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How's this for a story? At the beginning of the 1990s, the U.S. -- along with a lot of the "developed" world -- was in a recession. Then, thanks to some technological revolutions involving personal computers, cellphones, and something called "the Web," things really heated up.

Seen as key to differentiation, people with technical skills were in high demand and companies paid a premium for their services. Then, there was an organizational revolution called "re-engineering" which encouraged companies to restructure and do more with less. As a consequence, "even" high-tech roles became commoditized and were turned into to contingent "contractor" positions or sent offshore, where equally skilled knowledge workers completed complex projects for a fraction of the cost.
Fast-forward to the present where we're in the midst of another revolution. Although this revolution is also driven by technology - the ubiquity of broadband, the emergence of powerful social networking tools and services, etc. - its impact is not being felt as acutely among the technically skilled. Today, it is the marketing organization that is going through significant upheaval. Marketing segments are being more precisely and narrowly defined (approaching the null-point of "a segment of one"), the number of products is proliferating wildly to satisfy more and more sub-categories of needs, and the channels for dissemination of product and brand-related information or "messaging" are multiplying like the proverbial "bunnies."
As marketing spend increases to handle the growing number and diversity of campaigns, programs, and projects, companies are trying to figure out how to better manage resources and maximize efficiency. Business leaders and consultants are applying six sigma thinking to workflows and processes across the marketing organization from research and analytics to creative services. The demand for specialized skills, such as SEO or e-mail marketing management, coupled with the need to contain costs, creates a cadre of "hired guns" while anything that can be done more cheaply off-shore, from print production to logo design and advertising, is going overseas.
Are marketing departments starting to look like IT departments - a crazy-quilt of contractors, outsourced vendors, and off-shore service providers, all overseen by a coterie of project managers? Are marketing careers starting to look like IT careers, consisting of two basic tracks - contract-oriented job-hopping for the specialists and serial management posts for program coordinators and interim CMOs? Or did this process already start a while ago and I'm only realizing it now?

Continue reading "Marketing Careers: Is Marketing the 'IT' of the New Millenium?" ... Read the full article

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My name is Matthew T. Grant, PhD. I'm Managing Editor here at MarketingProfs. I divide my time between designing courses for MarketingProfs University and hosting/producing our podcast, Marketing Smarts. You can follow me on Twitter (@MatttGrant) or read my personal musings on my blog here.

If you'd like to get in touch with me about being a guest on Marketing Smarts or teaching as part of MarketingProfs University or, frankly, anything else at all, drop me a line.