According to a study by the Korn Ferry Institute, the average age of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is 52 so current day CMOs were first entering the workplace about 30 years ago. The industry has completely changed since then. The same study showed that the average tenure of CMOs is 4.3 years because the marketing field is constantly changing.
The internet, big data, and smartphones were nonexistent 30 years ago - merely gadgets used in space treks or Marty McFly’s imagination. Now they are the driving forces behind marketing and there is an entire generation growing up with and mastering these technologies.
The younger generations filling the entry level positions in companies have the advantage of having extensive knowledge and the ability to quickly learn this technology.
While there are benefits to taking a step away from social media, marketing on the web is the modus operandi to gain, track, and communicate with consumers. Marketing firms need to leverage their younger employees’ expertise.
Optimizing technology opens up doors like never before in terms of knowing the consumer well enough to personalize and cater content to target prospects and collect information to understand the consumers’ preferences. Any insight found in the lower level positions should inform the higher levels’ decision.
Since senior marketing leaders generally handle the overall strategy, their experience with business and operations is crucial. Their lack of familiarity with digital trends can be harmful. Not to say that these individuals cannot master the tech, but that they are digital immigrants rather than natives.. A study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlighted by Adweek stated that advertising is run by young people - about “59 percent of employees in the ad industry are ages 25-44.”
The experience of the older generations in senior positions is immensely valuable and should not go unnoticed. Senior level marketers have climbed the marketing career path and have perspective. They have watched the preferences of the consumer change and, as representatives of the consumer’s voice, know how to adapt quickly, and respond to change.
How can the gap close?
Some gap will always exist. Technology is not going to stop advancing. If anything, 30 years from now artificial intelligence will assist in all digital marketing efforts. No one can predict what will happen, but, as always, the industry will evolve (and likely rapidly due to the pace of technological progress).
Communication, a level of listening and understanding, and collaboration between senior and junior marketers is necessary for any team or marketing endeavor to succeed.
Related - If you’re interviewing candidates for a marketing role, consider these unique marketing interview questions.
Marketers in the middle, the 30-40 year olds who have traditional marketing chops and the technological knowledge, now have a huge opportunity to guide marketing strategy from a position of strength and bridge the gap. Now is the time for them step up.