7 New “Must Have” Skills for Digital Marketers Today
In January 2016, LinkedIn had published a study offering insight into the most in-demand skills for the year head. Titled as “The 25 Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2016”, it offered a great insight into the hiring trends of the New Year. It provided a comprehensive list of the hottest skills by country, by market, by industry and also shared the global trends.
If we look at the top 10 in the chart, the list is as follows:
Statistical analysis & data mining
Marketing campaigns management
Middle-ware & integration software
Storage system management
User interface design
However if we look at the entire list, most of the skills are technical and majority relates to information technology. From a marketer’s perspective, we find the following as hottest skills in the study.
Marketing campaign management
SEO and SEM
Reporting & Analytics
This indicates that companies are willing to and will invest more in digital assets, digital economy and digital marketing resources. But is the market willing to reciprocate similarly? Are digital marketers willing to prove out themselves as truly valuable investments for the companies and businesses?
Unfortunately, the situation isn’t that good. A survey by technology training company Grovo indicates that that 90% of marketers are (reportedly) suffering from shortage of digital skills and only 8% of the surveyed organizations feel confident about their digital marketing campaigns. This is one of the reasons why 80% of the CEOs do not trust their Chief Marketing Officer with regards to actual capability of the department to drive revenue and prove its worth. They consider CMO’s too away from financial realities and goals of the organization.
So there is a problem and I’ve tried to briefly explain it. But what’s the solution?
In this article, I’ll try to look at those 7 key skills that can help you (as a marketer) to win your boss’s trust by performing up to the mark. Even if you enjoy good repute at work, polishing these skills will increase your worth as digital marketing professional. Let’s get into it.
1. Financial Realities or Marketing Finance:
Since the biggest issue (identified) with the marketer’s is their inability to follow financial realities and goals of the organization; we need to start from here. A marketer needs to understand the basics of financial indicators. Obviously I don’t ask you to prepare financial statements of the company but you should be able to interpret them briefly. Understanding the balance sheet, income statement, cost of actions, financial goals, stock pricing trends, assets and liabilities ratio etc. will enable you to quantify your actions and think in the terms of ‘numbers’.
With discovery of new ways and techniques of teaching mathematics, finance, and managerial accounts; you can easily improve your fundamentals of marketing finance. A good understanding of numbers, will enable you to prepare financially viable marketing plans, allocate budget rationally, determine measurable KPIs, and calculate marketing return on investment.
2. Data Analysis & Data-Driven Marketing:
As I’ve explained in the previous post on Business2Community, the modern age is all about data collection, its interpretation, and making sound business decisions. IDC predicts a shortfall of 1.5 million data-savvy managers by 2018, which is going to great huge demand for data-driven marketers and data analyzers.
We can see data & analytics in the top sought after skills in LinkedIn survey; therefore, working on data analysis and interpretation is going to be way in demand.
3. Integrated Campaigns Management:
As LinkedIn survey denotes; marketing campaign management is the 4th hottest skill worldwide. In today’s marketing campaign management, there are two fundamental challenges that a marketer needs to work on. First, how to integrate cross-channel marketing to optimize resources allocation and return. Secondly, how to avoid spam and losing prospects’ trust.
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Since there are multiple branches of marketing, and each of them has its own worth. However, the best results are achieved only, when a CMO is able to integrate different channels to optimize their content’s performance. So you need to work on your integrated marketing skills by taking courses or applying self-help tactics. To avoid SPAM, read about the industry’s best practices and mechanics to avoid SPAM. Here’s an infographic which thoroughly explains spammers’ economy and spam practices to avoid. Moreover, keep following authority blogs, Google’s releases, and digital marketing surveys. They are your constant learning sources.
Marketers are only as successful as their ability to communicate their vision, goals and strategy. In organizational structure, communicating with other people is likely to be the most important skill of any professional. Knowing what to say—when to say –and when not say determines the difference between a successful and unsuccessful professional. I’ve seen many SEO guys who couldn’t write a ‘formal email’ to some online publication for some collaboration. Some PPC resources cannot get desired budget simply because they cannot explain their campaign’s vision effectively.
Communication also involves client management and understanding international market’s differences. Respecting cultural, linguistic, religious, and political sensitives is very important is also part of the same. Since you’ll have to communicate with the clients on behalf of the company, it’s important that you understand the sensitive nature of the job. This is one of those 9 key professional lessons that you learn from Silicon Valley. But you don’t have to be too much scared. One cannot be a perfect communicator at any professional level; you always need to learn and improve your skills.
Just don’t hesitate to take advice. Consult with friends and mentors and watch some lectures by motivational speakers and communication specialists. YouTube and Lynda.com can be extremely useful.
5. Team Work:
Though there is a separate list of soft skills that modern business professionals should possess; however, ability to work in the team will top for sure. As marketing has different channels and each channel might have different team lead; therefore, a person’s ability to work with the team will count a lot. If a resource is able to work as team player and also help out other fellows in the department, it’s going to impact the organizational performance. Numerous studies endorse that 9 out of 10 job-fires are result of poor behaviour or inability to work with the team.
6. Combination of SEO & SEM:
SEO is not dead but it certainly has changed very much and you have to learn ‘how’. In modern search engine optimization, you cannot rely on old practices of link building and posting a 400 word article in a particular directory. Modern SEO largely depends on authoritative and engaging pieces of content alongside a fair share of paid advertisement. If you want to rely only on organic reach, it’s not going to work in the long-run. Be it social media or search, organic reach has to be fueled with advertisements and sponsorship.
A resource who’s good in both; SEO and PPC will have greater chances of employment than those with only organic skills-set. Moreover, a modern SEO has to be a good content strategist (if not writer) because whatever may happen; content is the king of search marketing.
7. Direct Response:
Whether it’s a content marketing campaign or an email; the ultimate purpose is to drive business. One of the leading deficiencies in the modern marketers is said to be lack of grip on direct response. Their ability to generate some immediate and favourable response from consumers is highly questionable. The rule is simple; companies need resources who could bring the business and money. American companies send an average of 1.47 million emails per month (CMO Council, Jan 2015) but how many of those are successful?
Here’s a tip; if you really want to increase your income and earn more rewards, work on direct response. People with good selling skills are the most valuable assets for any company because they drive revenue.
I hope the given list will give you an idea to assess yourself as marketing professional and also help in improving your skills-set. If you think I’ve missed out any particular skill or area, don’t forget to get in touch on twitter or comment box below.
Author: Tahir Akbar
Tahir Akbar is an experienced Digital Marketing Professional based in Lahore, Pakistan. Over the past 6 years, he has helped businesses in achievement of their strategic digital marketing goals. He loves to write about tech trends, digital marketing, online branding, search marketing, and emerging digital trends. Follow on Twitter at @tahirakbr… View full profile ›
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