The Multi Solution Architect Role

13 Aug 2016 » MSA

There is an emerging role in the digital marketing landscape: the multi solution architect, or MSA for short. You have probably heard of these forecasts about the labour market of the future, when X% of the job titles do not exist today. I would say that the MSA is one of those new jobs. Two years ago, nobody talked about it. Last year, I could see some need for it, at least in Europe. Now, some of my customers explicitly request one. I can even state that I received a job offer a few months ago for exactly this role.

What is a multi solution architect in digital marketing?

I do not have an exact definition, but I will have my first attempt at one. An MSA is a software architect, who provides full solutions to digital marketing requirements, which span various products. In the particular case of Adobe, a multi solution architect must understand all Adobe Marketing Cloud products up to certain extent, all the integrations between them and the core services. The latter two points are really the key to an MSA.

I want to clarify one detail about this role. I have seen customers expecting a single consultant to know in depth all Marketing Cloud products. This is almost impossible. My estimate on the time it could take a consultant to get to this level of knowledge is 10 years. An MSA is not expected to know in depth all products, but to understand them and be able to communicate to the implementation consultants what should be done.

Why now?

I am sure all of you are used to the siloed approach to digital marketing. Various roles work in isolation or do not communicate with each other: content managers, optimisation managers, web analysts, email campaign managers, community managers, paid media campaign managers… This was probably fine yesteryear, but now all organisations have tighter budgets and cannot afford duplicates or ignore synergies. There is a clear need of someone who can understand digital marketing as a whole and provide the best solution for each organisation.

What is more important, digital marketers have now more complex requirements, which cannot be fulfilled with a single product.

An example

Consider the next generic user story:

As a digital marketer, I want to present a uniform and tailored experience to my customers across own media, paid media and email.

No single product offers a solution to this story. If you are are an expert in just a single product or a single digital marketing area, you will start to scratch your head, thinking how you can offer a solution. Someone with a broader knowledge of digital marketing products needs to be involved and see how the different available products can cooperate to provide the solution. Customers do not want to buy “Lego” bricks and build the castle themselves; they want Adobe to provide a complete solution, using whichever products are needed.

Following the previous example, a multi solution architect would suggest something like:

  • A DMP, to create customer segments based on online behaviour and offline information
  • A means to share this segments with other tools
  • A personalisation tool that, based on the previous segments, modifies the contents of the website
  • A DSP to create paid media campaigns based on these segments
  • An email campaign tool that can send personalised emails based on the previous segments
  • A central assets repository with all the creatives needed in each case

All these tools must work at unison, so that a user sees a consistent message.

In future posts I will explain more details about each of the integrations between point products.

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