Being a great marketer requires a fluid combination of strengths and many different areas of expertise: from data analysis and campaign management to non-technical skills like writing and public speaking. Marketing is an ever-evolving industry, so whether you’re an expert or new to the field, there are always new marketing skills to learn that will help you hone your craft and stay current.
A career in marketing requires a blend of psychology, strategy, analytics, design, and sociology. The combination can make marketing an attractive career option for many people, but it can also feel overwhelming as the field continues to evolve rapidly. We can break down marketing skills into three major categories: creative, practical, and hard skills.
Creativity is a huge driver in marketing, and it takes many different forms. From crafting compelling brand narratives to digging deep into analytic tools, creative and strategic thinking is the modern marketer's best friend. Here are some great places to start if you're looking to sharpen your marketing creativity.
Humans love stories. Stories compel us to feel and to do. Generally speaking, if you can truly appreciate a good story, you are already on the way to being a marketer. Marketers use different channels, assets, data, and strategies to tell different kinds of stories. The key is to make the stories feel empathetic, authentic, and compelling. That’s how you get consumers you want your product.
Social media channels are essential for getting your message out to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. The world of social media continues to change and evolve, but it remains the most effective way for any organization to connect with its customers and tell its brand story.
This one seems obvious, but being able to write and edit written content in different contexts will enable you to master certain aspects of marketing. Whether you’re creating a pitch deck or drafting copy for an important Instagram post, strong writing skills form your foundation as a marketer.
Not everyone can be a brilliant artist, but having basic proficiency in visual marketing can maximize your efficiency and provide an important perspective on whatever project it is you’re working on. What does that mean exactly? Visual marketing is when you use videos, pictures, and other types of multimedia content to bolster your brand and connect with your audience. Understanding basic principles of, say, Adobe Creative Suite, is a great start.
These can be both the easiest and hardest to master, depending on the skill. The good news is that there’s a clear path forward in learning these skills, such as online marketing courses.
Marketers are constantly measuring how effective their efforts are. There are endless numbers out there, so it’s important to understand which ones actually provide insights. Data enables you to find answers, test new ideas, and when executing successful campaigns, prove their success to leadership as comprehensively as possible.
Search Engine Optimization has become a critical tool for marketers. SEO allows a business to improve and optimize its digital content on the internet so that search engines are more likely to bring up that company’s website. It can get tricky, but knowing the basics can go a long way.
Research informs, regardless of the topic. It’s no different in marketing. From reading articles to understand your client’s needs to pulling together a list of influencers to work with, research will always be your friend.
Conversion rate optimization. Marketers employ a variety of tactics to bring people to a website. When they get them to the site, they want them to perform a specific action. That can include buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or even just clicking on a link. This is known as “conversion.” Maximizing conversions has long been an essential part of marketing.
You’ve likely heard of or experienced email marketing firsthand on more than one occasion! The idea with email marketing is to create campaigns around emails that contain messaging designed to drive sales. In email marketing, the CTA (call to action) is almost always the end goal.
Simply put, any successful marketer needs to be able to manage a budget. Marketing strategies and campaigns revolve around careful planning and allocating of funds. It’s like a puzzle - and if you can solve it, you’ll be an invaluable asset to your organization.
This may seem obvious or mundane, but like budgeting, any successful marker should be comfortable creating, editing, and analyzing complex spreadsheets. It’s a huge help if you’re an expert Excel user as well.
These are softer skills that are important to many different professions. However, in the world of marketing, they’re essential to a successful career.
You need to have at least a solid understanding of the place your business is focused on marketing to. That can come in many shapes and forms. If you were born and raised in Seattle, then you likely have strong foundational knowledge of that market, even if you’ve never looked at it through a marketing lens. You can acquire market knowledge through research, reading, traveling, and speaking to people. The idea is to get as close as you can to the customers’ needs. As you become a more experienced marketer, you will learn what works best for you and what makes sense for each specific project.
Heard this one before? Being a team player suits any organization or industry, but it’s important to understand how specifically collaborative marketing is in its essence. You will almost always be working closely with people from other teams to complete your projects. Understanding that each team and individual has different goals and workstyles is the first step. Once you establish an effective working relationship with other teams, it’s easy to see how strong the whole group can become as a unit.
Listening is a recurring skill in marketing. Not only should you have strong communication with your own team - you need to listen to customers. After all, what they say will drive your decisions.
Empathy comes from intuition. If you can apply it to marketing by consistently thinking about and feeling the consumer’s point of view, your campaigns will naturally be more authentic and successful.
As a marketer, how you treat people, whether they’re your colleagues, clients, or consumers, has a massive impact. If you can’t relate to your leads, you’ll be lost. If you don’t collaborate well with your immediate colleagues because you don’t want to get close with them, you won’t function as effectively. A lot of it comes down to interpersonal skills, but it also takes effort, curiosity, openness, and respect.
Marketing is ever-evolving. Being able to learn new concepts, tools, and ideas, can make or break a career. Curveballs will come your way. The question is, how are you going to react?
Don’t give up! Marketing is extremely challenging. In marketing, you can spend huge amounts of time and money on something that doesn’t work out. The trick is staying focused and learning from those experiences to get better.
The skills in this list range greatly. Some are ones you have to acquire over time as your career progresses. Others are ones that you can start building today. Whether you’re looking to strengthen your existing marketing skills or to advance your career in marketing-related fields, we encourage you to sign up for Teal to continue your career growth.