Faaez Samadi
Oct 30, 2017

Today’s marketers: A 'lost generation'?

Facebook's Reynold D’Silva sounds an alarm for mid- to senior-level marketers.

Facebook's Reynold D'Silva warning against the
Facebook's Reynold D'Silva warning against the "lost generation" of marketers at Millennial 20/20

Mid-to-senior level marketers who don’t keep learning will be quickly left behind by their digitally native juniors, according to Facebook’s APAC head of strategic and vertical marketing.

Speaking at Millennial 20/20 in Singapore last week, Reynold D’Silva sounded the alarm that too many marketers were still just box-ticking the basics of the digital ecosystem.

“If you’re somewhere in between [junior and senior], say five to 10 years in, there’s a great risk of becoming a lost generation of marketers,” he warned. “You know the old stuff, but you’re not familiar with the new tools that will make us successful in the years to come.”

To illustrate his point, D’Silva asked for a show of hands for those who understood traditional marketing terms such as media planning, focus groups, brand health charts and trade distribution. Most hands went up. 

But when he then switched to what he believes the future marketer needs to know – SQL queries, retention curves, algorithmic automation, mobile UX design, among others – several hands went down.

“We cannot afford a lost generation,” D’Silva continued. “Right now there’s tremendous doubt and questions about the value that marketing adds. There are companies saying they don’t want a CMO anymore, they want a chief growth officer.”

D’Silva spoke of the ever-changing ecommerce landscape, and highlighted the rise of so-called ‘invisible brands’, such as male grooming brand Harry’s in the US, that have been born, marketed and grown exclusively online. As such, they are invisible to large traditional players who are not versed in the digital world, and don’t see the competition until it’s a fully fledged brand.

“Think of craft beers in the alcohol industry, for example,” he added. “Using unusual channels, they are invisible to you as a large brand. But put 10 of them together, and they’re eating the lunch of big companies.”

Marketers today must also develop MQ—machine intelligence—as they do EQ, D’Silva said, and have a seamless ability to collaborate with computers, machines and software.

“People want instant gratification, but the reality is full of roadblocks,” D’Silva said, pointing to ecommerce issues such as lag times, complex registration forms and useless FAQs.

“Shopping needs to become smooth and seamless. It’s time to automate your marketing, but not mindlessly. We have to develop some judgment.” 

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