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Your 2023 Planning Shouldn’t Be All About That Tech

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Your 2023 Planning Shouldn’t Be All About That Tech

Do marketers dream of magical tools? (I couldn’t resist that Blade Runner reference).

As we enter the fourth quarter (for many), it’s time for planning. Budgets are due. Plans are being formed. Leftover money must be spent before the year’s end.

Is it any wonder that marketers’ thoughts turn to technology? You may be mulling over questions such as:

  • What technology should we budget for?
  • Which new tools will help us achieve our plan?
  • What cool new capability might we buy with that leftover money?

This year’s tech questions seem particularly complex. I hear content marketers asking if blockchain will become the next new thing. Or if they should invest in artificial intelligence software? Or if they should finally acquire a content calendaring tool. How about a new analytics solution? Or is it time to invest in a DAM? What is a DAM?

Many marketers dream of investing in tools to automate processes, create insightful dashboards, or spread content evenly across myriad channels in the right way to reach the right people at the right time on the right device.

Wait. Did we forget about intent data? Add that to our tech dream board, too!

But all those dreams could quickly become nightmare scenarios, requiring skill levels your company can’t accommodate.

Do you dream of finding a #ContentMarketing tool to make everything easier? Take a beat before you buy ­– or risk a nightmare scenario, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Caveat emptor: Think before you buy

Have you heard the aphorism “a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into”? It means that when you decide to invest in a boat, you’re not just buying the boat – you’re also committing to all the things that go along with owning a boat. That includes renting a dock, acquiring a trailer, keeping up with the significant maintenance required, and paying for the fuel and other costs of operating it.

It’s not a stretch to adapt that saying to our industry: “Marketing tech is a hole in the business that you throw money and time into.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in it (or buy that boat if you need it or love it). Marketing technology can return extraordinary value.

But be conscious of what you’re buying. Any marketing technology worth purchasing involves implementation, training, user learning curve time, and ongoing administration.

I’ve recently seen some real challenges on this front. One B2B company I worked with has been stuck in some form of software selection or technology implementation cycle since the beginning of the year. They’re limited in the amount of content marketing they can create because they’ve been so busy trying to figure out the technology to create more content marketing.

Ironic.

Tech purchases won’t necessarily make your 2023 content dreams come true. What should you focus on to set your program up for success?

I have a few ideas.

Tech purchases alone won’t make your 2023 #Content dreams come true, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Focus on change first, not technology

I’ve been advising clients and colleagues to worry less about which new technology will be a must-have for 2023. Instead, work on developing the muscle to evolve content activities into repeatable processes.

In other words: How do you change?

I find that it’s critical to hold frequent discussions with stakeholders about the audience/customer journey. Content marketers aren’t the only ones creating bold new plans for content in the coming year.

You’ll probably participate in many meetings to understand what the sales team wants, what the brand team thinks, what the public relations crew has on their mind, and what senior leadership thinks.

But success isn’t built from a mutual understanding of those separate agendas. The teams must come together to develop one collaborative content strategy for customer and audience engagement.

Coordinated communication is one of the hallmarks of a successful content strategy. To achieve it, focus on these three fundamentals:

1. Orchestrate connected experiences, not siloed hand-offs

Think about next year’s plan in a way that lets you decouple customer and audience data management from the content experience. Explore how you can create a unified view of your subscribers and customers so that things like “audience,” “lead,” “opportunity,” and “customer” are attributes in a single database instead of siloed buckets.

That probably means technology will eventually play a role. But first, create awareness of what content is planned, by whom, and where it will be distributed.

Almost every business would benefit from communicating about the portfolio of content that will be created rather than meeting about what was created.

2. Shift to meaning-driven (not data-driven) content operations

What meaning do the email address, first name, and last name of someone who registered for a white paper contain? Little to none. You can, perhaps, draw some inferences about buying intent based on the topic of the digital asset. But the intent with which that data was provided may completely circumvent that inference. (If the email shared is [email protected] – you’ll have a pretty good idea.)

That kind of marketing data has no inherent meaning. It is a collection of facts, figures, and attributes about people or their behavior. You need more interactions with that person to develop a relationship.

For next year’s planning, businesses must develop new strategies to find the emotional value in data that’s given rather than gathered. For example, let’s look at an email address gathered from gating a white paper versus one given to subscribe to a newsletter after reading that white paper. How much more valuable is that email address if you know it’s given willingly, trustingly, and with the expectation of receiving valuable communication from your brand?

3. Organize for agility, not speed

You’ve probably read many essays about how content marketing teams need to become more agile in their operations. But agility isn’t about moving faster. It’s about focusing on high-value, high-priority activities.

The constant pressure of more and more content arises from a fear of moving too slowly. Replace that fear with joy by planning to spend more time developing powerful thought leadership stories and less time creating endless assets.

Think about how to shift your processes to spend more time planning big, meaningful, powerful, differentiated content. Once you create those stories, you can then decide whether and how best to transform them into digital assets.

Can you separate the process of content creation and digital asset production – and become more agile in the process? I think you’ll find you can.

Can you separate the process of #Content creation from digital asset production, asks Robert Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing field of dreams

An “if we buy it, they will come” approach (to paraphrase another famous movie line) rarely leads to success.

And you can’t measure success by how much technology you deploy. That’s like thinking you can get to work faster by purchasing more cars. You’ll just accrue more debt and spend all your time managing and maintaining those cars.

What will 2023 bring? The metaverse? The return of NFTs? A B2B version of TikTok? The collapse of third-party data?  We. Don’t. Know.

But, as you’re looking at your budget, plan, or year-end spending, take a beat. Before you dive into a tool, think about what you hope you and your team will be spending time and money on this time next year.

Write it out. What does your day look like?

That’ll help you set up a better dream for how you might accomplish it.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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