As I’ve written about on my personal blog before, we’re in the midst of a revolution in the definition of marketing, how it’s organizationally staffed and structured, and its impact on reaching new and existing customers. I can still remember the look on my first boss’ face in the mid 90’s when I suggested we send our prospects a monthly newsletter via email. While I certainly didn’t invent the email blast, I’d like to think of myself as part of a breed of (mostly) Gen X kids trying to leverage technologies we had just been introduced to a few short years before in college. Little did I fully realize at the time how quickly and completely my chosen discipline would change, and what it would mean for my own career. Or that it might eventually lead to a new business venture some time later.
Fast forward more than twenty years from that moment. While the tectonic shift in marketing to digital has been (mostly) a positive one for those who have embraced it, it has also exposed major challenges. Tangential trends such as the rise of telecommuting have come to the forefront at a time in which marketing has become incredibly fragmented. Creative thinkers that typically dominate a marketing department have been on the front line of things like said telecommuting, or fractionalizing their time, making experienced F/T talent even more difficult to hire. And marketing has become so specialized, it’s not clear what expertise or tactics organizations should prioritize in the first place. Is a content marketing strategy the most critical, or is it lead generation? Is now the right time to focus on e-commerce versus more traditional channels? And who can help me make each of these potentially major decisions that isn’t already biased by a set of tools or software packages? The answer to the first three questions: It depends on who you are, what your brand stands for, and what needs to be a core competence versus what does not. The answer to the last question is what my partner and I hope to help address in our new venture.
The world does not need another marketing consultant, that much I’m pretty sure of. That said, the folks at MarTech Today recently released an infographic depicting the explosion of the marketing technology landscape over the past 6 years, from approximately 150 vendors in 2011, to more than 5,000 today. While the number of vendors is just one piece to the puzzle, it’s indicative of the specialization we’re seeing, and the challenge it poses on those leading today’s organizations. If the Four P’s of marketing aren’t collapsing under the weight of so many decisions and options to bear, they’re at least starting to wilt. This month we’re launching Traktion with one primary goal – to be a trusted partner to business leaders navigating a challenging digital environment, help them make the difficult big picture decisions, craft the strategy and execution plans to get there, figure out the most efficient way to resource, and then frankly, get the hell out of the way when it’s time. We look forward to the ride ahead – stay tuned.