I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in several conference panels in the last few years… I’ve gotten to meet some very cool, very smart people.

Internally, we’ve been working on a series of articles related to the modern marketer, researching the past, present and future of marketing and what it takes to be ready for the position. So I’ve started to look around the various rooms I’ve shared with fellow marketers at these events, and I am noticing some changes. I’m definitely seeing a distinct evolution in the leadership ranks.

Long gone are the days when commanding the “Four Ps” of marketing” (product, promotion, place and price) guaranteed success. Today, it is the consumer who is in command. As marketers, our job continues to be listening to the consumer; and that consumer is speaking to us through a variety of channels, demanding more and more from us as table stakes.

Marketing is firmly in an era of transformation and, as marketers, we must be ready to lead the transformation for our companies.

Even the definition of marketing has changed, from one of process to that of developing a relationship with the customer. It’s no longer about a checklist of two or three media outlets, but about understanding the customer’s needs and how they want to have them fulfilled. Today’s marketer is now involved in an entire spectrum of activities that impact the development and nurturing of customer relationships. Therefore, marketing must determine how to take on a broader role. The digital transformation we have witnessed demands a marketing makeover.

Chief Marketer magazine has identified four critical areas marketers must focus on:

  • Technology and data readiness;
  • Analytics readiness;
  • Business alignment; and
  • Organizational readiness.

Tech Ready—The marketing toolkit is expanding and technology is continually becoming a bigger part of it. The sheer number of marketing technology vendors is astounding. Scott Brinker of chiefmartec.com identified over 3,500 marketing technology solutions in 2016, an 87 percent growth over his 2015 count. Today’s modern marketer must know if the tools and technologies they have, or are considering, support their marketing strategy and to what degree those tools can work together. Does your technology provide you with a view on the behaviors, preferences, interactions and sentiments of your customers? To create meaningful connections with customers we must piece together the many fragments of data that define them. Technology that allows you to tie backlogged and anonymous data to customer profiles will give you a better picture of your customer. That better picture will allow you to develop a better product and experience.

Analytics Ready—Many years ago, I interviewed a young man for a position in our department. As I was talking to him about the advertising position, he mentioned he really wasn’t interested in anything having to do with math and that advertising sounded fun. It took me a second, but I said to him, “Well, you know you have to use math in advertising. Right? You deal with ratings and impressions. You have to understand how to optimize your media buys.” He turned down the position.

A few years later, I wrote a column in Casino Journal about using your database to drive your media buys (September 2014). I got a lot of responses claiming advertising managers don’t work with the database. They do now. In fact, those very same marketers are typically being handed social media, e-mail marketing and the website –areas which require daily examination of data to refine efforts.

Today, the soft marketing skills of yesterday suddenly take on the edge of analysis. Honestly, I never saw it coming. Recently, someone complimented me by saying how strong I was in analytics considering I’d always been on the softer side of marketing. I was surprised that I, myself, had become analytics ready.

Business Alignment—Picture this: your gaming operations team has great plans for the floor; they’re bringing in the newest, hottest slots, they are utilizing their tech solutions to make moves on the floor and your general manager is thrilled to know he (or she) is going to make budget and generate profit. As marketing director, your job is to make sure everyone knows about it.

But wait a minute… the responsibility of today’s modern marketer doesn’t start at the point where everything is ready to be communicated, and it certainly doesn’t stop when the ad runs. It starts long before that. Managing the guest experience means understanding multiple business objectives and goals across very diverse groups, as well as knowing whether they are compatible or incompatible. You then work across the organization to align those goals for the greater good.

Organizational Readiness—Marketers are the glue that can bring organizations together. Today’s evolving customer requires organizational change and coordination across multiple departments. It is critical that solid partnerships be formed across the enterprise.

Years ago I introduced a series of rules on great branding. Jules Rules #3 was “You Must Operationalize Your Brand.” By this I meant that all elements of your enterprise had to reflect the brand. You couldn’t have customers experiencing one thing at the front desk and then something contrary on the casino floor. It’s not about old versus new logos and uniforms. It’s about what the customer expects from your business from the moment they become aware of the business until the moment of purchase and beyond. This requires silos to be broken down and hands to stretch from one department to the other. As the curator of the brand, are you providing everyone with the tools they need to live the essence of the brand at all steps of the customer journey?

Today’s modern marketer is leading the way to the future. Unfortunately, those who stay in the past could be left there.