Change happens a lot in our industry. If you're not comfortable with it, you're probably not in the right place. Companies experiment with new roles and angles by which they can find an edge and better serve their clients. Some of these roles "take" and can explode into whole new industries themselves or can create new demand for the pioneers within the space.
Fifteen years ago, I look back on search engine optimization. Entrepreneurial spirits discovered that search engines drove sales, so they played around with their websites to find ways to make their sites rank better than competitors. After a while, there was incredible demand for people who'd figured out these tricks, and those people had command of their employment destiny. There is still today a fraternity among that small group that you see at conferences and on the speaking circuit; they fondly remember those days as they brush aside some now graying hair.
Social media took SEO's place with another group of early adopters who put their skills to work and now speak frequently on the topic. They built legions of believers and yielded a burst of activity across our industry. People jumped onto the bandwagon with fervor, and jobs for them exploded. Now that area of marketing has settled in, and we await what's next.
Across the board, companies and the employees within them are maturing -- some more than others, if you know what I mean -- and there are enough options for people in our industry to move around to find an environment that meets their needs. There are agencies, both broad and specialized, software companies, technology companies with consulting arms, and client-side, but on the other hand, there is also the option of taking specialized skills on the road as an independent consultant. However, the questions remain for employees, "Where is the opportunity now? What are the hottest skillsets required to relive the marketing gold rush?" And companies are asking, "Where should I expect the turnover within my ranks? How do I hang on to my good people? What aspect of marketing should I invest?"