If Your Marketing Partner Isn’t Investing in Professional Development, You Might Want to Think Twice
The faster the world spins, the more challenging it is for all of us to keep up with the latest developments in our professions. For lawyers, engineers, and accountants, it helps that those industries require continuing education. But in fields like marketing and technology—two areas that couldn’t be changing any faster—the fact that there isn’t a similar requirement to stay current is a head scratcher.
As McKinsey points out, generative AI alone is turning the marketing field on its head. And in a post-pandemic world, many of the truths marketers once clung to are no longer applicable. For modern marketers, agility and adaptability aren’t nice-to-have soft skills; they’re everything.
Even without industry requirements, modern marketers need to constantly stretch, learn and grow if they hope to be effective at driving strong business results. That makes continued professional investment in learning an increasingly important characteristic of a strategic marketing partner.
The Breakneck Speed of Marketing
Professional development might not be top of mind when you’re evaluating a marketing partner, but it should be. Strategic marketing consulting firms like Marketri can attest to the rapid rate of change in marketing and its profound impact on how we use marketing to deliver exceptional results.
The emergence of generative AI is only one example, albeit a significant one. Per Gartner, it was as recent as 2010 that one of the first big breakthroughs in natural language translation happened (when researchers discovered that exposing models to huge amounts of text yielded better results than using top-down grammatical rules). Now, tools like ChatGPT and Bard are transforming industries at a pace we couldn’t envision just a few short months ago. That’s why one of my top professional development goals this year is to learn all I can about generative AI and how we can use it to our clients’ advantage.
Data analytics is another prime example. Marketing data started to come to the forefront when Google AdWords launched in 2000. But with every development since then—including Big Data, IoT, no-code analytics, and data visualizations—marketing analytics has taken a giant leap forward. When you’re entrusted to optimize a client’s marketing budget to deliver the best ROI, falling behind on analytics isn’t an option.
To keep up with these and a hundred other advancements, Marketri invests in building and enhancing our team’s knowledge, skills, and capabilities—because we know that investment will drive better results for our clients.
Here’s a look at what a few of our team members are up to on the professional development front.
Anna Ledford: Keeping Up with SaaS and Analytics
Anna Ledford, a Marketri Digital Marketing Manager, finds it critical to step back from the busyness of daily work to boost her expertise. “It’s important to me to continually learn and become more valuable to our clients,” she says.
Since SaaS is one of our areas of expertise, Anna took a SaaS Marketing Masterclass to strengthen her knowledge on how to market a SaaS business successfully. And with lead scoring an essential capability for improving marketing ROI, Anna attended a HubSpot webinar on the subject, learning how to use this feature to assess how a buyer is interacting with a company and customize the next step in their buying journey.
Trisha Gallagher: All Things CMO
“For me, professional development is about staying current so our clients don’t have to and learning how to leverage new marketing tools to drive better results,” says VP Trisha Gallagher.
Besides being highly intentional about reading everything she can about emerging marketing tools and techniques, one of Trisha’s biggest endeavors this year is a CMO Alliance Accelerator program. With courses on developing high-performing revenue engines, creating go-to-market plans, using analytics to develop data-driven strategies, getting C-suite buy-in for marketing plans, and more, this comprehensive CMO-level program will build Trisha’s skills in many areas that are critical to delivering the results our clients expect from a marketing partner.
Katie Bergmann: Leveraging the Value of HubSpot
For Senior Marketing Manager Katie Bergmann, 2023 brings a focus on improving her knowledge and skills in using HubSpot—a platform that Marketri (a HubSpot Gold Partner) uses to automate and optimize marketing campaigns. “I work in this system every day, so as the technology evolves it’s important to keep up to date on new features I can use for my clients’ benefit,” she says.
Besides attending the HubSpot lead scoring webinar, Katie is completing several certifications on the platform’s capabilities. The HubSpot Marketing Software certification will help her plan and execute effective inbound marketing campaigns, and the HubSpot Sales Software certification is providing a more holistic view of how leads progress in the pipeline until they’re sales-ready.
Valentina Garfinkel: Providing More Value for Clients
When Marketri clients need a website revamp or a brand identity refresh, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist Valentina Garfinkel is sure to be involved. And Val is taking every opportunity to enhance the skills to support these projects. “Because we have a formalized professional development process, I’m learning so much and putting it to use right away,” she says.
Val recently completed a two-month course on Adobe Suite tools like Illustrator and Photoshop and is putting her new skills to work on logo redesigns and brand guidelines. She’s about to start a UX/UI course that will boost the knowledge and skills it takes to optimize a client’s website user interface and user experience towards conversion rate optimization.
To keep up with Google’s constant changes, several Marketri team members are also pursuing the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) certification. By understanding the ins-and-outs of GA4, they’ll be able to collect the most relevant data for each of our clients and ensure we’re measuring, testing, and optimizing their marketing campaigns. And at our lunch-and-learn sessions, we’re always learning about new tools and techniques to work smarter while delivering better results.
Jen Marino: Embracing the Future with AI and Continuous Learning
John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” With the rapid evolution of AI and its impact on business, data, and the world around us, professional development is no longer a luxury. Recently, CMO Jen Marino, took a set of classes on advanced excel capabilities to learn how to create macros, automate data integration and analyses, and other advanced commands.
In addition, she took an executive course at MIT titled “Applied Generative AI for Digital Transformation” and will be attending MAICON (Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference) at the end of July. She is also am pursuing a degree in Computer Science so that she can more fully appreciate and utilize AI capabilities as they evolve. Jen has a passion for continuous learning and improvement and is excited to experience how AI will change business as we know it.
Debra Andrews: Thriving in the AI Revolution
Professional development in marketing isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. The field continues to change at the pace of technology. With the introduction of Chat GPT and Generative AI technologies, marketing will look entirely different two years from now. Paul Roetzer of the Marketing AI Institute shared recently, “AI won’t replace marketers. But marketers who use AI will replace those who don’t.”
During the second and third quarters of 2023, CEO Debra Andrews is immersing herself in everything AI. Deb recently completed an executive Generative AI course through MIT and will be attending MAICON (“Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference”) at the end of July. From a business perspective, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. All marketers need to continue to grow into next-gen professionals through continuing education.
Marketing is transforming at a pace we’ve never seen. So when you trust your budget and results to a strategic marketing firm, you need confidence that your partner is staying one step ahead of the latest trends and advancements. If “professional development” isn’t on your list of criteria, be sure to add it. And if your marketing firm can’t back up their commitment to development with visible actions, maybe it’s time to rethink that partnership.