The Waning Days of the VP of Marketing -- Guest Post by Lars Leckie, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

 

The Waning Days of the VP of Marketing -- Guest Post by Lars Leckie, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners Flite's Guest Blogger series features the industry's top thought-leaders to share insights on display advertising, agile marketing, and innovation.

Lars Leckie is the Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm focused on the software industry. 

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Technology and obsolescence have always done a ruthless dance with each other. That’s why the best technology watchers know that it is as important to forecast when trends will die as it is to predict how long they will flourish. If you happen to maintain an obsolescence calendar, then you should add a particular person to it: the VP of Marketing.

That’s right, start clearing out that corner office.  The traditional VP of Marketing belongs to a dying breed, and technology is driving this.

With urgency, companies are changing the way they engage with their customers. Engagement is more social, and increasingly happens in real-time. A recent study from Chadwick, Martin Bailey, involving 1,433 consumers, showed that 50% of them are more likely to make a purchase after viewing tweets from a company. Meanwhile, comScore reports that 82% of global Internet users use some form of social network.

Deeper dives into bigger data are driving engagement strategies, and titles are toppling. Vamoose goes the VP of Marketing, and in come the VP of Social Media, the VP of Data and Analytics and a new kind of CMO.

The pace of interaction that companies have with their customers has grown exponentially in the past several years. Meanwhile, the fluency requirements for effective marketers bear little resemblance to the tapes that play in the head of the traditional VP of Marketing.  The companies that we believe in used to look for people who played those tapes. Now they don’t.

Mail-based marketing is going through an electronic renaissance. Not only has paper-based collateral diminished, but email collateral is driven by ever more sophisticated platforms. Capable of producing very customized email newsletters, spitting out precise analytics, and steering readers to embedded video content, campaign management tools from companies such as eDialog and Yesmail require experts to optimize their capabilities.

Meanwhile, video is driving a siege on the written word, with epic repercussions for marketers. The new leaders will be fluent with today’s affordable, approachable and sophisticated video platforms, applications and tools. They will produce persuasive, customer-facing online video content themselves, work with business partners on video-based narratives and use platforms such as VideoGenie to tap into customers’ passions through user-generated videos.

The new leaders will be fluent with engagement marketing platforms such as Marketo, and will run campaigns that change with real-time events, as handled by tools such as Flite (Disclosure: Hummer Winblad is a venture partner of Marketo and Flite.) These leaders will empower their advocates through Influitive. They will be buyers of big data analytics and make data-driven decisions in unprecedented ways.

My prediction is that the average age of the head of marketing in organizations will drop by a decade or two, very quickly. It’s not enough to know that the new platforms exist; it’s about having experience with them in your DNA. The new marketing leaders will have grown up on the new, social platforms.

In large and small organizations, they’re already arriving.