As a marketer and a manager, Hacking Marketing will expand your mental models for how to lead marketing in a digital world where everything-including marketing-flows with the speed and adaptability of software.
Marketing Is a Digital Profession
The central idea of this book-that marketers can benefit by adopting management practices that were forged in the natively digital profession of software development-rests on the premise that marketing has become a digital profession itself.
You may have raised an eyebrow at that assertion. Certainly some elements of marketing are undeniably digital: websites, e-mail, online advertising, search engine marketing, and social media. These are the things that we have labeled as digital marketing over the past decade.
But there are still many other facets of marketing that don't appear to be digital in nature. Traditional TV, print, radio, and out-of-home advertising. Trade show events. In-store marketing. Public relations. Brand management. Channel management. Market research. Pricing. How can marketing be considered a digital profession when so many important components of it still operate outside the digital realm?
Marketing in a Digital World
When Clive Sirkin was named the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Kimberly-Clark-the company behind major brands such as Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers, and Scott paper products-he remarked that it no longer believed in digital marketing but rather marketing in a digital world. 1
It was a simple yet profound observation.
In most organizations, digital marketing grew up in a silo, separate from the rest of the marketing department. There were usually two reasons for this. First, most businesses didn't rely on digital touchpoints as the primary interface to their prospects and customers. Sure, they had a website, an e-mail subscription list, and maybe some online advertising, but those things weren't seen as the heart of the business. And second, digital marketing required a different set of skills, attracted different kinds of talent to its ranks, and often developed a different subculture from the rest of the marketing team. It was rarely well integrated with other marketing programs, usually had a small budget, and typically wielded little influence on marketing leadership.
But then the world changed.
Smartphones and tablets proliferated, all offering instant, high-speed connectivity to the Internet, wherever you were, whatever you were doing. Search engines, such as Google, became everyone's reflexive go-to source for answers to almost any question. Social media-Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie's List, Glassdoor, and hundreds of other specialized sites-triggered a worldwide explosion of information sharing. All kinds of apps, the tiny applications that we download on to our mobile devices, became an ambient part of our lives, at home, work, and school. We became continuously connected to the cloud.
Somewhere around 2012, we reached a tipping point. Digital channels and touchpoints were influencing people's buying decisions for all kinds of products and services, at every stage of the customer life cycle. Such digital interactions were no longer distinct moments either ("I'll go to my computer to check that out online"). They were interwoven into daily life, with the real world and digital world spilling into each other, like hot and cold water mixing in a bath.
Digital dynamics increasingly affected the real world.
This was the brilliant insight in Sirkin's statement. Once buyers stopped treating digital as an isolated channel, but rather as a universal source for information, on-demand service, and social validation for almost any purchase decision, brands that continued to relegate digital marketing to something separate from their core marketing mission would do so at their peril.
We're now marketers in a digital world.
Why Marketing Is Now a Digital Profession
Against the backdrop of a digital world, marketing has become a digital professi