Marketing has changed a lot over the past 10 years (to state the obvious). During this time, more fads and trends have come and gone than I can even remember.
However, what I have discovered has remained consistent over this time are the core essential skills that I believe every marketer needs to be competent in if they want to survive in this industry that is becoming more and more competitive by the day.
And here they are…
Marketing is all about story. People relate to stories. It’s how you leverage emotion to pitch/sell when you are marketing. Weaving your value into a story is key – show, don’t tell. Anyone can tell you how great their product is. But, it is those that can craft a compelling story about how this particular product has achieved something real and relatable, instantly become more sellable.
The way you present the value of your product or service and relate it to your customer’s pain points directly impacts your lead generation strategy, bottom-line sales and customer churn. The question you want to ask yourself is, are you telling your brand story in line with how you handle customer interactions and engage with clients? You may have the best product/service in the marketplace, but if your employees don’t have a client-centric attitude, your business will struggle.
- Data analysis.
With the recent developments in AI, data has become even more important than ever before. Along with tech that helps collect data, not only from your website but third-party sources, and can compile structured as well as unstructured data, you have a wealth of info at your fingertips to pinpoint your target market and demographics. There is little (if any) guess work in marketing anymore. Today, you have no excuse not to be highly targeted with the data that’s out there.
- Search engine marketing/optimisation (SEM/SEO)
SEO (organic) and SEM (paid) are marketing techniques that help your website get found when people are searching through Google, Bing etc for products and services that you offer. You need to make sure that when someone is searching for your products and services, you appear highly on page one in the search results. Otherwise, you’ll likely get few to zero clicks. SEO tactics are usually more complex, while SEM can be a bit more straightforward since it’s dollars in, dollars out when you’re bidding on keywords. Whether it’s by paid ads that show at the top of the Google search or by the quality content you have put out there, this is a must as far as paid advertising/organic reach is concerned.
- Social media management
Knowing the best social channels to get your message in front of your target market is key to getting more leads. Make sure you are fishing in the right pond by using analytics to know what social channels your prospects interact with and spend the most time on. Know the best times to post on those channels, and make sure to respond to those who engage with you.
For B2B marketers, storytelling on LinkedIn is an absolute must. The new LinkedIn algorithm has driven marketers to create all types of stories in their newsfeed – some LinkedIn stories can even go viral if they get enough engagement. LinkedIn now give preference to the newsfeed, so marketers are needing to learn how to tell compelling stories in order to amplify their personal and company brand.
- Writing and editing.
Firstly, avoid text-speak and Facebook messenger type of writing. You need to be able to write in a conversational, business style that is easy to understand. A good rule of thumb is to write at an 8th grade level – not too simple and not too complex. This way, the widest possible audience will understand and engage with your content.
- Design skills.
Can you make it look pretty? By this, I mean can you take your body of text and match the graphics and layout to make it easy to read and understand and flow well with your message? Everything needs to be pleasing to the eye and make logical sense – especially on mobile devices.
- Spreadsheet proficiency.
Spreadsheets are the basis of organisation. I know many marketers don’t like them, but if you can’t keep track of everything you are doing as far as paid, organic, content distribution and social channel management, you are going to be far less efficient and end up wasting both time and money.
- Project management
You’ve been able to keep everything together and organised. Now can you coordinate all of the moving parts to make it one seamless process so from the outside it looks like a smooth, well-oiled machine? If you can perfect your project management skills, then you will be ready for any bump in the road that comes your way (and they will).
While you continue to hone the essentials in order to keep growing your brand and its presence, don’t be afraid to try new ideas, because if they work, they may just become one of the essentials.
Just make sure that your marketing efforts are continually focused on building a strong brand – one known for being client friendly, knowledgeable and customer focused – and highlight that in your messaging.