8 skills you need to work in marketing
“The modern marketer has to be familiar with a lot, good at many, and master of a few.” – Sujan Patel
I love this quote by Sujan Patel because it summarises what it’s like to work in marketing in 2018 perfectly. There’s rarely an ‘average day’ as a marketer, as each day we end up doing a range of different tasks.
As such, to be a successful marketer is to have a range of skills that allow us to be able to perform a huge variety of tasks.
In this blog, I’ll be looking at the eight skills you’ll need to work in marketing. Whether you’re looking to get a promotion or a new job in 2019.
Marketing professionals are masters at juggling many tasks. One day we might be updating a website and creating social media ads. The next day we’re handling a PR crisis! It’s very rare (if ever) that we don’t have a long list of tasks that need completing. Hence why the ability to prioritise is essential.
Marketing professionals need to know what tasks require urgency, what can wait and when to say no to taking on a bigger workload.
Trello is a great tool for managing lots of different tasks. It’s divided into lists and cards. Essentially, the cards are your tasks and these sit within lists. You could either divide your list into priorities or into particular projects. Within your cards, you can create checklists, due dates, descriptions and more.
Many marketing jobs require some design work or photography. You may need to create banners, ads and take and edit photos. As such, basic Photoshop and Indesign knowledge can be really helpful if you work in marketing!
Even if you’re not required to do any design, you’ll need creativity when it comes to thinking of ideas. Whether it’s coming up with an angle for a blog or finding a new way to reach your audience, creativity is a useful skill. Ideally, you should combine creative thinking with analytical thinking.
Storytelling / writing
Content marketing is an essential part of driving website traffic. Furthermore, content can be used at each stage of the buyer-cycle. 71% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads.
Whether you’re writing blogs, creating invites or drafting emails, good writing skills are a must. You need to be able to write in a clear, engaging style, conforming to your brand’s tone of voice.
If you struggle with the grammatical element of writing, you can always download Grammarly. The plugin ensures your spelling and punctuation are up to scratch!
Another important skill you need to master as a marketing professional is the ability to work with a lot of data, picking out key trends. On a daily basis, you’ll need to analyse the impact of your marketing activities. Plus, you’ll regularly report back to your team.
When taking on new projects, you’ll need to consider your audience, the media landscape, past campaigns and make logical decisions based on this.
Whilst you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, having a good working knowledge of maths is important, particularly in terms of calculating percentages!
People skills are a must when you work in marketing. Whilst many of us work alone or in very small teams, you’ll also need to be good at communicating with the general public, colleagues and superiors.
Marketing teams and other support functions are often the first to get cut during times of trouble. As such, you should always build good relationships and regularly communicate with colleagues and the management layers in order to both collaborate and prove your worth internally.
Another use for communication skills is the fact that a marketer’s entire job purpose is to communicate to the masses! So, you need to know how to effectively communicate with your audience, whether that’s in person, on social media or via your website.
Many marketing professionals have access to a stack of tools that can take the manual side out of reporting, lead nurturing, emailing marketing etc.
Whether it’s Google Analytics, media monitoring or marketing automation software, you’ll need to be familiar with using different types of technology. If you can pick up new technology, easily this will be a really helpful skill during your marketing career.
It’s also helpful if you can successfully navigate PowerPoint and Excel!
Whilst the foundations of marketing haven’t changed much, the media landscape changes a lot. Whether it’s social media algorithms, or the rise in adblocking, you need to be able to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry and be able to update your strategy accordingly.
You can keep up-to-date with the latest updates in the social media world and you should make an effort to regularly read trade magazines and national newspapers.
Another important reason to be adaptable is that often we’ll have to change plans last minute. Perhaps you have a speaker for an event that has pulled out or a campaign that needs changing at short notice. Regardless of this, you should always be ready and open to change within your strategy.
Ability to handle stress
As mentioned above, marketers are often a ‘Jack of all trades’. As well as being able to prioritise your own time, you also need to be able to handle stress effectively. For example, if you’re hit by a brand crisis, you need to spring into action rather than panic and make irrational decisions.
Effective marketers should be able to take a step back, take a few deep breaths and get on with the job at hand. Remember, if you’re hit by a PR crisis, people internally will be looking at you as the expert. So, if you’re visibly stressed, they’ll be stressed. So remember to keep a cool head!