Whether you run a small business and control your own promotions, or you are a marketing guru, there are some primary marketing skills every person should master if they want to succeed in a sea of advertisements.
The average person sees thousands of ads every day. According to Statista, advertising spending is around $242.54 billion per year, with around half geared to internet ads. You’re up against big marketing firms, companies with millions in promotional budgets and experienced marketers.
If you want your marketing to succeed, you must excel in a few key areas. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, as long as you’re willing to invest time and learn the ins and outs of promotional strategies. What skills do you need for marketing? Here are seven to get you started and strive for success.
1. Know Your Customers
From the first hour of the day until the last, consumers see thousands of impressions. If they drive down the street, they pass billboards inviting them to try a new product or eat at a particular restaurant. Online, they see ads based on searches they’ve conducted or conversations they’ve had. If you want to grab the attention of your target audience, you must know who they are and what problem they need solved.
One of the most important skills you need as a marketer is good research capabilities. Know where to find the analytics for your site, how to survey your customers and what makes people tick.
2. Learn to Tell a Story
In a study by LinkedIn, researchers found about 7 to 8% of marketer profiles list storytelling as one of their skills. People love a good story. Your tale is what makes your company unique. Once people understand who you are and why you are in business, they are much more likely to develop loyalty to your brand.
Storytelling also helps you describe a product and how it helps solve pain points of your audience. If you sell a widget that saves time, your typical customer might be a busy working parent. You can tap into the story of a working dad who just wants more time with his kids, and then explain how your product helped him find more hours in the day.
3. Utilize Inbound Marketing
The best marketers understand inbound marketing is about more than just driving traffic to the website. You want only the most qualified leads, or you’re wasting time and effort. The people who land on your page should be those who have a deep interest in what you sell. There are many ways to bring in users, but not all methods are equal.
To fully understand inbound marketing, you must know how to sort through analytics. A buyer persona helps you target the right users, as well. How you narrow the audience for an ad on Facebook can mean the difference between a great conversion rate and a paltry one.
4. Study the Sales Funnel
It’s also vital you know where in the buyer’s journey customers are. If someone lands on your page and already knows about the brand, can they move instantly to the consideration stage? If they’ve visited before, do you have methods in place to move them to the decision stage?
Marketing should also consider follow-up with those who abandon a cart or make a purchase. What are the next steps after a person leaves your site and how can you change a no into a yes?
5. Perfect Communication Skills
The best marketing professionals have excellent communication skills. Not only do you need to be able to tell a story, you have to tap into the emotions of the user. What drives them to come to your site or seek out a product like yours in the first place?
You should know how to check your work carefully for typos or ambiguous wording. If you aren’t skilled in editing, hire someone for your team who can fill the gap. If you work as a freelance marketer, you may need to chat with clients and come up with a strategy meeting their expectations but also delivering results.
Companies are more invested in hiring people with excellent communication skills. Experts estimate companies with as few as 100 employees can lose as much as $420,000 per year due to communication mistakes.
6. Delegate Tasks
Marketers are in charge of coming up with advertising campaigns, aligning material with the sales department, creating content and scheduling posts. There are numerous tasks required out of the average promotional professional. Learning how to divide those little assignments gives you the ability to focus on more creative endeavors.
If you’re a bit of a control freak, it is hard to hand over something of importance to another person. After all, they’ll never do the job the way you would. However, if you want to accomplish big things, you must learn to form a reliable team and then trust them to complete things competently.
7. Understand Technology and Trends
The best marketers understand new technology and trending pop culture. They tap into these elements to get the word out to those they need to reach with a message. If you aren’t up on what the latest iPhone does or the trending videos on TikTok, then it’s time to set aside the other studies and brush up on the basics.
The better you understand the hot new tech, the easier it is to see how it might impact your marketing. Augmented reality (AR) is all the rage right now. How can your company tap into that trend and offer an AR app that provides an experience to your audience? Read magazines, follow online news stories and pay attention to trending topics on Twitter, Facebook and Google.
8. Ability to Analyze Data
Big data is more available than ever before. According to Statista, data creation will reach over 180 zettabytes by 2025.
If you want to truly find success with your marketing efforts, you must develop the ability to dig through analytics and isolate the areas needing the most work. How successful was your last campaign? Which audience segment responded best? What can you learn from each set of data to improve what you do and how you do it?
It’s vital you not only understand how to utilize analytics software but the right questions to ask to improve your work. You have to become a bit of a techy to understand the best way to generate reports but the extra effort pays off in better marketing results.
9. Get Organized
Marketers who are organized tend to not repeat efforts. If you keep social media calendars up to date, for example, you’ll be prepared for any holiday or big event. Ideally, you’ll have a basic calendar fleshed out for the entire year. You can then go in and tweak when big events happen or you have a sudden opportunity or big news.
Anyone working on your team will know what’s coming up and their role in completing assignments. Project management software can be a great boon to marketing teams to make sure everyone is on the same page and no work falls through the cracks.
10. Think Ahead
As a marketing guru, you must learn to think ahead and plan for the latest technology and trends. For example, many consumers’ priorities changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing what people care about in the current moment and having the ability to pivot helps companies stay on top of rapidly changing societal norms.
You also have to consider how to best measure success. How can you know if a campaign was successful or not? Creating separate landing pages and offers is one way to ensure you know where sales came from or whether new subscribers resulted from a particular ad.
11. Develop Writing & Editing Skills
No matter what your role on the marketing team, having a solid set of writing and editing skills pays off. If a content creator fails to deliver or submits something barely readable, you can step in and rework the material into something your users want.
Editing is a must to ensure anything your team puts out is as perfect as possible. The brand wants to present a professional image to the outside world. The last thing you need is social media posts filled with typos or white papers with awkward phrasing. Basic editing skills save the day.
It’s important for content to go through multiple edits and several sets of eyes to make sure nothing major slipped into the material. Consider the underlying meaning as well to avoid getting your clients into hot water with the public.
Don’t Compete, Excel
Don’t waste your time worrying about what other marketing professionals do. Focus on reaching people where they spend the most time. You’ll never find success copying what others do. Mimicking only puts you a step or two behind others in the industry. Be one of the innovators in your field. Think about how to best reach your customers on a personal level and your skills will always match your needs for promotion.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.