Abu Noaman is the CEO of Elliance, an agency that brings prosperity to ambitious brands. He loves search engine algorithms as much as Jung and business strategy as much as art. He has read autobiographies of more than 300 leading entrepreneurs and thinkers. Abu has been named “eMarketer of the Year” by Business Marketing Association and is a frequent speaker at conferences including the one held by American Marketing Association.
How has the field of marketing evolved in recent years, and how do you see it continuing to change in the future?
There is a battle going on for people’s hearts, minds, and wallets. Marketing spearheads it with attention-grabbing tactics. Marketing is evolving with the change in generations and adoption of the technologies they use. Boomers are retiring, Gen-Z is entering the workforce, and Gen X and millennials are taking charge of running the world. In lockstep with these social shifts, digital, mobile, and social marketing are now leading the brands. Marketers are also responding to an awakening of social consciousness. Since millennials and Gen-Z’ers care deeply about corporate values, they are gravitating toward companies that embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards and embody corporate social responsibility (CSR). Younger buyers are increasingly attracted to brands which live in accordance with their core values.
What skills do you believe are most important for the next generation of marketers to have to be successful?
Next generation marketers will need to master four key skill sets: tools and automation, data and insights, content and bots, and conceptual and strategic thinking. In the age of software and artificial intelligence, automation of routine and strategic tasks with sophisticated marketing toolkits is the first crucial skill marketers must master. By sheer necessity, marketers must be data-driven decision makers while also relying on their common sense. They’ll need to analyze interaction, KPI and unified dashboards. They’ll need to develop the instinct for zeroing in on the data that truly matters. They’ll need to take bold decisive action based on their own insights and supporting data. Because content is the lifeblood of brands and Google page one is destiny, next generation marketers must be aware of the content ecosystem, develop content strategy frameworks and understand the workings of the Google bot. They’ll have to cultivate an investigative mind (that discovers and uncovers brand evidence and proofs), an imaginative mind (that infuses persuasive content and brand romance), and an analytical mind (that imbues content with keywords, so it’s ranked on Google). They must learn the art of creating content inspired by keywords. They’ll have to curate and orchestrate content, code, optimization, and channels to create brand success. Successful marketers will of course need the full force of conceptual and strategic thinking skills to bring prosperity to their organizations.
How do you think the role of marketing will be shaped in the coming years, and how are you preparing your team to adapt to these changes?
Marketers will continue to fulfill the traditional roles of brand management, reputation building, customer engagement, public relations, sales support, and partner development. However, moving forward, the role of marketing will be shaped by four forces: intergenerational change, the rise of digital tools and technologies, increasing channel and data complexity and the need for growing new revenue. As a digital marketing agency, we seek out and serve forward-thinking clients who stretch us. We recruit talented professionals who have a proven record of delivering marketing brilliance, but we train them continuously in newer skill sets.
How do you think technology and social media have impacted the way companies approach marketing and advertising?
The underpinnings of modern marketing include the ability to serve personalized content, manage customer relationships, and make data-driven decisions. These capabilities are now built into campaign management tools, CRM packages, CMS platforms, email marketing software, marketing automation systems and analytics toolkits. Companies are investing in technology to improve the effectiveness of their marketing. Social media has become the new frontier for brand success. It has taught marketers three valuable lessons. First, success is less about controlling the forces they can and more about harnessing the forces they can’t control. Second, there is value in building relationships with influencers who are trusted by younger buyers. Finally, communities can be a source of strength when they are nurtured.
How do you see data and analytics playing a role in the future of marketing?
Successful marketers are driven by strong instincts yet make their decisions based on data. On the micro-level, they analyze interaction dashboards including campaign performance, content engagement, customer service interactions and community engagement. On the macro-level, they are comfortable with KPI dashboards including annualized customer value, profitability, wallet share, renewal/ retention rates and customer satisfaction metrics. Availability of sophisticated data analytics packages is improving their effectiveness.
What advice would you have for young professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in marketing?
There has never been a better time to go into marketing. If you can imagine holding the tensions between creative and business strategy, story and data, persuading people and bots, and traditional and digital, then you’ll absolutely love marketing.