Understanding how to use and interpret data has become a key attribute for marketers in the 21st century, one business leader has noted.

According to Nicholas Green, founder and chief executive of printed.com marketing used to be “more about an idea”, whereas now it has become “very maths-heavy”.

As a result, the skills sets required by businesses have changed, particularly as the growth of online platforms has led to a more data-driven approach to engaging with target audiences.

“We need people who understand data, the sales funnel and the principles of optimisation,” Mr Green commented.

He pointed out that businesses are now required to make use of many different channels these days and find a way of bringing them all together.

This, he said, is a “great challenge” for the marketing sector, as attributing revenue in particular is not easy.

“You’ve got to find people who understand the value of likes and shares,” Mr Green remarked.

Phil Jones, chief executive of Brother UK, flagged up another important trait for today’s marketers, stating that there is a need for them to be more customer-focused than ever.

He said customers have the potential to wreck a firm’s reputation, which means it needs to “retain intimacy and relevance on a human level”.

Mr Jones stated that spending time with customers is therefore the best way to gain valuable insights into what makes them tick.

Indeed, he stated that the more a firm can derive from its own intelligence and as a “sales organisation selling through distributors, resellers, dealers, partners and end users, the better”.

Mr Jones added that marketers could benefit from thinking like a chief executive, as they must be able to process “masses of information” and “provide actionable insights” in order to stand out from the crowd.

Six things CEOs want from their marketing teams in a digital age, The Guardian.

Posted by Robin McCrink