Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans coexisted for thousands of years in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, until, somehow, the Neanderthal ceased to exist. Some believe it was supplanted by a culturally and technologically superior competitor better suited to a rapidly changing world. But recent DNA sequencing evidence demonstrates a more complex possibility, rife with interaction and interbreeding that have left an indelible mark on the genes of modern man. Some geneticists theorize that certain Neanderthal genes proved advantageous to modern humans, allowing them to adapt and thrive in new territories.

Regardless of which evolutionary theory you believe, the result is the same: The paradigm changed for Neanderthals, and they became irrelevant in the face of a more adaptable species.

Are classic, technology-light marketers doomed to suffer the same fate as Neanderthals with the rise of the digital marketer? This new species brings a mastery of new technologies, data and ideas that make him/her more adaptable in a rapidly changing marketing landscape. A classic marketer has two choices: embrace and adapt, or become irrelevant and unemployed. To evolve and better prepare your marketing organization to the modern technological landscape, it’s necessary to understand, accept and immerse yourself in the new technological and data-driven landscape. That doesn’t mean abandoning everything you’ve learned about marketing over the last several decades. It does mean taking only the strongest and most advantageous strategies and tactics (those advantageous Neanderthal genes, as it were) from classic marketing, adapting and applying them to the digital world.