The Evolution of Mixed Martial Arts and the Ultimate Marketer

What are the skills that today’s modern marketer needs to learn and practice in order to become the best at what they do for their brand or agency as well as for their end customer?

It is a question that needs to be asked more often because of the increasing degree to which marketing and advertising is evolving to reach new customers as well as positively influence and keep existing ones.

Far too often though, efforts are put into specific siloes whether it be internal or external teams working on projects and campaigns; people hired to fill specific gaps or tasks; new ‘shiny object’ channels or technologies that emerge every year; or the heavy expertise and focus required for each specific effort.

Today’s successful modern marketer needs to have a working understanding of so many skills and abilities including SEO, PPC, reputation management, content marketing, social media management, CRO, TV, video, website development, branding, influencer marketing, data and targeting, artificial intelligence and machine learning, graphic design, technology stacks, audio, e-commerce, sonic branding, campaign management and operations, local listings, PR, copywriting, budgeting, email marketing, affiliate marketing, CRM, list building, social media advertising, call intelligence, project management, CX, analytics, attribution, chat, podcasting, agency or brand, and much more. Mastery of any of these could be the focus of an entire career and a ‘black belt’.

Further complicating matters in the last couple of decades is that each specific channel and/or practice has its own special skills to develop such as Facebook vs. Tik Tok, Google vs. Bing, desktop vs. mobile, etc. Each of these skill sets contain complex components that need to be learned in order to perform at an optimal level.

While all of those skills are important, it barely scratches the surface with the need to learn much more about all of the intricacies of the actual business and how that business services its end customers.

A comparison can be made between the evolving marketer’s skill sets and those of martial arts, which has evolved over centuries into what we now recognize in the skills of MMA (mixed martial arts) practitioners.

The term martial arts originates from Latin and means “arts of Mars.” Mars being the god of war.

Martial arts often refers to the various fighting arts originating in East Asia. Martial arts originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. However, the practice of martial arts dates back much earlier and more broadly than Europe and East Asia to when armies were trained in specific fighting techniques and combat practices.

Examples of these would be specific fighting techniques originating in Greece with wrestling, Okinawa with Karate, China with Kung Fu, Korea with Taekwondo, France with Savate, Japan with Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, Russia with Sambo, Brazil with Capoeira, and so many more.

As warring cultures and armies fought, they also learned from each other and adapted skills from one fighting practice into their own.

A prime example is BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), which was developed and modified in the 1920’s by the legendary Brazilian family the Gracies. Hélio Gracie is often referred to as the ‘Godfather’ of BJJ. Several of the Gracies, including Hélio and his brothers, were taught traditional Kodokan Judo by a Japanese judoka. After learning the ways of Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, they eventually developed their own self-defense system named Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Hélio’s grandson Royce Gracie, a BJJ expert, later became the first ever UFC champion in 1993 when he defeated several much larger opponents in the first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament.

Yet even today, so much of being a successful MMA fighter is having a broad-based understanding of so many of the various fighting arts, whether it be stand-up fighting skills used in boxing or karate or the ground game fighting skills practiced in Jiu-Jitsu or wrestling. The modern day champions of the sport have a strong base in skills like wrestling but are no longer siloed practitioners of any one skill.

As digital channels converge on multiple platforms, many of the skills from each type of marketing practice and advertising channel are required to better work together in order to attract consumers as well as earn and keep customers.

The journey of these modern day fighters can be compared to the modern day marketer. Careers often start with strong expertise in subjects such as website design, social media, or paid search advertising. However, marketing has evolved to require a much greater need for a much broader understanding than what exists in any one particular area of expertise or component of marketing or advertising.

Why is that? It is because at the end of the day, the modern day customer does not live in any one channel. They move seamlessly from screen to screen, TV to social network, Alexa to Siri, blog to email, etc. Having a deeper understanding of the attribution of each of those channels as well as a better understanding of working knowledge of the total journey and customer experience is crucial to becoming a successful marketer.

For so many years, we have been told that it takes seven “touches” before someone will act upon your marketing efforts, generally through what is known as a call to action. This could be a physical or in-person connection, a digital experience with an ad, your logo on a brochure, a social media post, a newsletter, a promotional email, etc. Each of these requires a specific level of expertise in creation and delivery. With automation today delivering so much more noise and so many more messages, that number is often much higher.

Yet what remains true is that a better understanding of how these work together in marketing and advertising requires a much more comprehensive approach based on several specific skill sets that continue to evolve as well as a much better understanding of attribution and optimization. The “ultimate marketer” delivers comprehensive and strategic results that most importantly impacts and influences the lives of their customers in a positive way for their brand.

Ai Media Group fights for its clients, helping marketers and enabling brands to become champions by leveraging the most innovative advances in marketing and advertising technology with optimized campaign performance.

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