Welcome to Modern Marketing

Pedro Marzagao
5 min readJul 5, 2018

I clearly remember the first time I heard the word. I was around 17/18 years old and going through my classes plan for the first semester in college, when I saw it. “Marketing”.

Well, not really. I had heard it before for sure, but had never thought of it as something you could learn more about it. That it could be a subject one could study. With do’s and don’ts, terminology and method.

Nevertheless taking those Marketing classes was, I admit, on my top 3 of favourite things to do at that early age. Let’s ignore the remainder.

Here’s something that I heard at the time quoted by a Philip Kotler: “The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner.”

There was something about marketing that was about to change then, back in the early 2000s, that only a few people knew: A new channel was being born. Waves of people were jumping in to dial up connections and broadband, a trendy topic at the time. MySpace was founded. An immense opportunity window was opening to marketers everywhere. The biggest changes since the era

Backtrack a few years into 1994… and the first banner was born. AT&T paid HotWired $30,000 to place the banner ad above on their site for three months. The ad enjoyed a click-through-rate of 44% — a number that would make most marketers balk in disbelief today. To put that in perspective, the average click-through rate on display ads today — 24 years later — is closer to 0.06%.

Just 3 years later and we had our first popup ads rampage. Those were the days! From then onwards we got AdWords, quality score metrics, got hyper targeting, Facebook ads and arrive to 2010 with native ads and the concept of sponsored content.

With the digital era, and as the market became more saturated, smaller and niftier companies with rather not so deep pockets needed to get more creative on making the most out of their buck. With time, acquisition became more and more second to engagement and since then, we’ve moved to a time where product and marketing teams can’t work if they follow the approach of the past.

Product excellence became the new marketing and building a product with an instrumentation mindset is the basis for any intelligent marketing.

Data becomes available, analysts get a purpose instead of a reporting task, becoming data scientists who have the mission of desiccating each and every step of the customer journey, testing, improving and recommending changes as the product roadmap becomes an amazingly efficient assembly line.

At the same time, product managers move from being primarily focused on execution and measured by the on-time delivery of engineering projects, to the more well-rounded role of being a mini CEO of the product, with hats for different purposes, iterating frequently, constantly bringing feedback not only from different teams within the company, but also intimately from the customer through an obsession with usage metrics and direct shadowing interviews, learning how the customer actually uses the platform.

The new product manager is currently indeed the role with the most skill-diverse maturity evolution.

Flexibility, adaptability and capacity to iterate is now rule of thumb. As new venture tech businesses push for growth from the ground up and need to scale in increasingly shorter times, development in house is solely product focused, with one-man-show marketing teams having a new belt of 3rd party tools which they can integrate to in order to expand their own capabilities, independent of internal IT resources.

Automation replaces manual and repetitive non creative work, the search for the latest “hack” becomes trend for the quick-turnaround. However, the real work of the modern marketer comes in with adaptability and with having the right mindset to take a well thought content strategy and manage an inbound omnichannel strategy of nurturing segmented customers with targeted content along the funnel.

The product manager and the marketer.

The first focused on optimising the efficiency of the process, the second on optimising the efficiency of the message, are the true innovation players of the modern marketing that is being shaped with the power of data and automation.

Currently the above structure profiles are the ones that demand a more radical break from the traditionalist approach. They also belong to a structure, that for the speed of execution required, needs to be filled by adaptable people, not afraid to go out of their comfort zone, it’s a structure where communication has to be horizontal and where top and middle managers need to step out of their offices and engage in fuelling teams and enabling their innovator drivers.

Understandably, if in one hand a company’s focus is more and more on digital environments, it can also be hard for smaller companies located away from business centers to have access to such qualified workforce within their range. This is also where a strong culture of remote working brings down recruitment barriers that usually exist within a country or region with a less modernised workforce and working culture.

Remote work is more efficiently applied when you have good communication tools and principles, good documentation and high performer individuals on your teams, driven by inspiring leaders and challenging multi-hat roles, the issues that usually are paired with remote working are more easily overcome. Highly performing teams, due to their natural motivation, ensure that remote work is more productive and with less distractions than the traditional workspace approach. At the same time, hiring the right middle management is crucial to ensure leaders can delegate and focus on the business strategy instead of micromanagement.

While working remotely, middle managers have increased challenges of making sure to create an environment where their teams can communicate effectively and efficiently, as well as keeping them motivated, professionally engaged and personally involved.

Modern marketing can be described then as the natural evolution from the combination of 3 elements: Marketing experience accumulated throughout the years from the age of Madison Avenue, the faster-paced environment of the digital society setting as ineffective the traditional concept of work culture, and finally adaptability of highly performing teams that are driven, and not daunted by change, that are self-learners and knowledge insatiable, that are independent and results oriented.

These are incredibly fun times to be at.



Pedro Marzagao

Marketing & Growth Lead • Xoogler • Product Marketing • Demand Generation • Inbound Marketing