Hybrid marketing: The missing keystone?

Picture1There always seems to be someone selling the latest snake oil online. This past week I came across the term ‘hybrid marketing’ twice. Despite the fact that I read a great deal of marketing blogs and publications, I had never heard this term before. Was this serendipitous, or was it a pocket of marketing that I had somehow truly missed? I decided to dig a bit deeper, and promised myself that I would report my findings back to you, our readers at the SimplyDIRECT blog.

The first fact I was able to confirm is that the topic ‘hybrid marketing’ is indeed trending on LinkedIn this week, and that there are a few folks out there talking about it.

Since hybrid marketing is a fairly new concept, there doesn’t seem to be one completely accepted definition of the specialty yet. The closest I could get was from the Small Business section of Chron.com. They defined a “hybrid marketer” as the individual who works to bridge the gap between the various marketing channels. These individuals must understand how all the intricate parts of a marketing program operate and how they fit together.

…if you ask me, this sounds like a “specialty in generalities”.

I wondered: Is hybrid marketing the latest “buzz word”, this week’s flash-in-the-pan trend that we will spend our precious time trying to understand, only for that knowledge to be out of date or irrelevant before we know it?

On top of my initial skepticisms after reading this definition, I couldn’t help but remember what Isabelle Kane, SimplyDIRECT’s Vice President of SD 2.0, blogged about recently regarding the fact that marketers are overly-stretched as it is. How are we now expected to also incorporate this new task of hybrid marketing into our roles?

But then, after reflecting upon this concept a bit longer, I started to see how it could offer value. After all, if marketers represent a conglomeration of specialists, there should be some role that connects them, the professional glue, if you will.

Some even say it is the future of our profession.

Rick Chavie at The Business Journals notes why he thinks we will see hybrid marketing emerge in popularity:

“Marketing is moving beyond a brands-and-products focus. …It’s a world of data science with instinct, real-time IT with physical Omni-channel connections, and agile 1:1 marketing with mass communication. It’s a rare individual who has mastered it, so rare that hybrid teams are needed to realize the promise of nextgen marketing.”

Curiously, Rick cites many of the same reasons as Isabelle in noting the reason why there has been a sea change in our industry – too many people are spread too thin across too many specialties.From cloud tools to CRMs to SEO, marketers are expected to wield a fully-stocked arsenal of tools.

The latest readings about hybrid marketing are compelling, but I’m not totally convinced. What do these individuals mean to sales, for example? And beyond this is the question of how to measure their performance, whether they will drive lead generation, and how they will fit into the marketing mix.

Am I off-base here? Have you ever heard of hybrid marketing before, and do you think it’s here to stay?