From Marketer to Marketer Scientist: the new retail landscape demands new talent

Hannah French, Consultant, The Forsyth Group

eCommerce has provided an explosion of opportunity for retailers. In the gaps left by the online retail giants, e-commerce start-ups are rising up to cater to more niche markets. For any e-commerce company, success starts with the right team. And in today’s ever-shifting, data-driven retail landscape, the online retailers that thrive are those that hire marketers with skills that cross into data science. This allows them to create sites that are both responsive and adaptable. In the case of e-commerce start-ups where teams are smaller and resources more limited, acquiring the right talent is particularly important.

At the Forsyth Group, we focus on building teams for early stage companies, and our e-commerce clients often come to us to help them hire marketers to accelerate customer acquisition. We helped one of our clients, a private social network photo-sharing and photo book printing site, to hire a Marketing Director, who, since joining last year, has grown their user base to hundreds of thousands of users globally. Coming from an online start-up background, she had valuable insight into the 'growth hacker', data-driven approach to marketing. She was able to use this experience in her new role, rapidly acquiring users for them by focusing on conversion rates, analytics and continuous testing.

A firm grasp of data analytics is now seen as a core competency for marketeers. Analysing and evaluating the data from different marketing campaigns in order to find out which are most successful, is becoming a valued skill. Particularly as methods such as Google Adwords become increasingly expensive in the saturated market, with companies in the same industry bidding for the same keywords and thus increasing their price. More technical, data-focussed marketers are finding new routes to customers to avoid this bidding war, focussing on the channels that bring in the most customers and revenue.

Bluekai, a data management and analytics platform, recently launched a survey which found that marketing practitioners are starting to incorporate and expand the use of "data" into their core DNA... Along the way they are able to deliver more central and deeper audience segmentation, targeting efficiencies and a way to tell a consistent story across the entire customer journey; across various marketing touch points. Simply put – they can drive more revenue.’

With more and more e-commerce start-ups springing up and an increasing number of retailers entering the online marketplace, competition for customers, who are becoming ever more demanding in their expectations for fast delivery, great customer service and a personalised experience, is growing stronger daily. As a result, marketers are using data management to impact their marketing and communication strategies, helping them to acquire customers inexpensively and retain those customers.

As the line between technology and marketing blurs, and more companies look to recruit marketers who thrive at the intersection of growth, marketing and technology, the value of these candidates will continue to increase and the war on talent will escalate.