Marketing’s role has evolved over time. In some organizations, marketing has become so important that the position has evolved into a C-level role. Marketing is responsible for creating and monitoring everything a company says and does to build and maintain a loyal, enthusiastic and engaged customer base. Its connections to other departments such as IT, sales and customer service, the increased use of technology and access to continually emerging platforms make it more encompassing than ever before. Similarly, as the duties and responsibilities of marketers have expanded, so have the skill sets marketers need to master in an increasingly complex, interconnected and digital marketplace.
Skill Sets to Look for When Build Your Marketing Team
While products and services vary, the ability to understand the marketplace and the needs of prospects and customers remains consistent. That’s why these critical skill sets withstand the test of time.
- Effective communicator. Being an effective communicator covers a wide range of talents including speaking, writing, presenting, facilitating, listening and summarizing. To develop those skills starts with a mindset involving a desire to understand and empathize with others’ needs and interests. Stephen Covey coined the term “empathetic listening,” in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the ability to listen to the person’s words and understand what a person is feeling from their perspective. Serial entrepreneur Deep Patel states, “Nothing is as mind-broadening as allowing yourself to really see the world from another person’s perspective. When you focus on the value you give to others, you start seeing other people’s needs more clearly.”
- Storytelling. You may think that communication and storytelling are one and the same, but they are quite different. Not all effective communicators are good storytellers. Bel Booker at Attest, “The aim [of storytelling] is to make the viewer feel something—enough that it’ll inspire them to take action. Storytelling in marketing helps consumers to understand why they should care about something, and it works to humanize your brand.” Storytelling can include highlighting customer experiences and successes and tells the history of your company and the individuals within or humanizing the processes by which your company develops and delivers your products and services.
- Organization and prioritization. It is vital for marketers to operate with a plan. Without one, companies fall prey to trial-and-error or end-to-end marketing. This guarantees companies will spend more time, money and energy than necessary. It may seem obvious, yet only 32 percent of B2B marketers say they have a documented marketing strategy. An Eisenhower Method Matrix. Use management software and consistent communication to keep team members on the same page.
- Analytical decision-making. In an increasingly data-driven world, marketers need to understand how data is collected and used. Additionally, they need to know how it is accessed, shared and analyzed for future action. Analytical skill is important not only for effective marketing but for broader business decision-making as well.
- Creativity. According to Lisa Laporte in her 2018 article for Thrive Global, “Creativity in marketing involves the generation and execution of unique ideas that communicate a message in an original way.” For instance, a brake shop can simply offer brake pads for sale. However, using creativity, that same brake shop can show the consequences of not changing brake pads. Creativity simply allows a message to be remembered, which can lead to higher brand recognition and sales. In a highly saturated and global marketplace, creative marketing helps companies and brands stand out from the crowd. Rachel Pewsey of Ayoa states, “Creativity is the secret weapon to outsmarting, rather than outspending, your competition.” Coming up with original ideas requires visioning skills, staying on top of trends, understanding what your competition is already doing, looking for new ways to capture the interest of others and a willingness to think outside the box.
- Collaboration and teamwork. We all know the adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” However, research shows that 97 percent of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. It’s important to initiate a culture of collaboration from the top. From there, you can achieve synergy within a team, across departments and with your target audiences. That environment facilitates finding new solutions to old problems. Creating collaborative solutions requires marketers to believe in their brand, ignite the interests of colleagues and recognize the value of the expertise of others. Also, marketers who foster collaboration and teamwork demonstrate a tolerance for trial and error, compromise, negotiation and constant revision.
- Ambition and drive. Successful marketers are committed to and passionate about their professions. They seek to excel. Psychologist, and speaker Sherrie Campbell talks about how passion transforms into ambition. “Success of all types begins with passion,” she says. “Passion originates from the simple love of doing something, whereas ambition drives your passion towards the destinations you aspire to reach. Ambition transforms your passion from a thought to a thing. It moves your passion from your heart and transmutes it into the determination to follow through on the actions that must be taken to produce the results you are aiming for. The stronger your passion for something, the more intense your ambition.” To maintain the skills and knowledge necessary to stay ahead of the competition, marketers must have the drive to better themselves, their teams and their brands.
Learning Never Stops
Whether you’re seeking an entry-level position or honing your skill sets after years in the workforce, an aptitude for learning and continuous improvement is essential to achieve expert status in your field. At the same time, while trying to stay on top of trends and new technologies, it’s also important to evolve personally. Take the time to learn and develop the habits that turn marketing practitioners into marketing leaders.