Why You Need Scientists in Your Marketing Team

scientist marketing team

When I started my engineering degree, I never imagined working in marketing. How did I end up here?

Several months ago I saw an advertisement for the internship with contentgroup. I was intrigued by the offer of a marketing company seeking a science or engineering student. As curiosity killed the cat, it was also what caused me to apply for a science internship in marketing.

When I was accepted for the opportunity, I can say that I was sceptical of content marketing or marketing in general for that matter. “Why do they want engineering students?” I thought, “I belong in an electronics laboratory.”

contentgroup had recently started a new division within the company. The Insights Team was created to apply an evidence-based approach to government and public sector communications. The team’s goal was, and still is, to use the scientific method to understand the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and communication strategy. This was the division that I worked in for the past three months.

I worked for contentgroup as a Marketing Technologist. Over the university holidays, I worked full-time on marketing and business problems for contentgroup and its clients. My official role was to integrate systemic methods into business processes. These methods would justify (or not) business and marketing decisions.

Over my internship, I worked on gleaning insights from marketing data. I analysed website traffic, social media engagement, and email click-rates. I used Google, Facebook, Twitter, and MailChimp analytics software to evaluate the performance of marketing campaigns for contentgroup and our clients. I compiled reports and recommendations to improve their tactics and strategy.

I learnt that my analytical and methodological perspective was unique amongst my co-workers. Scientists and engineers are new elements in business. My colleagues would joke that I talked ‘nerd’ and ‘science’ to them. Their laughing stopped after I showed them the data on how to improve the results we give our clients.

Over my internship, I learnt the value of having a scientific perspective in marketing. Not only do we measure, evaluate, and optimise the marketing campaigns, we also help you understand your audience. What channels does your audience prefer to listen on? What are their interests? What other problems do they have? You can find the answers to these questions in your Google Analytics and through surveys.

One of the projects that I completed for contentgroup discovered an in-depth understanding of what the client wanted. Our Head of Consulting, Dave Polglase, had a presentation for an Australian Federal Government Department. The presentation was on the future of content marketing in the Government’s communication strategy. At the end of the presentation, the audience completed a survey that I wrote. From this survey, I discovered that the audience wanted more government case studies of the applicable techniques. This has now become a central component in all our presentations.

Analytics and surveys are some of the best ways for you to understand your customer, client and audience. When you think of traditional marketing, these two factors rarely come into the equation. Before starting my job, when I thought of marketing, I thought of television ads, press releases, billboards, and images on the sides of buses. I thought this was marketing. I was wrong.

This job taught me that my perspective of marketing was arcane. Sure, television ads and billboards are still used, but those are just two tactics in a bag full of tricks. And these tactics of television ads and billboards only work in unique circumstances. In fact, I don’t think we created any TV advertisements or billboards during my time at contentgroup.

One of my tasks was to audit contentgroup’s entire methodology, from the questions that we ask clients at our first meeting to the implementation of a strategy for them. The Insights Team revised and refined the methodology to add scientific rigour to it. This opportunity allowed me to understand how content marketing differs from traditional marketing. The inclusion of owned media is revolutionary. Not only do you cut out the middle man, you create an audience that wants to hear your marketing. Now that’s a way to optimise your marketing budget.

My three months experience in marketing and communications has given me an understanding of the new age of marketing. I am happy to have contributed to adding scientific rigour, feedback loops, and analyses to contentgroup’s processes. The experiences and knowledge that I gained at contentgroup will be beneficial in my engineering career.

Thanks to contentgroup for the opportunity and the experience.

Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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