Essential marketing skills every professional marketer needs
You need a good marketing strategy no matter the size of your business. Essential marketing skills can make or break a business, from the smallest mom-and-pop shop to the largest corporation.
Because it connects potential customers with businesses, marketing is a thriving business that will always be in demand. Even though it is constantly evolving, specific core skills will always be valuable. Even with the digital transformation of the last few years, and the advent of online or digital marketing, particular skills will always be needed in any marketing job.
Marketing isn’t just about selling; it’s also about communicating ideas clearly and strategically. It’s about helping people realize they need a product or service they may never have thought of before.
Essential marketing skills can be roughly broken up into two categories: soft skills, which you need in any marketing job, and hard skills, or job-specific skills. Here, we’ll focus on the soft skills you need to be successful in a plethora of marketing roles and activities.
No matter what your company does, you need a marketing strategy and skilled marketing professionals to grow.
ABC (Always Be Communicating)
Marketers must take what makes a product or service unique and distill it down into the perfect sound bite or snippet. Your marketing team needs to constantly think about what they want to say, how they want to say it, and the best medium to get out the message. In other words, marketing is all about communication.
As a key marketing skill, communication is more than clear writing. It’s the ability to understand an audience, place yourself in their shoes, and concoct a message that will appeal to them without sounding like it’s a sales pitch.
Communication isn’t just for your target audience, either. You may have the most excellent idea in the world, but it’s not going anywhere unless you can pitch it to your superiors and stakeholders.
You’ll also need to keep your team together and on message. All marketing teams get along perfectly on paper, but team members’ competing egos and human error can destroy a team in real life.
Your communication skills can keep your team on track. Make sure your message is consistent with your team, superiors, and audience if you want your marketing efforts to be successful.
Critical Thinking Skills
When you are a marketer, you have to be able to think for yourself. Ultimately, when you craft a message, no one but you will take the blame if it misses the mark.
A successful marketer needs to understand when to go with the crowd and when to go against the grain, depending on the situation. Marketers that are not independent, critical thinkers do not last long in this business.
Critical thinking is an especially useful piece of your digital marketing skills. Not all technology will streamline your project and make your marketing activities more efficient. Be critical about what software marketing tools you use and when, or when to opt for the old-fashioned, manual approach.
Tactical Creativity and Problem-Solving
Marketing professionals are constantly putting out fires. Deadlines move, clients change their minds, or a news event mirrors your message too closely.
At those times, every marketer needs top-notch problem-solving skills. The problem isn’t going to go away on its own – you need to find a way to solve it.
Marketing is about choosing a series of tactics and executing your strategy creatively. Not only do you need to think outside the box, but you must also understand when to select conservative options.
Effective Writing Skills
No matter how good your ideas are, they’ll never shine if you can’t get them down on paper. Marketers must not only be good writers, they need to be effective writers.
Not every writer can come up with copy that jumps off the page, but marketing professionals need to do it all the time. So clear, effective copywriting skills must be included in any marketing skillset.
Marketers need to take their client’s voice to the ear of their target audience and craft a compelling message. If a marketer lacks basic writing skills, they won’t last long in the business.
Attention to Detail (Don’t Miss the Small Stuff!)
Small details matter! If you miss small pieces, it can destroy an entire marketing campaign.
Copy, graphics packages, a marketing campaign’s start date, and marketing channels all affect whether a campaign lives or dies. Paying attention to the small stuff means you have your eyes on the big stuff, too.
Attention to detail extends to active listening as a marketing skill, as well. We all know someone who doesn’t listen to your side of the conversation because they are waiting for their turn to speak.
As a marketer, you can’t afford to “listen” this way. You need to absorb information wherever you can and use it to craft your message. At the end of the day, it’s your job to find people who don’t know about your business (potential customers) and convert them into paying customers.
Marketers are storytellers. In the beginning, they introduce a concept and grab the audience’s attention. Then, they get the message across clearly and leave the audience with positive feelings about the product or service.
In fact, eight percent of all marketing professionals on LinkedIn include storytelling in their list of skills. Stories matter and everyone is a sucker for a good story.
If the story isn’t straightforward, or the message is muddy, the campaign won’t succeed. Therefore, a marketer must always concentrate on how their entire arc will be accepted.
People don’t buy logic; they buy emotions. So your job as a marketer is to turn your product or service into an emotional appeal that your audience will buy.
Know Your ROI and How to Select KPIs
73% of CEOs believe that marketers “lack business credibility and the ability to generate significant growth.” They see marketers as flighty, creative types overly focused on pretty pictures, while the real work is done behind the scenes.
Know how to set SMART goals and track relevant metrics so that you can accomplish your task within your deadline. Ensure your company knows what you do and that your skills are valuable to the company. Demonstrate this by selecting KPIs that highlight your successes.
When your boss asks you how much you make the company, chances are you don’t know. In fact, 78% of marketers struggle to communicate exactly how they benefit their organization, from corporations to small businesses.
If you can’t prove your worth, your pitch may fall flat. So when your boss wants to know your team’s ROI, have an answer.
Understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Since the advent of digital marketing, every company wants to improve its SEO ranking to generate more traffic to its website. Ultimately, it’s your job to ensure your content enhances SEO.
However, SEO isn’t just a tool to increase traffic. Your clients will be looking at your firm’s rating as well, so it provides an opportunity to market your marketing skills.
If you can’t market your own company well, how can you convince potential clients that you can successfully market their product? When you create content that improves your SEO, you’ll make your business more successful and clients can have faith that you will improve their SEO, too.
Social Media Marketing Skills
If used correctly, social media is a powerful marketing platform, but you have to know how to navigate it first. For example, Facebook and Twitter are wildly popular platforms that drive engagement for brands, so it’s important you add social media literacy to your marketing skillset.
Social media is also a great place to collect audience information for free through reviews and comments. Thus, you get feedback on your campaign in real-time, instead of waiting to collect audience data through surveys and testing.
Social media marketing can greatly increase brand visibility, too, whether you team up with influencers or create viral campaigns. If you aren’t using social media, you’re missing out on a great tool to extend your reach.
That being said, keep in mind that not every social media channel will be right for every campaign. For example, Instagram is an excellent platform if your product has mass visual appeal, while Twitter is fantastic for personal engagement with your core audience.
It’s essential to choose your channel wisely, so get familiar with the different options out there. If you spread your message over too many platforms, it can dilute your message.
Know Your Analytics
Increasingly, marketing is data-driven. You may have a great story and a plan to communicate it well, but it will be ineffective if there isn’t a target audience for your campaign. Analytics skills bridge the gap between creative ideation and practical execution.
In addition, data will enable you to see how your message is being received and pivot if there’s a problem. In other words, analytics help to shape your marketing plan.
There are plenty of analytic tools to help you track how well your content is performing. You need to know how to use these tools and read your data, so you can understand what the numbers are telling you. Google Analytics is a great place to start if you don’t quite know what sort of metrics to watch for.
Welcome Can Help You Leverage Your Marketing Skills
All the marketing skills in the world won’t help you succeed as a marketer if you don’t have the tools and technology to apply them. That’s where Welcome comes in.
Marketers spend 75% of their time on “work about work” instead of… well, working. Using software marketing tools can leave more time for ideating, creating, testing, analyzing – in other words, the work that marketers are hired to do in the first place.
With Welcome, marketers can (finally) spend more time on what they love and what’s most important: bringing game-changing products to market. Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account today!