Great marketing is not hard to define:  great marketing matters. It is helpful and relevant. It is engaging. Great marketing is about recognizing customer need and increasing brand value, not company interests.

That maxim has never been more true in our digital era. Although most agree that a customer-centric mindset is the foundation for all modern marketing success, truly customer centric marketing remains elusive. Only one in five organizations (22%) even have a customer experience management strategy (Source: Econsultancy's Customer Experience Management report).

I wrote about the need for a "modern" way of working here in part one of this series about applying the Econsultancy Modern Marketing Model (M3) to your business.

The M3 "wheel" shows 10 key areas of competency for every modern marketer. Does every person need to be an expert in all ten? No. Most marketers will be an expert in only one or two of the elements. However, all marketers must have a working knowledge of every element, as well as specializing in one particular channel or process or skillset.  Sometimes, the area of specialty is "strategy" or "brand" or "product." As we say:

Not all specialists are modern marketers, but all modern marketers have a specialty.

What skills do modern marketers need?

Econsultancy's M3 model has 10 elements - from marketing strategy to customer insights to integrated marketing communications (N.B. You can dive deep into all 10 through our new Fast Track to Modern Marketing online training course.) Most marketers have strong skills in their specialty areas - social or analytics or UX. But the five skills below are what I consider to be modern marketing essentials - the skills every marketer needs to perform in a truly customer-centric manner:  . 

1. Customer journey mapping

All marketers must fully understand their customers to create a compelling experience. Customer journey mapping, voice of the customer analysis or customer decision analytics can all be paths to the same essential set of information: 

  • What is the customer buying journey that connects buyers to your products?
  • What parts of that journey do you need to influence to drive business outcomes?
  • Which marketing channels align to those parts of the journey for your audience?

2. Integration of experience

Since buying journeys happen across digital and offline experiences,  modern marketers create experiences that address the "whole person" of the customer. Modern marketers must know how one channel impacts another, and how people move between devices, channels and branded experiences.

This might include both or either of integrated marketing (planned, consistent promotions/messaging across channels) or omnichannel marketing (seamless buying experience across channels).

3. Attribution-based allocation

Modern marketing is always multi-channel. Thus, attribution modeling is an imperative. We must know what actually works. That is only half the strategic battle, however. We then must know how to allocate marketing spend to optimize customer experience and conversions. Using attribution to allocate spending helps ensure that marketing activity creates customer value. 

4. Search optimization

Every modern marketer must know the impact of their content and campaign activity on SEO. Search – both on site and via search engine – is the primary source of knowledge about customer intent. All marketers must structure campaigns around the impact they have on website and search optimization. It's the single most powerful way to stay connected to what customers actually need – not just what we think (or hope) they may need.

5. Goal setting

Notice this isn't "strategy." Not every modern marketer is good, or needs to be good, at setting effective strategy. However, every marketer needs to be good at effective goal setting. These are goals that are directly tied to business outcomes, with SMART metrics. In modern marketing, almost no goal is channel specific although channel goals – like clickthrough rate in email or cost per click in PPC – are important "step" goals that ladder up to business outcomes (like sales or conversions).

When all marketing activity is properly aligned and measured to business outcomes, then everyone will move toward a consistent vision. 

What modern marketing skill would you add to this list?

Have you created an operating model and the encouragement necessary for marketers to perform in a modern manner? Econsultancy is now in market with a new Modern Marketing Skills Assessment – one of the ways we help our clients understand the status and current gaps in team member knowledge.

Meanwhile, take a look at our M3 overview and use it to discuss your current approaches. We'd love to hear what questions and ideas it prompts for you and the team.

This is part two of two on applying the Econsultancy Modern Marketing Model to your business. Read part one here. #ModernMarketing 

Stephanie Miller

Published 5 June, 2018 by Stephanie Miller @ Econsultancy

Stephanie is Managing Director at Econsultancy in New York. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

Tom Young

Tom Young, Digital Marketing Lead at Just RetirementEnterprise

Analysing data.

Using data to drive marketing decisions - it is the data that should decide which goals to set, which channels to pursue and see how SEO strategies are performing.

For me, being a whizz on analytics is key and perhaps the most important skill for a marketer.

2 months ago


Peter Altschuler, Creative Director at Wordsworth & Company LLC

Data alone is potentially misleading. It's not so much the analysis -- any quant can parse information and issue a report -- it's the analysis... in context. That's one of the areas where humans (still) can spot anomalies, hints of emerging trends, missing information, and the like to determine what the data really mean. For really deep discovery, AI and fuzzy logic can mine relationships that no one monitored or looked for because nobody suspected they were there.

2 months ago

Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller, Managing Director at EconsultancyStaff

@Tom - I agree! I think you can't do any of these five things unless you are adept at drawing insights out of data. What level of analytics skills do you think is necessary for ALL marketers - as opposed to people who do analytics?

2 months ago

Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller, Managing Director at EconsultancyStaff

@Peter - agree! Thanks for the good input. I also think that humans need to be pretty good at reading reports - which many marketers ignore (for lack of time? lack of interest? lack of understanding?).

2 months ago


Peter Altschuler, Creative Director at Wordsworth & Company LLC

@Stephanie - There's a difference between reading and comprehension (check with any English teacher). I can read Russian, but I can't understand most of it. And even if I could, I'd need a grasp of idioms to get the real meaning. In Italian, an April Fool's joke is "un pesce d'abrile" (a fish of April), and the French don't say "You have bats in your belfry" to indicate they think you're nuts. They say, "Vous avez des araignées aux plafond" (You have spiders on the ceiling). Reports, likewise, require understanding what's behind the numbers, what the numbers measure, and what they don't. It's in that idiomatic understanding that the real insights emerge. And if marketers don't have the time for that, there's useful work they can do in the shipping department.

2 months ago

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