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The role of marketing is evolving across all industries. Changing skill needs are bringing on new challenges, while providing a wealth of opportunity for marketing graduates.

The rise of social media and online advertising, in particular, has seen consistent job growth for marketing professionals since the mid-2000s, creating new roles that were previously non-existent. When you consider Federal Government predictions, the sector is set for further growth and strong employment prospects over the next five years.

To ensure you are fully prepared for a burgeoning landscape, we’ve identified three major trends affecting marketers now and moving towards 2020.

An era of integration

Martech and its advanced consumer insights is enabling greater integration between marketing and other business areas. With this integration, marketing strategy now requires an understanding of relevant business strategies, consumer engagement as well as new and evolving digital technology and communications platforms.

The relationship between IT, operations and marketing teams has strengthened considerably, primarily due to the availability of product and customer offerings in addition to avenues of consumer engagement through online channels.

Marriott International’s chief sales and marketing officer for Asia-Pacific, Peggy Fang Roe, recently stated that “over the last five years, there has been this tremendous push to bring marketing and operations together… working hand-in-hand on almost everything and loyalty, customer experience and data are at the centre of that”.

There’s no doubt that an exchange of knowledge is incredibly beneficial for marketers. It enables a  better understanding of business objectives and – in turn – marketing campaigns that are closely aligned with overall business strategy.

The power of data and analytics-based decisions

Marketers are paramount in the process of collecting and using big data and analytics insights. Measuring and maximising the effectiveness of marketing campaigns now requires an increasingly analytical approach to quantitative data.

RMIT marketing lecturer, Dr Peter Guenther recently highlighted the need for marketers to possess strong numbers and analytic techniques, in order to meet the demands of businesses in almost every industry.

“Businesses need people who are able to sieve the massive data amounts available online to generate useful market intelligence for their firms.” he says. “This is quite different from the traditional roles of the marketing manager or creative marketer.”

With the online consumer experience being as important as offline, we no longer consider ‘digital marketing’ a title or function in itself, rather an expected skill set of a marketer. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also play a significant role, improving things like recommendations to customers or the likelihood that someone visiting a webpage will convert to a customer.

The amount of valuable data that can be gained from online consumer behaviour has implications for marketing occupations. To ensure that customer data is maximised to deliver business objectives, organisations will need to “collect, share, store, transmit and ‘use’ this insight” to shape marketing practice. Therefore, the ability to work effectively with data will be an increasingly important part of the marketing function.

Tech disruption across professional services

Developments in technology have had significant implications across the global professional services sector. These developments signal a shift towards offering a full suite of services or a ‘one stop shop’ for clients.

This trend is currently being played out in a number of large professional service providers, where creative advertising agencies have been acquired and integrated with the provider’s broader product offerings, in order to offer a full client service. An example of this is Accenture’s acquisition of one of Australia’s largest creative advertising agencies The Monkeys and design business Maud in May 2017.

The Deloitte Access Economics marketing report has predicted that professional companies will play “a more active role in the end-to-end development of client campaigns, with marketing teams working more closely with technology departments as business operations evolved.”

The need for lifelong learning

For marketing graduates, these larger trends provide new employment opportunities in a variety of organisations and firms, as marketers increasingly become part of a broader suite of corporate advisers. In such business environments, collaboration will a be critical enabler of success alongside technical marketing expertise.

Businesses now expect marketing professionals to bring these multidimensional skills to a role. RMIT Associate Professor in marketing, Con Stavros agrees, saying “workers with a combined skill set of marketing expertise and specialist industry knowledge are being increasingly valued across the workforce.”

Postgraduate study in marketing can provide workers with greater career opportunities through the development of more advanced and specialised skills, while enabling professionals in other occupations to transition into marketing by developing a multidisciplinary skillset.

Want to learn more about the future of work in marketing? Download the Deloitte Access Economics report.