The Professional DNA of a Hybrid Marketer

As the world progressively shifts online, a hybrid marketer who understands both traditional and digital marketing can be a valuable asset to businesses.

Boundaries between traditionally distinct industries have been erased, and the lines between marketing, customer experience, corporate communications, innovation and insight are increasingly blurred. Customers expect a seamless and consistent experience interacting with brands from all touchpoints, across all devices.

The essence of digital transformation is harnessing technology to engage, connect and create customer experiences across marketing, sales, customer service, product, operations and throughout the whole organization.

Hybrid marketing provides a solution to today’s business and marketing challenges by merging both traditional and digital marketing approaches to develop a holistic marketing strategy.[1]

This hybrid strategy provides continuous and relevant customer engagement through multiple platforms, channels and devices to deepen bonds and earn loyalty.

Traditional marketing such as direct mailing, organizing events, participation in tradeshows & conferences, print ads, radio ads, television ads, outdoor media and offline public relations must be paired up with digital marketing, which includes, website design and development, paid advertising, search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing.

Being a hybrid marketer goes beyond just having the right mindset. One needs to have the right combination of skills and experience, as well.

[1] Sum, J C, “Evolve, Adapt or Collapse”, (2020). Evolve & Adapt.

THE HYBRID MARKETER

Organizations who embrace the new digital economy seek hybrid professionals who are highly proficient writers, are creative, have strong business acumen and understand human behaviour. They are also tech-savvy and analytical.

PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that “a ‘hybrid’ marketer has the ability to fully understand the commercial requirements of a business, the needs of its customers and implement a strategy and tactics that cater to both. This marketer has an intimate understanding of business operations, and it is this knowledge that enables them to ‘walk the line’ and deliver measurable results.[1]

A Burning Glass Technologies study reported that in marketing and public relations, hybrid markers need a combination of right-brain thinking (creative design) with left-brain thinking (analytics and data analysis) to succeed. They are creative designers and analysts rolled into one[2].

Finding hybrid marketers may not be as straight forward as looking through CVs or LinkedIn profiles. Most hybrid marketers are hybrid professionals because they have a variety of experiences and skills, in both formal education and professional experience.

For my career, my seemingly “mixed-bag” of professional experience in different fields has been invaluable to clients who are looking for a creative and imaginative hybrid marketing perspective that is backed by a proven track record.

My formal education is in sociology, English language with a minor in philosophy. But, my professional career before being a full-time hybrid marketing consultant was in live entertainment and show production. This involved turnkey project management, show producing, writing, lighting design and sound design.

Due to the nature of the shows, I worked hundreds of marketing and PR-driven events. I led many of these campaigns and for seven years, worked extensively on producing media content for television and online platforms.

Since 2004, I have published more than a dozen books covering marketing, illusion design and resources on theatrical stagecraft. My books were published in tandem with developing multiple niche authority websites that provided practical experience in website design, content development, search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing.

As a hobby, I also run a YouTube channel with almost 13k subscribers as of this writing that focuses on building custom LEGO cities. The channel allows me to leverage my content and digital marketing experience in video marketing to build an online community.

My particular hybrid skillset and 20-years of experience eventually culminated in me moving towards business consultancy as a certified management consultant, marketer and digital marketing strategist.

Scott Brinker, in a Chief MarTech article, highlighted:

Most hybrid professionals have a rather messy career background — they’ve built websites or business plans, done sales or product development, studied engineering or the arts, learned finance or SQL, become self-taught designers or programmers, etc. There’s a high degree of variance in their experience and education.

As a result, the strength of their different skills and how they’ve blended them together also varies significantly. This is actually a feature, not a bug. That high variance in experience and skills enables these hybrids to bring fresh and imaginative ideas to an organization, to reveal insights from different points of view.[3]

[1] Methananda, Nirosha, “Why ‘Hybrid’ Marketers are Critical in the Digital World“, (May 2015). Digital Pulse, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Australia).

[2] Sigelman, Matthew ; Bittle, Scott; Markow Will; Franic, Benjamin, “The Hybrid Job Economy: How New Skills Are Rewriting the DNA of the Job Market“, (Jan 2019). Burning Glass Technologies.

[3] Brinker, Scott, “The future of marketing belongs to hybrids, but don’t call them unicorns“,  (Jun 2018). ChiefMarTech.

Hybrid Marketing Brain | Evolve & Adapt

TRAITS OF A HYBRID MARKETER

Some qualities and characteristics that are required from ‘hybrid’ marketers include:

Strong Business Acumen

The digitally evolving economy has changed the role of marketing and the function is now a key revenue driver for businesses. As such, hybrid marketers must be able to understand a business’ strategy and translate this to marketing activities to deliver a return on investment (ROI).

Data Analytical Ability

As highlighted in “Behind the Click” (available free upon request), data analytics is an essential component of marketing in the digital age. But, in hybrid marketing, the data spans both the digital and traditional marketing world.

Marketers must have the ability to use different analytical tools to interpret data and subsequently optimize marketing campaigns to achieve better ROI from both online and offline marketing channels.

Domain Knowledge and Expertise

While hybrid marketers may have a wide variety of skill sets, they must have subject-matter expertise in specific fields. They can leverage on this high level of domain knowledge and connect it with other skills that make them valuable to a business. So, while hybrid marketers may be hybrids, it does not mean they are generalists or ‘jack of all trades’.

Understanding Content

Hybrid marketers must understand how to use and adapt content for maximum mileage across all channels. Also, marketers must know how to develop and market content across media platforms to get the most out of the investment.

Understanding the Customer Journey

A modern marketer needs to understand the customer experience and know how to communicate with the customer with different touchpoints at different stages of the customer journey.

A hybrid marketer must understand the customer mindset and have the technical skills to use online and offline marketing tools to engage, connect, communicate and sell to the customer seamlessly.

If you are looking to hire a hybrid marketer for your team or engage a hybrid marketing consultant, it is useful to look beyond the traditional resume checklist items and dive deeper into their experience and background. Usually, it is what is not emphasized in the CV that may prove most useful to you.

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 11 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing and analytics. He is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse" and has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938 and Money FM 89.3.

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