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Recently, a client asked me to speak to a group of professionals re-entering the marketing workforce after a few years out. Specifically, the focus was what’s changed in modern marketing.

How much time do you have?

I started our discussion with “Things that are no longer a thing*.” The asterisk points to this caveat: “Or, at least not as a big a thing as they used to be.” This month, I thought I would share my list:

  • Hardcore hierarchy and tenure as a trump card
  • “Life-short” learning
  • Sales and marketing divide
  • Collateral-based sales support
  • Email (on so many levels)
  • Build it, and they will come

Granted, at some companies and in some markets the degrees to which these statements apply vary. However, I maintain that they are worthy of consideration.

Hardcore hierarchy and tenure as trump card
For years — and in many large companies still — the rung of the corporate ladder to which someone clung determined what decisions they were allowed to make. Regardless of qualifications around a particular topic, title and tenure trumped everything else. Decisions made based on data and what’s best for the client are rapidly replacing this approach to decision making.

“Life-short” learning
Once upon a time, marketers, in particular, went to college, perhaps even grad school, and “ta-dah!” their education was complete. Those days are over. Our world now requires us to embrace lifelong learning. Boot camps, short-form courses, and even online self-study are quickly becoming mainstays in our professional lives.

Sales and marketing divide
Salespeople thought marketers were silly and pedantic, and marketers thought salespeople were either lazy or dim. Ever work in an environment where that sounded familiar? Neither, of course, was or is accurate. More and more, sales and marketing are working together collaboratively to move an organization forward. Make friends, and play nice kids!

Collateral-based sales support
Remember the days when you spent months bringing to life a large, multi-page brochure with matching fact sheets? The day the printer’s truck arrived with boxes and boxes — and more boxes — of these paper babies was a big day indeed. Can you still smell the ink wafting out of each cardboard container? Now, in modern marketing most, if not all, sales support is delivered digitally.

Email (on so many levels)
Let’s own it: marketers ruined email marketing in the beginning by using it way too aggressively. Even though it is “still a thing,” and will be for a while, gone are the days when it was the centerpiece of a marketing campaign. Also, email is quickly becoming not a thing in terms of how teams talk and collaborate with one another. From Slack to Asana (our personal favorite at Spencer Brenneman, LLC), online tools are enabling more efficient and enjoyable interaction amongst modern marketing teams.

Build it, and they will come
I will show my age here by admitting the first website I had built for a company was in 1995. Back then, having a website simply created credibility. It was incumbent upon visitors to find you. Now, I cannot think of any tide that has turned more dramatically. Continually driving traffic to your website through both paid and organic channels is as important as having one.

Those are my thoughts, on things that are no longer a thing. What are yours? Share them below or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even email!

— Douglas Spencer

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