Which of these 4 types of marketer are you?

Original research reveals issues facing the modern marketer

By Charles Randall, Head of Solutions Marketing, SAS UK & Ireland

Eighty-four percent of marketers now regard the rise of the digital native as overwhelmingly the most important (or a very important) factor affecting marketing plans. So while we welcome the digital generation, we must also retool our mindsets and skill sets to the new marketing order. This retooling process appears to be the biggest hurdle for marketers. 

To integrate digital marketing with traditional channels, marketers need to become masterminds in data analytics.

Skill shortages, lack of experience and budget constraints as a hangover of the recession continue to plague the digital marketing landscape. While we are certainly not short of data, the problem is that not enough marketers understand how to extract its true value, whether that is in customer loyalty or data monetization.

Our recent research — based on surveys of more than 500 marketing professionals in the UK — found that modern marketers were split into distinct factions when it came to their strategies, channels and skills. Each faction has something to bring to the table, but do these marketers span the full spectrum of skills needed to help their businesses flourish in the digital revolution? Read on to see if you recognize yourself in our archetypes and explore whether you have the skills for the future.

No. 1: Multichannel master

A multichannel player at heart, these marketers concentrate on digital techniques but often look to use all of the major channels available, whether they are relevant or not. Multichannel masters are in the majority, accounting for 45 percent of the UK’s marketing population.

Typically, they work in large energy companies, banks and telecommunications giants. They often cite budget constraints as their biggest inhibitor, but this is mostly due to spreading their resources too thinly across numerous channels. In our survey we found that four out of five marketers use mobile, call centers, direct mail, live events, webinars and social media channels in each campaign.

Interestingly, our research indicates that multichannel masters are particularly confident in search, and fairly confident in other forms of marketing.

No. 2: SoLoMo maven

SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) marketers have their fingers on the pulse of the customer. They focus on the latest media channels, apps and platforms like Vine, WhatsApp and Snapchat to tell their story and attract new customers.

From a budget perspective, our research shows that they spend more on social media, mobile marketing and webinars than any other group. Unsurprisingly, they also use websites, search and email on a regular basis. Online is their world, and they thrive on real-time interaction as a way of measuring success. They dislike traditional broadcast media, largely because of the lack of quantifiable data-driven results.

Often working for disruptive brands or a small online agency, they tend to be innovative at making budgets work as hard as possible, designing “noisy” campaigns with not much money to spend.

These are the pioneers of digital marketing and are the most confident about their strategies. They also have a good grasp of the power of real-time data analytics, which will become increasingly valuable as the industry dives deeper into big data.

Interestingly, SoLoMo marketers see great value in live events in tandem with their digital execution. Our survey showed that SoLoMo mavens will use up to 10 channels in any one campaign, as opposed to the multichannel masters who use up to 14 channels.

No. 3: Digital nerds

We define digital nerds as marketers who shift massive amounts of data but are uninterested in brand advertising. They are in their element looking at data and calculating propensity models.

On average, they use eight marketing channels, with online ads, search and websites being the first ports of call for all campaigns. Email, print ads, live events, direct mail and social media make up the rest of the campaign budgets.

Digital nerds tend to spend their money in tried-and-tested digital channels and are quite timid at exploring the new channels and combinations of channels. Perhaps this is because they champion quantitative rather than qualitative measurement. Working to the mantra of “data, data everywhere,” digital nerds see websites, search, online ads and email as their closest friends due to the simplicity of evaluating click-through rates, open rates or basket competitions.

They are masters in data analytics, but lack an adventurous personality to test new ground with creative output. In the majority of cases, digital nerds work in traditional digital agencies, loyalty companies and major online retailers.

Social media for them is too vague to determine a return on investment, so it’s unusual for them to dabble in this world. They rate live events quite highly, perhaps because there is a tangible way to qualify leads based on sales interactions.

No. 4: Old-school direct

Firm handshake, steady eye contact. This old-school marketer wants to engage directly with customers, physically and personally. Ignore the brand; this is all about the one-to-one sell.

These marketers, mostly from B2B tech or big catalog companies, rely on direct mail, call centers and email marketing. They’re also keen on events and the digital equivalent of webinars.

Averaging 10 channels for their campaigns, old-school direct marketers tend to avoid channels such as outdoor, TV and radio that don’t give them the face-to-face opportunities they crave.

Like the digital nerd, old school marketers are numbers driven, but they rely on high-volume marketing to hit their goals, rather than detailed personalized customer insight. Interestingly, this group’s confidence in its marketing strategies is a little shaky — it spends more on live events and direct mail than its confidence warrants. Perhaps they recognize that change is in the air.

With the evolution of marketing on the horizon, many brand owners are already using hybrid models to break through the noise and engage in meaningful conversations with their audience. But to integrate digital marketing with traditional channels, marketers need to become masterminds in data analytics.


Charles Randall, PhD, is Head of Solutions Marketing at SAS UK & Ireland, where he is an active analytical marketing practitioner, a writer and spokesperson on the application of advanced analytics to business problems. He also collaborates with leading business schools and market research agencies to carry out original research into the issues facing the modern marketing professional.


Digital revolution

SAS and Marketing Week surveyed 560 individuals responsible for marketing activities in their businesses. The majority of those surveyed were marketing managers, followed by marketing directors. Respondents worked for companies of a range of sizes across a number of business sectors, whose sales activities were either B2B, B2C or both. Some key findings:

  • 91 percent of marketers say we are still in the digital revolution.
  • Social media is the one marketing channel being used more heavily. Every other channel has seen a drop-off in usage.
  • Spending on live events is also increasing, accounting for the biggest share of budget.
  • Mobile is the channel marketers feel least confident about using.
  • The rise of the digital native and empowered consumer is seen as the biggest disruptor of future marketing.
  • An aging population and data protection fears are social and legal factors that will most affect campaigns over the next five years.
  • Content marketing is the discipline that will have the biggest influence over future marketing, with data analytics the most important skill to have.


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