There are 4 skills that are now more important than ever for current and aspiring marketing professionals. If you’re interested in starting a career in marketing you likely need to have at least one of these skills in order to land a good starting job. If you’re currently a marketing professional, mastering at least 2 or 3 of these skills will make you far more dynamic and much easier to promote. And finally, for director and executive level professionals, understanding what these skills are and how to identify them is essential to building a successful marketing organization.
Modern marketing is all about the data, and effectively analyzing and utilizing that data requires an analytical skill set. ‘Data Scientist’ is the fashionable name for a role that has been increasingly in demand at tech companies (other names for the same role include quantitative analyst and statistician), and these are the people who are typically trained in statistics and dig into solving the really tough problems around data. Sometimes this role is part of a data/analytics team where part of their responsibility is supporting the marketing department and sometimes they are full time members of marketing. While these are the most hard core data people, every marketer should at the very least be able to understand data and know what metrics are important for their particular company or product.
The rising cost of engineering resources, along with the marketing department’s continued reliance on web development and code, means that it is now increasingly important that marketers have at least some engineering or web development background. If you are selling a technical product then these skills are even more important as they will help you understand and talk about your the product intelligently. It’s true that there are a lot of tools out there that allow marketers with no coding skills to do things like create landing pages, emails, A/B tests, etc., but marketing will always have some technical needs, and the more of these needs you can fulfill yourself (rather than relying on engineering) the more valuable you will be to your company. Hiring managers know this and they will place more value on you as a potential hire if you have some technical chops.
Everyone knows content is king, and just about every tech company with a marketing team of at lest 5 or 6 has a content person (usually called a Content Marketing Specialist or something similar). This role is usually responsible for creating, editing, and planning content for the company’s blog, newsletter, Youtube channel, or any other channel they utilize to publish and distribute content. It’s important for content marketers to not only be able to create good content (i.e. be a good writer), but to know how to identify high quality content for their audience and know how to effectively distribute and utilize that content.
There are a plethora of marketing automation tools and platforms out here, but experience in using these tools is not nearly as important as understanding what marketing automation is and how it can be used to improve the overall sales and marketing processes in a company. It’s very common for medium sized startups to employee 1-2 ‘Marketing Automation Specialist’ whose role it is to own the marketing automation platform, and more importantly, to design processes for lead scoring, nurturing campaigns, and multivariate testing. If you don’t know what marketing automation is, start learning, it’s the future (Marketo’s and Hubspot’s blogs are two good places to start).