40 Must-Have Marketing Skills
There are some skills you need to own if you want to ace your career like a motherfu*ker, no matter if you’re a rookie, a mid, or a self-taught marketer. Check out these 40 key skills to be a marketing executive!
There are plenty of marketers out there — and lots of them ask me about what they should learn or focus on all the time!
So I thought about making a list of things to be considered by a person when they just step-in on their marketing role/to a new company and they aim to become an exceptional asset for the company. Skills to be a good marketing executive.
The key is to be the value amplifier of your company!
To increase the perceived value of your company so customers fall in love with your product and services, stay loyal to you, and tell others about it too.
Let’s assume you already know a bit of content writing, social media, and other basics, ok? What is next?
Here’s a list of key marketing skills that are completely overlooked by rookies when they want to grow (and by startup founders when they hire a marketer)
One way or another, marketing covers the company image, the customer experience, the services/products’ presentation/package, and quite a fair budget. We may screw up — badly! Let aside your ego and be willing to admit it when sh*t hits the fan.
Take ownership and responsibility for everything you work on. Learn from every mistake and transform them into key-takeaways and opportunities.
Analytics is not just a bunch of data with pretty charts, but key information regarding your customers and your actions. And if you properly understand it, you will know what to create, add, keep, optimize, or completely rethink in terms of marketing actions. It requires a lot of attention to detail, analytical thinking, and a pragmatic approach.
If you don’t understand why you have to track data, nor how to measure it, what to look at, and how to convert all that information into marketing action points and changes, you won’t be able to fully perform.
Business strategy & Entrepreneurship mindset
Yes, you are a marketer, but you need to understand the core of a business and its direction. Once you know the company goal, you have to align it with all the marketing efforts — and, ideally, find even more opportunities on the market.
Go down the rabbit hole and fulfill your curiosity!
Ok, it is a buzzword, I know. But you really need this!
You need to ask why every time you do something: why it works? why it doesn’t work? why do we target this audience? why don’t we target that audience? why do they need this product? Understand the pain-points, why these customers chose you and why are they still with you.
Check what made the others churn and map all the information.
You also need to be curious enough to explore and experiment constantly; to meet the company customers or try to get as many insights as possible about them; to constantly consume the information around you.
Customer-centric approach & Communication
Good marketing always has a cause and solves a problem; Tells you a story that speaks for you, has a culture and values that match their activity and team. Good marketing is when everything that comes from a company matches the needs of its customers, listens to them, and inspires them.
Make sure you always provide a solution (feature, product, or service) for your audience to fulfill a need or solve a pain point.
If you only market products, prices, promotions, and phrases that speak AT the customer and not FOR them, then you should definitely reconsider your approach.
During your career, you will have to create hundreds of presentations (internal, external, for your team, etc).
But making charts & graphics for internal presentations might take too long sometimes. You may need lots of charts and words to explain an idea too.
Doodle something on a piece of paper!
It will take just a couple of minutes to draw it out from your head, it saves you hours of making presentations and it outlines your personality as well.
Don’t worry about being the next Picasso, just make sure you can explain things while people follow it. Take a picture of your doodle using your phone and add it to your deck/on the screen.
🔎“There is nothing like first-hand evidence.” Yes, I just quoted Sherlock Holmes, the most data-driven character ever.
As a marketer, you have to understand the product at its core and align it to the changing needs of your customers.
You need to fully get the mix between culture, experience, product/service & Business and to be able to add the marketing and sales techniques to it.
Needless to say that creativity is important, but creativity ties to data-driven decisions make wonders.
Make sure you collect data based on specific (and, of course measurable) goals and KPIs, analyze patterns and facts from these analytics & insights, and use them to develop new action points, strategies, services, products, content, and activities that help the business across multiple areas.
Experiment and be Flexible
We live in a digital world, and new channels or algorithm changes happen in the blink of an eye!
Make sure you constantly run experiments, measure them, and always keep an open mind to pivot or adapt your strategy and actions to the changing factors — as long as it fits your prospects, customers, or coworkers.
Most rookie marketers, when they land a new job, are super excited to use their favorite tools and tricks from the last job — but this only makes sense if it suits the company’s needs and if you use the right tools at the right time for the right purpose.
But at the end of the day, you need to hit the goals using whatever tools & third-parties might fit.
You need to aim high and do your best to achieve it. Some may say it is just a job, why struggle?
But if you aim high and work hard to achieve those goals, you will also grow alongside. A lot. Not just the company.
It is a win-win.
The growth mindset is also strongly tied with one of the biggest challenges for most of us: leaving our ego at the door and allowing others to take control or fill the gap when needed.
Growth is hard to achieve by yourself, and instead of battling and attempting to control everything, embrace those around you, and build together, learn from each other and speed-up the growth curve. The result will be much stronger.
Extra points: you’ll all make friends along the way.
Seriously! Google the sh%t out of everything. Or bing it. Or duck duck go it. Whatever makes you knowledgeable. Do your research for every project and action you work on.
Check the darkest sides of the internet (yes, there are more than 3 pages for Google results).
See what works and what does not for others. What worked in the past and what did not (and most importantly, why it did not work).
See what users say on forums, comments, reviews, and blogs. Check what your target group really-really wants or hates. What do they buy and why? What do they like, tweet, or follow? There is so much info to search, read & analyze!
