13 Skills That Every Marketing Professional Needs to Succeed

by on Jan 26, 2017 in Careers

Looking to dive into the exciting, ever-changing world of marketing? Or maybe you’re just starting to dip your feet in the water. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

You see, before sending out those job applications, you’ll want to take a step back and really evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to marketing. We compiled this list to help you do that—so that when those interviews roll around, you can really sell yourself and show off all the marketing skills that you know you have. More importantly, you can improve the weaknesses that you identify, so that when hired, you’ll be the very best marketer you can be.

Oh and for all those seasoned marketing veterans out there who think they have got it all figured out…this list might just remind you of a few skills you could brush up on, as well.

So without further ado, here are the top 13 must-have skills for marketing professionals.

1. Adaptability

The world we live in is constantly changing, and with it, are the demands of consumers. In order to avoid falling behind, marketers must be aware of and able to adapt to change as it occurs.

Some people thrive in a consistent environment, where things stay the same and are somewhat predictable; these people should not be marketers. Because in marketing, uncertainty is the name of the game—you therefore must be able to adjust your strategies as technologies evolve and the needs and desires of consumers change.

2. Results-Driven Mindset

Are you more about the journey or the end result? As a marketer, you should be primarily focused on the latter.

Marketing is really all about one thing: conversions. There’s no point in blogging twice a week or continuously posting to social media if it’s not resulting in any leads or conversions. As a marketer, you must always be thinking about your end goals and analyzing results to determine what works and what doesn’t.

3. Storytelling

It doesn’t matter the age; from three years old to 93 years old, human beings are drawn to stories. So if you know how to tell a good story, congratulations—you’ve mastered one very important marketing skill.

4. A Zest for Learning

In order to remain abreast of the latest industry news and trends, marketing professionals must always be reading (or skimming, depending on time limitations), observing, and soaking in information. For that reason, curiosity and the desire (or at least the willingness) to learn are sacred traits for marketers.

At SUCCESS agency, one of our core values is always growing; so once a week, each team member is required to devote one hour to what we call Intentional Learning or actively learning something new (whether it’s through a valuable book or an online course).

Tip:  Incorporate Intentional Learning into your life. Set aside some time each week to actively learn something new or improve a skill, whether it’s studying Chinese or taking a cooking course. But make it a priority. Speaking from firsthand experience, if you don’t actually schedule in learning time, it can be easy to let another week go by and not do anything.

5. Copywriting

From blogs and e-books to website copy and e-mails, as a marketer, you will never have a shortage of content to write. But college essay writing is a bit different than the type of writing you will be doing as a marketer. It will obviously depend somewhat on the brand, but copywriting generally requires a more personable, conversational tone. You’ll need to be able to get into the mind of your buyer persona and then write as if you are speaking directly to them. And of course, you’ll have to be persuasive. Do you think you can convince someone to convert in just a few short words? That’s what writing for marketing is.

Tip: If this isn’t one of your strong suits, start subscribing to as many e-newsletters as you can. See which subject lines make you want to open them and which copy you find particularly interesting—and then ask yourself why. Analyze websites, as well. What “About” page makes you want to join the team? What CTAs make you want to purchase? Think about the language that is used and why it’s effective.

6. An Eye for Design

From the creation of visually enticing infographics to attention-grabbing websites, design plays a significant role in marketing. Unless you’re a designer, you’re probably not going to be able to create an infographic or design a website on your own; rather, being able to recognize good design from bad design, especially as it relates to your audience, is what’s important. Can you visualize? Can you pick an eye-catching image to best represent the message you’re trying to convey? How about a photo that will generate a lot of likes on Instagram?

Tip: If this is something you struggle with, start researching what differentiates good design from bad design. If you’re feeling ambitious, there are even some free courses out there that you can teach you the basics of design.

7. Technical

As a marketer, you’re not going to need to know the complete ins and outs of technology. But the marketing world these days is so utterly dependent upon the evolutions of technology that it pays to be at least a bit tech-savvy.

