Are you skilled for the hottest jobs in the market?
LinkedIn recently released the 25 fastest-growing roles in the United States. Like many other fields, marketing and sales are changing.
But are these the same old jobs wrapped in a fancier, buzzword-heavy title? Or do these roles have new functions that didn’t exist 10 years ago? And lastly, how does all this square with the trend of CMO-less brands?
Let’s explore the answers with CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose. Watch or read on for his take.
It’s Groundhog Day, and in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a rambunctious rodent with the title of Phil will once again come out of his hole to see if six more weeks of winter are ahead. The job has been around since the late 1800s, though the title of Phil didn’t come along until 1961.
But the jobs and skills you need to perform are changing fast. Let’s look at a couple of trends so you can assess your skill sets and consider what preparations to take.
Disappearance of CMOs
The first trend involves the job of chief marketing officer being retired. Stories about the demise of the CMO role aren’t new, but logistics company UPS made headlines in December when it eliminated the role.
Or did they? As of now, UPS has created the role of chief commercial and strategy officer to oversee marketing, revenue, product management, strategy, and transformation…
Doesn’t that make you scratch your head?
Also in December, Etsy, the online arts and crafts marketplace, eliminated the CMO position and added the responsibilities to its operations chief. And Walgreens laid off 5% of its corporate staff — including the CMO — moved the responsibilities to others in the company.
Every few years for at least a decade, people have discussed the true nature of the CMO role —and whether the job was too big for one person. In 2021, the Great Resignation prompted talk about new titles in marketing that introduced sharp elbows in the board room and took over the chief moniker — chief experience officer, chief customer officer, and even chief digital officer.
Fastest-growing job roles
This time, though, the chief marketing talk seems different, and that brings up the second trend, as reflected in LinkedIn’s recent article on the 25 fastest-growing roles in the United States. It speaks volumes about the astronomical growth of artificial intelligence.
Five of the 25 roles — or 20% — are squarely in the sales, marketing, and communications departments. These include the chief growth officer (not really a new trend; see above talk about 2021) but also the director of revenue operations, external communications manager, influencer marketing manager, and head of partnerships.
Elevating, not reducing, the value of modern marketing
But dig into these functions of the fastest-growing roles identified by LinkedIn, and you’ll see they’re just talking about new titles for the duties of a chief marketing officer. The five fastest-growing sales, marketing, and communication roles just mix the classic marketing functions that are changing, not the job itself.
Coming back to the head-scratching UPS story, its new chief commercial and strategy officer oversees marketing, revenue, product management, strategy, and transformation. Put simply, UPS doesn’t say the CMO job was too big; it believes it wasn’t strategic enough.
Many interpret the trend in CMO role reductions as an indicator that senior leadership (the CEOs and the boards) don’t see marketing as worthy of the C-suite. On the contrary, what leadership at UPS and other brands recognize is that marketing — as the amazing Peter Drucker used to say — is the only innovative function in the business.
All these new, fastest-growing roles simply package classic marketing functions in new and certainly different ways.
According to LinkedIn, chief growth officers “develop and execute an organization’s strategies for driving revenue, expanding market presence, and ensuring sustainable growth.” That just sounds like someone who is now responsible not only for the tactical elements of marketing but also for product and strategic market development.
Directors of revenue operations “help oversee business’ revenue generation practices, working closely with sales and marketing teams to optimize business growth and ensure overall efficiency.” The art and science of revenue management has long been a customer’s journey, now a marketing responsibility. You can see how a role directing strategic pricing, selling, and managing to get the right product in the right hands at the right time makes complete sense.
Finally, LinkedIn says influencer marketing managers “coordinate partnerships with influencers and celebrities and develop corresponding marketing campaigns to drive profit and brand awareness.” Let’s amend it to add “internal subject matter experts.” But this description describes a classic marketing role made much more important with the growth of independent content creators and marketing becoming much more of a media operation than a classic sales-enablement department.
Working for your future in the profession
Why does all this matter? You need to remember these trends when you see the influx of jobs with fancy new titles and the headlines about replacing your roles in marketing. You need to have a healthy amount of side-eye for those who conclude that marketing is becoming less respected or companies just don’t get the profession. You need to wring your hands less.
Now, not all companies do get it. Some businesses still make short-sighted mistakes, and some may reboot their marketing roles in silly ways. But these new jobs and shifting roles mean marketing is becoming more strategic, not less.
The roles and functions are shifting fundamentally but not going away. Marketing’s role, as Professor Philip Kotler would say, remains to create, communicate, and deliver value to a target market at a profit.
You must realize the responsibility for who does each of these things shifts under different names and titles, but the function does not. In managing your marketing career, your objective should be to learn how to understand and do all those things.
It’s not good enough to just understand media. It’s not good enough to just understand technology. It’s not good enough to just create great copy. Marketing now involves being well-rounded in all the integrated functions that deliver wealth to the business.
Whether you’re a practitioner, middle management, or C-level, your future is not about understanding the one thing that may be your job today. Your future requires understanding the whole of what marketing means to a business. Learning those things will help you master all of it tomorrow.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute