Defining the Modern Marketer

The world of marketing is perpetually changing. With the rise of digital tools, disruptive strategies, and fast-paced trends, we are so far past the days of "Mad Men." And as the landscape changes, the modern marketer has to be agile to keep up.

It isn’t just about linear promotion anymore. Today, successful marketing comes down to values, experiences, and meaningful customer engagement. That’s why a customer engagement platform like Braze is an invaluable tool in the modern marketer’s arsenal. In this post, we’ll break down some of the defining characteristics of the modern marketer and why we see Braze as the best solution to meet their ever-changing needs.

Who is the modern marketer?

What makes the modern marketer different from the marketers of 20, 10, or even five years ago?

Put simply, the modern marketer is an agent of change. They’re creative, adaptable, curious, and hungry for the next big thing. Their focus isn’t on promoting a product so much as creating an experience — understanding and engaging with their audience to provide real value. To the successful modern marketer, martech isn’t a tool just for reaching more people but also for building and strengthening relationships.

We can define the modern marketer — and who will benefit from using martech tools like Braze — by breaking down their goals, traits, challenges, and role in the digital landscape.

What are modern marketers responsible for?

The key goal of modern marketing is to drive growth through meaningful customer engagement. While customer acquisition is still important, retaining those customers and building loyalty through a positive, unique brand experience matters more now than ever before. Digital technology and disruptive business models have made everything more accessible. What encourages a customer to choose your business over a (possibly cheaper) alternative is your brand.

This goal can be measured by increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), or the value of a customer over the value of a single transaction. Rather than focusing on attracting new customers in a sea of digital marketing, many modern brands have shifted their focus to retaining valuable customers through personalized engagement.

For that reason, job titles in the marketing world have shifted. While brands used to rely on "digital marketers," today, customer engagement is driven by growth marketers, lifecycle marketers, CRM marketers, retention marketers, and other invaluable experts.

What soft skills make a great marketer in today's world?

Creativity has always been an essential trait in the marketing world. Today’s modern marketer is not only creative, but also agile and hyper-responsive. Soft skills like cultural sensitivity, communication, and teamwork are more important than ever to be able to successfully drive customer engagement.

Another defining trait of the modern marketer is a collaborative attitude toward technology. They don’t see martech as a threat, but as a tool to enhance their job. Great marketers have a willingness to work with the latest tech, including AI, and an ability to make data-driven decisions.  

Challenges of the Modern Marketer

As the marketing world changes, new challenges are constantly arising, so modern marketers have to be flexible and adaptable. Successful marketing requires risks — you must be comfortable experimenting with new strategies and realigning your priorities on a dime.

One of the key challenges faced by marketers today is the shift from linear to nonlinear marketing. 10 to 15 years ago, marketing had one clear line of communication: from the brand to the customer. Nonlinear marketing, on the other hand, involves customer interaction, in the right place with the right tone at the right time. It’s a more nuanced approach that takes creativity, people skills, and dedicated customer engagement.

Below, we’ll dig into three of the major challenges we see when working with marketers in more detail.

Data problems

Modern marketing relies on accurate, relevant data. Unfortunately, harnessing that data is easier said than done.

The first major obstacle is relevancy. There is a practically unlimited amount of data to be collected about every customer, but a very small amount of it can actually help marketers drive acquisitions and retention. Since most marketers are not data experts, they may not know how to use relevant data when they collect it. On top of that, old or outdated data adds to the complexity without adding much value.

Privacy is another challenge. When harnessing customer data, marketers have to meet privacy regulations and acknowledge customers’ preferences. That’s why a platform that can facilitate thoughtful data collection, allowing you to identify your audience, while also respecting privacy laws, is so important.

The rising cost of customer acquisitions

The onslaught of digital data and disruptive businesses makes acquisitions more difficult — and more expensive — than ever. That’s why many marketers are shifting their focus from acquisitions to retention.

Retention-focused marketing requires a different set of tools and skills than acquisitions-focused marketing. Modern marketers need to distinguish high-value customers and know how to maximize their lifetime value.

Choice overload

The modern customer faces a tidal wave of choices every day. From online retailers to influencer culture and targeted ads, you’re competing for your customers’ attention every time they pick up their phones. That’s why mobile engagement strategies are no longer optional. Even if you’re not a mobile-first business, it’s crucial to engage with your customers on their mobile devices, or you won’t be a presence in their everyday life.