After you do all this — you can start creating your stuff and present it. It will increase the quality of your work and credibility in front of everyone.
Learn how to leverage all the information (the good, but mostly the bad) and transform it into opportunity.
Numbers don’t lie: Millions of people are consuming micro-content.
We are always on the go (well, we used to) and, there’s a massive need to micro-everything: micro copywriting, micro-content, micro lecture, microlearning, microblogging. — I know! this article is an anti-example of micro-content.
There are over 5 billion smartphone users, 50 billion websites on Google, and billions of people on social media. So, there is plenty of audiences to digest the info.
🧐Think about it: 🐦A tweet can be 140 characters only. 💥A Vine video is 6 seconds only, and an 📸 Instagram video has 15 seconds. Ads have a very limited number of characters. Most of your apps have short snippets of text to fit the screen without being intrusive! So, keep it short and simple. :)
Business Management. Budget Management. Campaign Management. Crisis Management. Product Management. People Management. Social Media Management.
You don’t need to ace them. But you need a very good understanding of all, as they all collide in a good marketing strategy and approach — at least when you are VP or CMO.
Omnichannel communication and Organic Growth
We migrate from a channel to another one quite fast.
One of the greatest assets for a marketer is to be able to communicate efficiently across channels, to be sort of a community glue, and to know how to organically grow a business.
You never know when your advertising budget goes down (this pandemic is a good example to look at — people cut costs like there is no tomorrow) or a social channel just goes through a bad phase (remember Facebook and Cambridge Analytica?).
Dive into the product as much as you can. It helps you accelerate growth and retain customers by scheming the product and its features around the needs and experiences of your customers.
Consider Product Marketing as a start — the meeting point between your business goals, your customers’ needs in terms of features, support, UX or copywriting, and strategic marketing approach.
You have to declutter the customers’ needs and transform them into desirable and buy-able features in the blink of an eye! Product marketing is about being customer-focused and finding the right technical approach to solve the pain while offering the right price.
Paid Advertising and queries usage
Know how ads work across multiple channels (from Quora and Linkedin to TikTok).
Learn how to use queries in search engines to quickly find something, how your audience uses them, and use this wise for Pay per Click (PPC), SEO & everything in between.
Real-time marketing. Responsiveness. Retargeting
Use chat solutions, create action triggers in your chat or app, launch real-time marketing campaigns during peaking times of your audience, be responsive to your customers. Retarget your ads with a proper strategy and approach!
It sounds idiot-proof, but the more you read, you’re building quite the voluminous vocabulary and you will have a nice choice of words, you will be wiser (of course), it strengthens the brain, increases empathy, and gives you a better overview in some contexts.
Strategy. Spreadsheets. Storytelling. Speed.
I know, it may seem a lot. But you need a strategic mindset to create a good plan.
Know your strengths and weaknesses, know if you are a good innovator and you find opportunities where others don’t or if you are very good at something specific and operational (e.g., data analysis).
Identify who is a good asset for you, ensure you have a stackable approach towards content and actions.
Be a good storyteller and draw people’s attention to your plan, your passion there, and make everyone fall in love with what you do. this ensures everyone is in the same boat with the same direction and motivation.
Be fast. There is a lot of competition and a lot of things happening — you need to be fast and able to adapt on the go (if needed).
And, spreadsheets: well, they will be your best friends — trust me! So, a course of excel and basic math knowledge to ease your work with formulas will help.
Technical and software knowledge — at least some basics
Tech marketing has a bit of tech, a bit of algorithm changing, some social media, lots of trends, plenty of strategy and dynamism, and tons of cross-references — from customer onboarding and churn rate to internal marketing and business direction.
Marketing is technical and it can get a lot of software in it as well. You need to know how things work in terms of CRO and A/B Testing; Email Marketing and Automation; Funnel Management; CRMs; UX Design; Data Visualization; Onboarding; Action Triggers or CMS Tools. And these are just basic, but if you work for a tech product, you also need to fully understand the product and leverage its assets.
And there are lots of tools you may need — here are some to consider: Ahrefs, SEMRush, SEObility, HubSpot, Google Suite services, WordPress, Wix, Weebly, MailChimp, Sendgrid, Hotjar, Google Analytics, Firebase, Google Search Console, AdWords or any other social media Paid Ads dashboard, Intercom, Drift, User Pilot, Walk me, etc.
You need to be pretty visual: you may work with wireframes, prototypes, create content for mobile apps when they are not fully designed, help designers do UX, UI, or simple banners to fit your audience, create a newsletter or simply check a bunch of analytics and user behavior tools that you will have to analyze.
This is one is pretty straight forward. You will have zillions of emails, media releases, networking emails, outreach, conflicts, blogs, whitepapers, case studies, social media, speech writing, scripts, etc.
So, even though you will not create them all, you will face them and you will have to know what is good or bad and who is the best to do it perfectly. :)
You do not need to be perfect in doing everything, but you need to know how they work and who is the best person in your team (or third-party) to implement some parts. Focus on one thing until you ace it, and know how the others work, so you can leverage all the information to make your actions more valuable.
At the end of the day, make sure you care about everything that can have an impact on the business, not only to “look good” on your area — I mean, having tons of likes is nice, but having a good conversion rate, a great customer experience and long term partnerships that help the company/project grow with is nicer.