Skills Financial CMOs Will Hire for In The Year Ahead (and Beyond)

Digital skills rank highly today in top marketers' talent hunt. But that is just the beginning. As artificial intelligence infiltrates more banking and marketing activities, new jobs that no one has ever heard of will become necessary for managing the machines. Want to be "Head of Bot Creative"? It's coming.

Financial institution chief marketing officers not only must seek out people who can fulfill a widening set of abilities today, but they must have an eye on the evolving needs of the decade ahead.

While the hottest job requirements presently concern digital marketing, over the next ten years that will be compounded by the need to sort out the best roles to be played by artificial intelligence versus those best played by humans. Increasingly AI will be doing the heavy lifting and humans will be there to guide it — sometimes course-correcting the technology when it starts taking a financial institution in the wrong direction.

As the definition of “marketing” expands, you can safely bet that the skillsets in demand by 2025 will be as different from today’s as today’s are from 2010 or even 2015.

Top financial marketers have to consider staffing in terms of three time slots: 1. getting today’s jobs done; 2. preparing for tomorrow’s jobs; and 3. looking to the day after tomorrow, which will be here sooner than anyone thinks. And this takes place against a backdrop of competition that grows more and more complex — a blend of traditional institutions, fintechs and deep-pocketed big techs.

One of the keys to meeting that competition is innovation, and that underscores the importance of marketing recruitment. A Gartner study found that the third-highest barrier to innovation in companies is limited staff with necessary skills. 41% of marketing leaders from multiple industries cited this in the Gartner study.

Today’s Challenges for Financial Marketing Management

The Creative Group, an affiliate of Robert Half International that specializes in marketing recruitment, summarizes current needs this way in a report: “Organizations are investing in digital marketing and digital transformation to boost efficiency and grow business. Chief marketing officers seek to leverage technology and data to improve operations, deliver personalized customer experiences, and increase user engagement and retention.”

As a result, both marketing departments and the outside agencies they work with vie for up-to-date talent in an economy that is unprecedentedly robust. Employment remains high. Today’s skills prove highly portable among industries and perhaps one of the few differences for working in the financial services business is a higher tolerance for pain — as in compliance. But then again marketing in the pharmaceutical business and some other highly regulated fields is no picnic either.

Digitization of marketing will continue to drive the types of talent that CMOs must seek. “Virtually any marketer can attest to the mounting levels of change they have experienced in a few short decades, driven largely by the proliferation of digital technologies,” states a report by the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) and The Economist Group. “It would be naïve to presume any deceleration in the pace of change.”

The organizations’ international study indicates that teams with skills in analytics, AI, machine learning, content strategy, social media and voice search are in high demand. A study by Atrium, a marketing recruitment firm, points to the following specific positions as most in demand:

  1. Content Strategist
  2. Digital Marketing Manager
  3. Digital Strategist
  4. Email Marketing Specialist
  5. Front-end Web Developer
  6. Hybrid Designer (someone with both designer and developer skills)
  7. Marketing Analytics Manager
  8. Project Manager
  9. Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing Specialist
  10. Social Media Manager
  11. User Interface (UI) Designer
  12. User Experience (UX) Designer

The types of tasks marketing departments must accomplish vary in importance, and the ranking in the chart below from the Economist/DMI study illustrates that aspect of the recruiting challenge.

Skill CMOs find important today

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As shown in the chart, “this shifting focus from traditional advertising towards an emphasis on CX, UX and data analytics seems to have already been absorbed by the industry,” the report states. “Marketers are recognizing that customers now expect companies to understand their needs and deliver experiences that address them.”

The study makes the point that increasingly consumers are setting the agenda for marketers, and that marketers must sprint to keep up with what people expect. Yet a Forrester whitepaper indicates that CX positions can be shaky. In some organizations that don’t see results fast enough, the CX chief gets the chop.

The Economist/DMI study probed more broadly to see what marketers say they want in future candidates. Interestingly, among the factors cited were ones that went beyond specific skills to more general abilities that top marketers consider important:

  • Technology skills 48%
  • Creativity 44%
  • Analytical thinking 43%
  • Marketing skills 42%
  • Openness to change 38%
  • Adaptability 37%
  • Critical thinking 37%
  • Problem-solving skills 36%
  • Broader business knowledge 33%

“This could reflect a need to fundamentally rethink what is required of a successful marketer in the coming environment,” the report states.

