Well, spring has sprung for much of the country. The giant metaphorical puzzle known as "Mad Men" is back on TV, I'm putting off watching the last two episodes of "House of Cards" because I don't want it to end, and we've got the first quarter sales results under our belt. How did you or your company do?
On the job front, Monster says that 2013 should be bright for marketing jobs. By all accounts, we should be well done with the "what's coming in 2013" articles. But I say it's time to throw tradition a curve ball by discussing the hot job front. Am I early? Late? Make no mistake -- the time for these roles on the front of digital marketing is now.
These are five hot and emerging roles you'll want to learn more about, whether you're a recent graduate tracking down that first job, a young professional anxious to prove your mettle, or a seasoned industry veteran determined to remain relevant.
Digital analytics specialist
Part research rat, part numbers geek with a hefty allotment of computer science nerdery, the digital analytics specialist might become the hub of marketing as the knowledge holder of market intelligence. Perhaps the evolution of the Web Analytics Association to the Digital Analytics Association in early 2012 is one of the best indicators that rapidly multiplying digital data streams necessitate occupational specialization, education, and support.
Think about it: The marketing manager can't stay current with her analytics training, thanks to the headspin-inducing advancements and customizations delivered by products like Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture Site Catalyst. It might have been acceptable to bolt-on web analytics to a mainstream marketing job function six or seven years ago, but with the rising importance of targeting and relevancy (not to mention results), companies really need someone whose full-time job is to track down opportunity and feed information and insight to other functional marketing roles so they might optimize customer communication and brand touches.
Job openings I've seen for digital analytics specialists require experience in database marketing, direct marketing, and computer science. Companies are looking for candidates with experience in web analytics and metrics reporting tools, marketing automation tools and techniques, database analysis, social analytics platforms, and statistical modeling. It helps to be a strategic thinker, have a creative and curious nature, and have a high degree of technical aptitude.
Outreach and community manager
Any project management professional will tell you that key behind meeting expectations -- of customers, internal stakeholders, or external influencers -- is a steady and reciprocal flow of information and communication. Key to the outreach and community manager role is the management of information flow and the tactical processing of the ensuing tasks that follow interaction. This individual is one of the "point" persons for the brand and, as such, has a hand in prioritizing strategic opportunities across the business.
You might be scratching your head right about now. "Is Robert talking about a social media community manager?" Indeed, the two share some objectives and responsibilities. But this new evolution (as I see it) blends in a bit more big-picture project management functionality and plays a supporting role in meeting long-term sales and brand marketing objectives. The outreach and community manager draws on diplomacy, relationship-building, and problem-solving strengths while he or she proactively liaises with a company's publics, including media and trade members, clients, and sales prospects, to sustain positive visibility.
But wait. Are we now talking about a public relations specialist? Not entirely. But the PR department, just like the sales and customer service departments and marketing personnel, should have running dialogue with the outreach and community manager -- an amalgamation of communications expert, customer relations specialist, facilitator, and PR pro. Institutions like the University of San Diego, Mass Energy Consumer Alliance, and Ameritas College each have variants of this title on staff.
With a focus on fostering and maintaining open communication through education, support, and exploration, the outreach and community manager might play a vital role in an integrated marketing campaign, lead a customer satisfaction discovery initiative, or coordinate communications with key accounts regarding a new product release or introduction. We will likely see this role mirror data gathered by social media education company Social Fresh regarding pure-play community managers. If so, expect to see more women with 5-plus years marketing experience hold the outreach and community manager role and earn around $62,000 annually. That salary should rise as more companies adopt the role.
Chief customer officer
I write a lot about the power of storytelling -- ways brands can creatively enmesh customers in the brand's history, its present, and its intended future to evoke an authentic emotional attachment. The art of sharing the brand story is the privilege and responsibility of all employees, with their actions essentially elevating them to ambassador status among their own circles of peers, friends, and family. Clever corporate communications and PR folk cultivate quotes, testimonials, and experiences from both internal and external audiences as strategy pillars to support the dynamic story of the brand.
Presumably you're in business to impact people's lives in some way. Your product or service is a big time-saver, satisfies needs for security (you've paid attention to Maslow, right?), or makes annoying or tedious tasks easy. In the past, you might have relied predominantly on a mix of advertising, marketing, and lead development techniques to keep production humming.
But the jarring power shift between sellers and buyers likely changed all that. A plethora of choices and self-empowerment shook consumer confidence in businesses and the degree to which claims are trusted. The importance of story -- something brand and consumer could conjointly own and perpetuate -- grew exponentially. But even the best stories must be grounded.
Enter the chief customer officer, an executive whose job is to ensure the public story is mirrored in practical, real-world customer experience. Forget fast claims and lip service that fool few. Consultant and coach Jeanne Bliss, author of "Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action" and former CCO for brands like Lands' End and Mazda, extols that "memory creation is the currency of your brand...know what memory you want customers to have and make the decisions to prepare your people and your operation to deliver it." In other words, your brand has a chance to make a significant mark in the minds of its customers. Story is an important part of the indelible memory, balanced by one's actual experience. The chief customer officer's job is to make sure the memory is sustained across channels and media to maintain favorable brand associations.
Technology companies like Radian6/Salesforce.com and SAP, retail chains like True Value and Pep Boys, and CPG brands like Hillshire all emphasize the importance of customer experience to their organizations with CCO positions on the organizational chart.
Chief marketing technologist
The time-starved nature of our lives today can be seen in the way more companies are conducting their marketing. Originally implemented in manufacturing and, more recently, software development processes, all types of companies are experimenting with, adopting, and adapting their own iteration of lean or agile marketing approaches. Why? Simply put, the window to launch -- to connect with customers at critical points in the decision journey -- keeps lowering. Efficiencies have to be made in marketing operations, lest we miss opening.
Scott Brinker, co-founder and chief technology officer for ion interactive, writes extensively about the ways smart marketing organizations are evolving to recognize the increasingly dominant role technology plays in enabling and fueling strategy and communications. Perhaps his prescient post from 2010 titled "Rise of the Marketing Technologist" spotlights the opportunity best: "Marketing technology isn't just software you buy -- it's also software you create. Web applications, widgets, Facebook and iPhone apps, Android apps, interactive ads, the semantic web, and even the connected features of your products are now part of marketing's realm."
Brinker goes on to state that marketing is getting harder, thanks to the growing number of technology decisions marketers must now struggle with. We have more decisions to make -- and more consequences to face.
Brinker sees -- and I agree -- the chief marketing technologist as the lead decision-maker where technology decisions and marketing strategy become intertwined. Armed with the marketing vision, technical experience, and overarching business knowledge, the CMT brings together strengths from the three areas critical to leading digital marketing. The tools at the CMT's disposal to help "accelerate the operational tempo of marketing" include agile marketing methodologies. Expect to see more CMT positions and requirements for agile-trained marketers in the years ahead.
Digital media planner and buyer
We can't really talk about career opportunities in the digital marketing field without taking a look at what's happening with social media and the mobile market.
Some interesting news from BIA/Kelsey sets the tone. The firm, which advises companies in the media industry, forecasts that advertising revenues for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will reach $11 billion by the year 2017. The company also reports that mobile local ad revenues will reach $9.1 billion the same year.
But what trends will lead to the significant ad revenue increase? Well, you probably have the answer in your pocket or hand or on the console beside you: your mobile phone and the myriad ways it facilitates your life and your interests. "Social networks are evolving their ad products and features to improve performance," said Jed Williams, director of consulting and senior analyst for BIA/Kelsey. "Native social formats, including video and mobile-social advertising, will be the principal market growth drivers."
We knew the demand for app developers was huge, but until now it's likely few of us non-devs really understood the career opportunities created by the social marketplace and our hunger for location-specific ease, at least from an advertising perspective. While the traditional media planner of yesteryear is somewhat of a one-person department (or even merely a name on a list of approved outsource vendors), the digital media planner and buyer might be part of a department in the making.
The Adobe Systems Digital Index report indicates that video consumption in 2012 increased 300 percent, driven by mobile devices and social sites. A 2012 report by Nielsen underscores the influential power of video in stating that 36 percent of respondents trust online video advertisements. When you think about pre-roll ad impressions and post-video messaging in context with consumption -- a behavior that's likely only to increase, given our content-hungry ways -- you start to see the wide-open country before you.
Interested in getting a toehold in this hot market? Visit the GoMo News site for a list of agencies specializing in mobile advertising and marketing. Stalwarts of the advertising field like Carat, Ogilvy, Publicis, and WPP Group boast their own mobile-focused boutiques.
There you have it -- five hot and emerging jobs bubbling up in the career pool today. If I were to explore a sixth, I'd proselytize that boning up on your writing, grammar, and storytelling skills would be rewarded, what with all that content being planned and produced. Call it a marketing storyteller -- or a story manager. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. And, "House of Cards" is calling.
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