Businesses Everywhere Are Reinventing the Future of Work. But Are E-Commerce Marketers Ready?
E-commerce marketers have been preparing for the future of work for some time now — and it's not simply because they're digital natives. What do e-commerce marketers know that other pros don’t? I’ll unpack that idea by turning to research Sidecar published earlier this year, the 2021 E-commerce Marketer Survey.
A key question we asked marketers was to name the biggest factors that drive their team’s success. Interestingly, the three most common factors reported are more relevant now than when we published the report. I’ll zero in on each, and explain why these factors are critical to excel in the future of work.
Success Factor No. 1: Skills and Expertise
The COVID-recovering world is transforming the nature of work and the skills required to perform e-commerce marketing jobs. E-commerce marketers are well aware — 41 percent of survey respondents said that skills and expertise are a top factor in their team’s success.
But which skills and expertise exactly? We asked respondents to provide a free-form response to the following question: What skill or training do you think would be most valuable for you to obtain in order to advance your career? We found that responses fell into three distinct buckets.
Here’s a look at how we defined these buckets and some example responses.
- Technological: skills related to using certain software, tools and technologies
- Example responses: “data analysis,” “Google Ads,” “better use of automation”
- Cognitive: skills related to critical thinking, strategic decision making, and planning
- Example responses: “better understanding of core customers,” “social media strategy,” “adaptability to evolving marketplaces”
- Social: skills related to management and leadership
- Example responses: “leadership,” “improved delegation,” “people management”
With 55 percent of responses centering on technological skills, it’s clear that marketers realize the value of technology. Even though the e-commerce marketing industry continues to develop and adopt automation technologies as we move into the future of work, marketers don't feel they're being ousted by technology. Rather, marketers want to control how they leverage technology by developing skill sets around it.
Success Factor No. 2: Data-Driven Decisions
Thirty-three percent of survey respondents said data-driven decisions are their team’s top success factor. Consider its importance today: The pandemic has forced consumers into digital channels to shop, work, communicate and socialize. As a result, e-commerce marketers are under pressure to perfect their digital advertising and marketing campaigns, and they know they won’t get there without data-driven decision making.
At the same time, according to our research, marketers are exercising a wide range of data usage in their decision making. Some teams are very data-driven, some are very instinct-driven, and many are in between.
The sweet spot from our perspective? Seventy to 30, favoring data. That’s because data naturally should carry significant weight in a performance-driven discipline like e-commerce marketing. That said, data becomes meaningful and actionable through the addition of human experience and strategy.
If you’re looking to strike the 70-30 ratio on your team, consider this: Every team member should have accountability for measurement and reporting on some level. In addition, think of ways you can pair data-savvy marketers with dedicated data analysts.
Success Factor No. 3: Strong Collaboration
Heightened collaboration is here to stay, and e-commerce marketers know it. Thirty-three percent of marketers reported “strong collaboration” as a success factor. Our research also suggests that strong collaboration is related to the expansion of marketing channels, including search, social and marketplaces.
This chart below shows just how many channels are vying for marketers’ attention and dollars. If marketing teams are to gain facility in myriad platforms, they must develop experts who understand a channel deeply, and then share knowledge and come together to build full-funnel strategies.
Technology, shopper behavior, and the competitive landscape are requiring marketers to build and flex new muscles. Research shows that e-commerce marketers have a very good idea of how to excel in the future of work. Their challenge now will be executing upon those instincts. Take stock of your team’s top success factors and how you can put them into play for the future of your work.
Janelle Kozyra is the director of content marketing for Sidecar and part of the research team for Sidecar’s 2021 E-Commerce Marketer Survey. She's a career-long digital marketing professional, and has covered the retail marketing industry since 2015 for Sidecar’s content hub.
Related story: 7 Ways E-Commerce Marketers Are Evolving Their Roles and Teams in 2021
Janelle Kozyra is the Director of Content Marketing for Sidecar and part of the research team for Sidecar’s 2021 E-commerce Marketer Survey. She is a career-long digital marketing professional, and has covered the retail marketing industry since 2015 for Sidecar’s content hub.