Read More:

Tomorrow’s Talent Demands Begin to Emerge

“Clearly, talent and technology must converge if marketers are to deliver wanted customer experiences,” the Economist/DMI study says. For financial marketers, the question is, converging towards what?

The truth is that financial marketing leaders have been chasing a moving target for years and the chase keeps picking up pace.

Just where Marketing ends and IT begins will continue to blur in the period ahead. In LinkedIn’s “2020 Emerging Jobs Report,” the job-centric social platform projected which jobs will grow in importance. The study found that across many industries, including financial services, artificial intelligence, including robotics, is becoming more important, as are data science positions.

Yet 75% of managers polled by The Creative Group say they have difficulty finding and holding onto professionals with current digital skills. One stumbling block is that organizations often move too slowly. The firm’s research indicates that today candidates’ interest in open positions wanes after two weeks of not hearing back from the prospective employer.

While financial services executives tend to look at Amazon as a potential competitor, they may forget that a growing number of banking institutions use Amazon Web Services. And they may not realize that the ability to use AWS is considered a skill for data engineers. The LinkedIn report notes that five years ago this wasn’t something data science workers cited, and now it has become a significant factor.

Concerning AI, the impact will be broader and deeper than many think. States the LinkedIn report: “At this stage, most of the workforce doesn’t work in the emerging field of artificial intelligence, but that doesn’t mean it won’t impact everyone. Artificial intelligence will require the entire workforce to learn new skills, whether it’s to keep up to date with an existing role, or pursuing a new career as a result of automation.”

That’s just on the horizon, but just beyond the horizon may be coming a much more significant impact on marketing from AI.

Read More: Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Big Data & The Future of Banking

New Marketing Jobs that AI Will Generate

Opponents of handing over more of business to AI speak of the impact on jobs, while backers of this technology frequently claim that AI will generate new jobs. A strong case for this is made in a Cognizant paper that lists 21 new marketing jobs that the firm believes that adoption of marketing AI will create.

The 21 job titles that Cognizant forecasts would not all come at once, but many of them could be here in no time. The chart below, based on the study, illustrates which will evolve first.

“Other professions might fret about artificial intelligence or automation gobbling up work, but CMOs must see this the other way round,” the Cognizant report says. “We think the rise of technology creates a renaissance moment for Mad Men everywhere.”

21 Future jobs in marketing

The report delves deeply into each of the 21 new roles. The following descriptions capsulize a handful of these potential marketing jobs of the future. While some may sound a bit “out there,” much of what is now considered routine in SEO, SEM and social media once seemed so too.

Algorithm Bias Auditor: One of the fears of handing over marketing and credit evaluation to AI is that over time the AI would inadvertently “learn” to be biased. Besides being unfair, this would violate fair-lending laws. From the job description in the report: “It’s vital to ensure the algorithms at the heart of our AI engine are fair, legal and representative of the values of our organization.”

Data Ethnographer: “This role is essential in today’s digital era given the mountains of customer data we collect from online transactions, Internet of Things, wearable technologies, mobile devices and other online and offline touchpoints. … As our data ethnographer, you’ll work with masses of real-time data to unearth customer insights and make campaign/channel recommendations for the rest of the marketing team.”

Personal Feedback & Appraisal Designer: “Come help us connect customer feedback from (literally) millions of customer reactions across our kaleidoscope of channels. We know our customers stay engaged longer when we deliver highly personalized, meaningful experiences. The problem is, we engage with millions of customers and prospects across hundreds of channels.”

Head of Bot Creative: “Ready to command an army of robots at the touch of a button? Soon, much of creative marketing will be done by a workforce of bots. These sophisticated pieces of software will compose brand messages exactly to the customer’s taste; write eye-catching, highly personalized copy; and create animations and schedule content to media channels at the right time… The head of bot creative needs to ensure the bots deliver an authentic, compelling experience tied to brand differentiation.”

Not exactly what most are hiring for right now. And we haven’t even touched on the report’s descriptions of “Neuro A/B Tester,” or “Sixth Sense Analyst,” “Loyalty Engineer,” or “Master Storyteller.”

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