscape and consumers’ immunity to ads, companies need to create marketing teams that are willing to embrace curiosity, agility, experience design, and data analytics. This might mean completely re-thinking the organization of their marketing teams.

Six years ago companies and brands were clamouring to hire social media marketers, digital marketing managers, and business analysts, explains O’Rourke. However, within 5 years we will simply (and aptly) just start calling them marketing managers and marketing directors. Skills like customer insights, reading data, being social media-savvy, and digital acumen will be “table stakes” to the next generation of marketers. Higher up executives such as CMO’s and VPs of Marketing will need to be more involved with their IT, PR, and HR departments than they ever were with their CEO, CFO, and COO, says O’Rourke.

4. Marketing teams need to abandon old world metrics.

O’Rourke believes that marketers are largely unprepared to meet the increasing pressure to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their campaigns and connect every dollar spent to bottom-line results. For O’Rourke modern marketers need to shift the conversation around ROI metrics and redefine what constitutes a ‘return.’ Marketers need to find more new ways to measure effectiveness rather than falling back on old world metrics like reach or GRP equivalents. Modern marketers have to do more than just reorganize their team – they also have to shift the way they think about measuring marketing in general.

5. Read, write, publish, repeat.

When it comes to growing your personal brand, O’Rourke echoes the sentiments of Travis Wright and Jason Miller – “read more, write more, and publish more.” This strategy will not only help you become a better writer, but will also move your personal brand beyond the four walls of your office into the sphere of your colleagues and thought leaders. Once you’ve broken into this sphere, these thought leaders can then start including you in thought processes, social updates, and strategic meetings. For O’Rourke, making time to keep up with the latest trends is what truly drives personal brand growth.


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