There will be times when you’re trying to get that email set up in Hubspot and the banner looks a bit off or the formatting isn’t quite right. Or you need to make a quick website change and the developer isn’t available to help. Knowing just a little HTML and the basics of WordPress will go a long way for the little things that occasionally need tweaking.

8. Team-Oriented

A career in marketing is not one in which you are secluded in a cubicle with zero communication with the outside world. On the contrary, you will be constantly collaborating and coordinating with different team members and clients to achieve the desired end results. Everything is a team effort. The marketer can’t do their job without the designer and developer to help create the finished product. And the developer’s job is practically meaningless if there is no one to market their creation in the end.

Working in such a fast-paced, perpetually evolving industry, there will be times when you will likely need to do things that don’t fall under your exact job description. Successful marketers maintain a positive demeanor, are easy to work with, and are willing to step up to the plate and help out their team members from time to time.

9. Proactivity

Do you wait until all your clothes are dirty before finally doing that load of laundry? Or do you do it while you still have some clean clothes left in your closet? If you’re proactive, you’ll probably do the latter.

Being proactive, or planning ahead and taking charge of problems before they even arise, is a crucial skill that every marketing professional should have—or at least strive to have. You can’t control every situation—but you can control how you handle it.

Tip: If you consider yourself to be more reactive than proactive, it’s not too late to change. Start to train yourself to think more proactively. Plan ahead, and for every situation, anticipate any potential obstacles that you might encounter. For instance, if you’re driving in the middle of nowhere and you see that you have half a tank of gas left, you might consider filling up the tank at the next gas station you see (as opposed to putting it off and waiting until you are low on fuel with no gas stations in sight).

10. Detail-Oriented

Working in such a fast-paced industry like marketing, it’s easy to slip up and make a mistake from time to time. It happens to the best of us. Unfortunately, even just a few typos or sloppy mistakes can undermine a brand’s credibility. As a marketer, it’s therefore important to have a keen eye for detail, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the big picture.

Tip: Whenever you publish anything online or send out an email, be sure to put the copy through Microsoft Word (Spell Check) first. It’s certainly not foolproof, but this way you can at least catch any major spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

11. Consumer-Focused

Plain and simple: Marketing revolves around the consumer. Rather than focusing on your products or services, as a marketer, you must think about everything from the eyes of a prospective customer. Why should people be interested in what you have to offer? What can you do to make the consumer’s experience with you as enjoyable as possible? Take a holistic approach to your marketing, and recognize that it’s about more than just sales at the end of the day.

Here’s our advice: Always put your consumers first and keep them at forefront of your marketing strategy. It’s really as simple as that.

12. Vulnerability

Being vulnerable is all about putting yourself out there. It’s about proposing or testing an idea that might end up failing. Why does it matter? Vulnerability is the key to innovation. Companies or individuals who always take the safe route, for fear that they will mess up or look foolish, are generally not the ones that succeed in the end.

So don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Remember that success arises from trial and error.

Tip: If you haven’t already read it, pick up a copy of Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. If nothing else, check out her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.

13. Analytical

What is the click-through rate for your Google AdWords? What is the bounce rate of your website? What’s the conversion rate of your emails?

This should come as no surprise, but a career in marketing generally requires some data analysis. Understanding and being able to interpret data is a vital skill if you work in marketing. After all, data is just a bunch of numbers until it’s analyzed and turned into profit.

Putting It All Into Action

Even if you’ve only mastered a few skills on this list so far, don’t be dissuaded from a career in marketing. The important thing is that you are aware of what you need to work on and how to polish your skills so that you can really succeed as a marketer.

Just be sure to give us a little credit when you become the next marketing superstar!

About the author of the post
Mary Blackiston is the Content Marketing Specialist for SUCCESS agency.
  • Sheila

    Great article!!