Make Modern Marketing Happen: The Seven Personas of the Modern Marketer

Fred Isbell

There are three types of people in the world: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who say “what happened?” It’s better to control your own destiny than to wait for it to happen – or worst of all, to have things dictated for you and wonder how you got there. The same is true in marketing. The concept of modern marketing is an art and science, merging in a proactive, visionary, and forward-thinking manner.

While attending a workshop on building and using personas at the ITSMA Annual Marketing Vision Conference, I thought about how marketers can leverage personas better. Can we unlock insights when creating a buyer persona and apply that to the relevant personas of the modern marketer?

Fortunately, the answer was close by. A recent article, “No Marketer Is an Island: Meet the 7 Personas of the Modern CMO,” shed some light on the seven dominant personalities of a successful CMO. But I believe that we can apply this thinking to all marketing – not just the CMO – to identify, build up, and enhance our own skills and strengths.

7 Personas CMO

What do you and your personal brand of modern marketing represent? And which skills and passions are required to fully realize your potential?

Here’s a look at the seven personas to help you answer those questions:

  • The thought leader: The importance of thought leadership continues to grow, and everyone can be their own thought leader in their domain of expertise. What is yours? Thought leadership is all about storytelling. People should channel their skills and knowledge, as well as those of their extended organization, to share compelling stories.
  • The growth hacker: Modern marketing requires us to commit to a specific business contribution and earn our seat at the table. This includes leveraging data science, Big Data, analytics, and increasingly, predictive analytics and marketing technology (martech).
  • The product marketer: Products and services need to be sold in the context of a buyers’ journey. With the need for persona-based and value marketing, we need people who can represent the features and functionality in the context of an overall value-based customer conversation. However, we must translate the needs of the buyer into benefits-based marketing, and the product marketer must shape a value-driven story that resonates with the target audience.
  • The brand marketer: The value of a brand is measured in its image in the marketplace and its position in a buyer’s mind. Brand management is essential to storytelling, visualization, and communication of the company’s value. The value of a successful brand has never been more critical in an era of unprecedented competition and crowded marketplaces.
  • The strategist: Market strategy is essential to guide the way. The rise of digital transformation, digital marketing in the mainstream, and martech speak to the need for a comprehensive plan. The significant program and IT-related marketing investments of modern marketing must be governed by a well-planned marketing strategy.
  • The culture builder: A strong team and a culture of diversity and inclusion go hand in hand with good solid leadership. Modern marketing involves making choices and being a change agent, all of which speak to the requirement for aligning the culture with organizational goals.
  • The all-around athlete: A few years ago, the notion of the “super marketers” who could literally do everything was widely popular. The reality of modern marketing doesn’t allow for this idea, but marketers absolutely need a mix of left- and right-brain skills. Like a multi-sport athlete with skills from one discipline that help the other area and allow flexibility, this persona can also serve as the integrator who provides critical marketing integration and execution.

Of course, a modern marketer can combine two or more of these personas. Just as a college education is composed of both a major and a minor, modern marketing education can include an overall survey of these personas and focus an in-depth follow-up in areas of interest and strengths and skills.

How are you making modern marketing happen in your organization and guiding your own exciting and personalized modern marketing journey? Here’s 3 Key Best Practices you can leverage on the journey.

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About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is the Senior Director of SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.