NEW YORK: Marketers who want to thrive in the digital age will need to become "marketing technologists", according to a leading executive from Frito-Lay.

Ram Krishnan, the svp/cmo in North America for PepsiCo's snacks division, discussed this subject at Advertising Week 2015 in New York City.

"The role of 'marketer' has changed to being a 'marketing technologist,'" he said. (For more, including examples of this idea in practice, read Warc's exclusive report: Frito-Lay champions "marketing technologists".)

Should this transformation appear more semantic than substantive to today's digitally-savvy brand custodians, Krishnan sounded a warning about its scale.

"Outside of information technology, no other function is going to change as dramatically as the marketing function. And it's driven by the convergence of three things," he said.

The first of these involves the fact that consumers can now voice their opinions to brands via an increasingly diverse range of digital platforms.

"Consumers are no longer passive. They're active. They want a two-way conversation," Krishnan reported.

A second – and interlocking – development covers data, which is reshaping every part of the communications process, from conceiving campaigns to measuring performance.

"Fundamentally, how we gather consumer insights has changed. We used to be about stated intent: go talk to consumers, what is their stated intent to do certain actions. We don't do that any more," Krishnan said.

"Now it's about data, because data equals consumer information. So at any given time we're tracking six layers of data to inform and educate the innovation pipeline and the consumer conversation that we're having."

And while the advance of ad blocking suggests consumers are resistant to brand messages, the Frito-Lay marketer was optimistic that the right approach could yield results.

"They're willing to give up data as long as you add value back to their lives," he told the Advertising Week assembly.

Working alongside the shifts in the consumer and data environments is the rise of technologies that marketers will need to master.

"I think the one shared objective we all have is to get the content out to the consumer. We want to do that, and technology lets you do it at a speed of light that was not possible before," said Krishnan.

"I think, more and more, we're expecting marketers to be content creators, not just curators."

Data sourced from Warc