Essential Skills Marketing Professionals Didn’t Know They Needed
As the primary creators of branded content for a business, marketers must be skilled in the creative disciplines of writing, design, and storytelling. They must also be well trained in more technical fields like editing, research and data analysis. These are all essential skills taught with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Upon beginning a career, however, many graduates may still be caught off guard by the diverse range of skills that professional marketing demands.
In an increasingly competitive and global job market, the expectations of the marketing profession are becoming more demanding, even as marketing jobs increase by about 10% per year. Marketers are not only the designers and directors of strategy, but often act as managers for customer relations, leaders for business partnerships, researchers, and analysts of performance — all of which requires skills that are taught more thoroughly in advanced programs like an MBA with a concentration in marketing.
Tech literacy is no longer a preference within the marketing field, it’s an expectation as digital marketing is now more prevalent than traditional forms in the industry. Indeed, marketers must understand digital strategy essentials like email marketing and the business side of social media.
Specifically, a higher level of tech literacy is required to manage omnichannel marketing and navigate complex analytics. Some marketing professionals have gone as far as taking courses in information technology to familiarize themselves with some of these updated technological subjects.
In today’s digital landscape dominated by consumer data, marketing professionals need knowledge of quantitative analysis to effectively target campaigns and report results. Handling large-scale market intelligence once required specialized teams of expert analysts, but integrated solutions and artificial intelligence are making the technology more accessible to non-experts now. Though many organizations still hire for advanced degrees in business analytics, digital marketers are now widely expected to know more than just the basics of data analysis and reporting.
As a marketer, it’s one thing to gauge success with metrics like traffic and engagement, but ultimately businesses need to see figures in dollar amounts. To measure key performance indicators (KPIs) like marketing return on investment (ROI), marketers need to know the language of business financials as well.
According to data from Google, leaders in marketing use financial metrics like attributed revenue and customer lifetime value to measure campaign effectiveness. Therefore, familiarity with these toolsets is a quality that employers will likely look for.
Mastery of these skills could be achieved through an advanced degree in finance, but independent learning and on-the-job experience can also suffice for those who are determined to add financial literacy to their marketing toolset. Marketers who can speak clearly to their company’s KPIs are most likely to receive the budgets they need for campaign success, and therefore, excel at their jobs.
Effective marketing does not happen in a bubble. Co-marketing strategies like affiliate programs, brand partnerships, and influencer campaigns are fixtures of the industry.
Surveys reveal that 71% of consumers appreciate co-branding partnerships, and 74% of companies consider partnerships a high priority for their marketing. Developing and managing partnerships can be challenging, however, so negotiation skills are crucial for ensuring ideal outcomes.
Negotiation in marketing means advocating for a brand’s best interest while also demonstrating value for partners. It means developing pitches, arguments, and backup plans. It requires skill with people, conversation, and navigating cultural elements. Although competent negotiation isn’t easily studied or quantified, its practice is essential for success, especially in marketing.
Because co-marketing strategies form within the pursuit of shared outcomes, partnerships always require teamwork. As negotiators and central communicators on such teams, marketers must exhibit strong leadership skills. Even in the case of internal campaigns, marketing professionals must cooperate among departments within the company as well.
Leadership in marketing involves relationship building, accepting accountability, driving results, and managing collaboration. The role of a marketing manager can look a lot like that of a professional project manager. Therefore, a background in project management can be a valuable qualification for anyone seeking advancement in the marketing profession.
As a negotiator and a leader in collaborative campaigns, marketers will inevitably face times of uncertainty and even failure. Harvard Business Review suggests that strategic partnerships fail between 60 and 70% of the time. This statistic highlights the need not only for better strategies from marketers, but also the need for crisis management skills when things just don’t work out.
Effective management in crisis requires agile decision-making, clear communication, and genuine empathy. It can mean the difference between total failure and reputation damage, or saving a relationship and being able to move on.
Where Can Marketers Learn New Skills?
Considering the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of digital marketing, anyone looking to advance their career can benefit from an expanded skill set and a list of professional qualifications. The following methods are the best ways to gain credentials that will stand out on a resume.
A bachelor’s degree is always recommended for applying to marketing jobs, but an MBA in Digital Marketing is an option for those who want to progress into a management position. In addition, you can expand your expertise by specializing in another field such as finance or analytics. Online MBA programs also are ideal for learning on a flexible schedule and continuing to work while going to school.
Professional Development Courses
As an alternative or a complement to an academic degree, professional development courses can provide specialized training with certifications for digital marketing. For example, Montclair University’s online MS in Digital Marketing Analytics degree consists of two stackable certificates in digital marketing and business analytics.
Programs to earn certifications are typically shorter and less expensive than earning a degree, but their focus is more limited than the foundational training that a degree program provides.
A final option for learning new skills is to seek mentorship from a more experienced professional in your field. Mentorship should naturally be part of any entry-level role, but marketers can also seek formal mentor-mentee relationships as well as internships in their field. These types of arrangements will not only bring a wealth of practical know-how, but can be included on a resume to showcase that professional experience.
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