With the tsunami of new marketing technology that swells every day, it’s tempting to think that those with the right skills can master it, do more and deliver better results.
But at its core there are some softer skill stalwarts that will always be required and therefore should never be ignored. Blend hard skills with soft and you’ll achieve a winning combination that will see you thrive for years to come. We set out the top ten skills asked for in marketing.
Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
Effective targeting is the foundation of good marketing and it relies on solid data. While analytics help you make sense of ever-expanding data, being able to cross-reference and enrich information is key to developing genuinely competitive insight. And in many cases this still relies on human intervention. Measuring the results of marketing and communications activity will become even more instrumental as customers seek to quantify the impact of your work. It will also help your business learn what works, what doesn’t and make the changes to future campaigns that will propel your clients’ business forwards. Learn how to manage data and leverage the output and you’ll be worth your weight in gold.
Creating Personalised Customer Journey
As automation and analysis takes hold, it’s critical to remember you’re dealing with humans not just facts and figures. If diving into data isn’t your thing, build your CV by becoming an expert in understanding your clients’ product or service from the customer’s point of view. You’ll need to become an investigator extraordinaire eliciting useful pieces of information from your client and their customers and incorporating this with the stories that data tells. Building human customer journey stories that combines all these points of view will lead to genuine marketing insight. And you’ll build a deep knowledge of human behaviour which is valuable to your existing employer and a transferable asset that will make you more attractive in the recruitment market.
With B2B marketers allocating 28% of their total budget to content marketing, being able to tell your business’ story is a critical skill. Yet only 30% of B2B marketers say their organisations are effective at content creation – a year-on-year drop of 8%.Buck this trend by upskilling yourself in the writing department. There are plenty of online resources to turn you into a modern Ogilvy and with more businesses making content everyone’s responsibility, there will be plenty of opportunity to test your skills.
Having the best team with all the right skills is no use if your business can’t sell itself. And that all comes down to the craft of pitch writing. Taking the time to carry out deep and thoughtful research is the bedrock of a great pitch and allows you to create a story arc that sells your company or client and appeals to readers. Become known for landing good contracts and you’ll make yourself indispensable and very marketable.
With so much information available and so many ways to tell brand stories across multiple channels, there’s a greater need than ever for strategic direction. Someone with the ability to take a helicopter view of everything that’s going on. If you can see where you need to go and map out the best path to get there while everyone else gets lost in creativity or focusses on the minutiae, you’re placing yourself in a strong position for managerial roles.
Empathy and Understanding
Although marketing’s main aim is to improve business’ bottom lines, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for empathy. In fact it’s a critical part of understanding customers and really identifying with their challenges. Intimate customer knowledge is critical when designing campaigns but it will also get you out of a sticky patch if something isn’t working. Knowing what you need to do to appeal to customers is paramount – how you go about doing it will come in second. So prioritise empathy over other expertise to create a firm foundation for the rest of your marketing skill set.
Campaign management should be at the heart of any ambitious marketer’s skill set. But being able to map out objectives and manage budgets, colleagues and clients is a juggling masterclass that only some will have the right temperament for.Is it possible to learn this expertise? For some, yes. But you’ll need to start small and work your way up. As many of the skills relate to managing people, this is a highly transferable capability that you can take anywhere and therefore well worth investing in.
Social Media Management
Social media is here to stay so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t learn more about it. And, with less than half of marketers thinking their Facebook efforts are effective, there’s significant room for improvement. Learn what content makes your customers tick and how to engage your audience. Get under the skin of the ever expanding advertising tools so you can understand how to leverage social media to the fullest for your organisation. Becoming an expert in exploiting social is well worth your time. Add this string to your bow alongside strong copywriting skills and excellent data analytics and you could be a marketing force to be reckoned with.
Web Design and Development
In the digital era, websites are an organisation’s shop window. Keeping them up to date, looking fresh and optimised to deliver the best user experience possible is critical. With web architecture and development framework roles one of the most advertised skill sets on LinkedIn, this is a safe bet for the future of your career. Even if you don’t become a web developer, understanding the basics will stand you in good stead for creating content and linking wider marketing projects to websites.
The final skill is more a mindset. As change is the one thing you can always count on, having an adaptive attitude to personal development and an always-learning approach is key. With many of us due to work into our late sixties, you can bet that you’ll look back on your career in 30 years time to find it unrecognisable. Keeping up to date with changes along the way rather than allowing skills to fade or become outdated is a recipe for disaster. Instead, keep on top of your profession, know where it’s headed and listen to experts. Before you know it, you could find people listening to you. Building your expertise with a range of additional skills is a great way to remain relevant in an industry that’s always changing. Specialise in one area at your peril; instead, develop a skill set that will make securing interviews a cinch and ensure you have what it takes for a long and interesting marketing career.