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Converging Marketing Roles

  |  May 5, 2009   |  Comments

Creating new roles within marketing organizations that will narrow the ingenuity gap.

Have you read "The Ingenuity Gap" by Thomas Dixon Homer? If not, the book's basic premise is "that the nature of problems faced by our society are becoming more complex and that our ability to implement solutions is not keeping pace."

Some of the key thoughts presented in that book can be chewed, digested, reused, misused, and reinterpreted in multiple ways. It can help how you think about models and patterns within advertising and beyond, and provides the right and left brain knowledge needed for career, and even personal, evolution.

No single person can solve all the world's problems (or even the world's online video problems!), but we can recognize gaps in our own thinking and find people who can help narrow the ingenuity gap we're all playing within.

The same holds true for organizations. Marketing, media, and technology companies all need to think about how roles and interactions between roles are evolving within the ever-shifting landscape.

That often means the convergence of right and left brain skill sets and recasting how these new roles interweave. Power teams of the future will most likely be a handpicked, curated combination of these roles, depending on a project's needs.

So what new roles should we expect to emerge in the near future? How can marketing agencies more efficiently bridge the logical and emotional divide and solve for today's evolving digital landscape? To start, here are five emerging key hybrid skill sets that every agency should consider.

Creative Plus Media

It seems like only yesterday that being a creative director in the on- and offline space meant simply knowing how to write a TV spot and print ad, design a microsite, and create some graphics for a banner ad. Media planners and buyers figured out what spaces between or around the publisher's and network's content your ad content would sit in.

Today, as we move away from a drive-to-site advertising models and as DVR adoption continues to increase, media planning and buying demands continuous reinvention and creative innovation. On the flip side, creative directors must familiarize themselves with how media works, performs, and informs their creative across all touch points. The best work will be that which can transcend media formats across destinations and which is innovative in it's ability to earn attention.

Creative Design Plus Technology

There will always be creative individuals who have no interest in understanding the media world. But don't fret -- great designers who understand the cutting-edge possibilities of technology are still very much needed.

Web sites and experiences that surprise and delight can grab an audience and keep them coming back for more. Whether that means developing a fun Papervision interface and navigation or building a buzz-worthy application, being innovative and clever will always win people over.

It's important that designers know how to design and code moving parts as easily as they can compose a still graphic. Creating beautiful experiences is only half the picture. It's the beautiful experiences that work smoothly and that people can navigate through that will make that site or utility stand out from the pack.

Production Plus Technology

Producers are the people who really get stuff done within an organization. They make sure a project's complex moving pieces come together properly -- on time and (hopefully) under budget.

But in a world where technology is quickly evolving and changing production timelines and costs, it's critical that a producer stay on top of technological advances within the film and video space and the online digital space. It's no longer enough to know which camera to use or what special effect might make that text intro stand out. Understanding online Flash technologies and white-labeling possibilities will save a company tons of money and strengthen and inform creative possibilities.

Social Media Plus PR

Social technologies continue to rapidly evolve. They allow news and information between peers to travel more quickly and bridge networks with networks and one peer group with another. For organizations, that opens up "a new channel for sales and delivery, a way to improve efficiency, reach new customers, and compete in new markets."

Social media tactics will inevitably merge with traditional PR tactics. Getting noticed through big media outlets and getting picked up by an influential blogger is exactly the top-down and bottom-up balance you need to make your story, product, or content go viral. And having the same mind manage both aspects and coordinate the orchestration of that flow of information is key.

Planning Plus Analytics

Through increasingly intelligent measurement tools, the digital space allows creative marketers to be wrong. Why? Because the ability to efficiently optimize and change direction based on real-time data and feedback allows marketers the flexibility to not have all the answers upfront but to seek out answers from the audiences we're trying to reach.

It's critical that agencies and organizations listen harder and respond faster. The person shaping a marketing strategy through customer insights at the beginning of a campaign must be just as involved with analyzing how that program is performing in the middle of the campaign, and quickly change focus, message, and creative around how that brand is presented to an audience.

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Christine Beardsell

As vice president, group creative director of Digitas's brand content group, The Third Act, Christine works across all brand teams to lead the creative innovation of motion media content. She has a unique and varied set of skills that weaves media, tech, and channel smarts to inform deep interactive experiences for clients such as American Express, Samsung, and IHG. At the advent of the digital revolution, she established Digitas' Final Cut Pro media lab and has since scaled it across offices.

Christine has a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, where she focused her studies on motion media, interactive design, and photography. Her work in the industry has contributed to top honors including silver and bronze Cyber Lions, a Caples Award, an OMMA Award, New York Festivals Awards, ECHO Awards, and The One Show Awards.

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