Digital Engagement is at the core of modern marketers' strategies

Here’s our final factor that defines the modern marketer: Digital engagement is at the core of their strategy. Nowadays, most brands are maturing beyond simple "digital marketing" strategies, because engaging with the digital landscape is an inescapable part of modern marketing. The focus of digital engagement for highly B2C industries (and any business engaging with its customers digitally) is 1. To be easy to do business with, and 2. To have a digital product delivery component. So, regardless of whether your business is online-only, your customers need to be able to access and interact with your brand online.

Remember that customers are engaging with content (read: brands) at all hours of the day. That’s part of why competition in the digital landscape is so stiff and retention is so important. A successful brand has to be able to capture customers’ attention without boring them with continually fresh messaging and interactions.

And because engagement is happening 24/7, that means data is flowing 24/7. The diverse data you need to be able to capture and use includes:

  • Engagement data by channel: You should be able to see how customers are engaging with your brand and which channels (ad clicks, page views, etc.) are bringing in the most engagement.
  • User data: User data helps brands understand their customers’ priorities. This includes first- and third-party demographic data.
  • Signal data: Signal data is the key to effective engagement. It can tell marketers if a customer needs an extra nudge or if they’re engaging with the brand on their own.

Lifetime vs. performance marketing

A key part of developing your marketing strategy is understanding if your brand is a lifetime or a performance brand. In other words, are you focused on the ROI for your marketing campaign or are you designing campaigns to boost your brand’s growth and engagement over time?

In general, a lifetime company is focused on the value of loyal, lifelong customers. As a marketer, you should ask yourself: What do you have to offer someone over a lifetime? If ongoing customer loyalty isn’t relevant to your brand (i.e. you offer a short-term or once-in-a-lifetime product), your focus is most likely going to be on performance marketing.

Braze: Where big ideas from modern marketers are brought to life

Braze, Stitch’s preferred martech platform, is a tool for the modern marketer to make the most out of their digital engagement strategies and boost customer retention. Braze can help you manage and understand customer data, create content, engage across multiple channels, and track the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Braze puts emphasis on thoughtful data collection. It can help marketers weed out untimely data, determine their audience, and navigate privacy regulations. It’s kind of like working with an experienced team of data analysts, just without the costs.

Consider a modern marketer running a campaign with Braze versus without Braze. Without Braze, they may struggle to harness and use relevant customer data. They might have tons of creative ideas but limited channels to implement them. With Braze, this same marketer has the equivalent of a team of experts on their side. Braze will handle data analytics and reporting, cross-channel communication, and messaging to help you implement real, practical strategies.

How Braze works

Braze is designed to meet the challenges of the modern marketer. Its main purpose is to help marketers foster stronger relationships with their clients on any channel. The platform accomplishes that with two key steps:

  • Understanding: Data collection and analytics help marketers better understand their audience.
  • Engaging: Messaging tools and cross-platform communication help drive customer engagement and retention.

Braze’s “start anywhere, go everywhere” strategy means it’s completely customizable for businesses in all industries and across all channels. You can create a customized arsenal of specialists, tools, and features to boost customer engagement at every stage of your business’s growth.

Why Braze stands out

When comparing CEPs and looking across the other options available to marketers (legacy marketing clouds, point solutions, etc.), Braze offers the best of both worlds. It has the power and multifaceted tools of an enterprise platform that can accommodate all channels, but the usability of a single-channel platform. So, Braze can be effective for everyone, from large-scale retailers messaging across multiple channels 24/7 to a regional healthcare provider that mainly reaches its customers through email.

Braze is also designed to be user-friendly. Because, let’s face it: Not all modern marketers are tech experts, and that's OK. Braze is visually clear and all functionality exists within the core platform (meaning, no product acquisitions, so you don’t need to download and learn third-party tools to use it). It reduces the complexity of digital marketing campaigns and lets marketers get back to their creative ideas.

Why we believe in Braze

It’s simple: Braze is an effective, user-friendly, customizable platform for the modern marketer. It focuses on customer engagement across multiple channels to help marketers reach their acquisition, monetization, and retention goals. But don’t just take our word for it. Braze ranks as a leader among cross-channel marketing platforms in the 2023 Forrester Wave. It’s trusted by global enterprises like Intuit and Etsy as well as startups and scale-ups.

We believe in Braze because it’s built for the modern marketer (in fact, we wrote a whole ebook about it). If you’re interested in learning more about this platform and how it can meet your marketing needs, let's chat.

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