By Valérie Giner
It has never been a more exciting time to be a marketing professional than today! It feels like new tools, platforms and technologies are being developed daily. These innovations require marketers to develop new skills and competences so that they can constantly adapt and be ready for future challenges.
We have seen a clear evolution from a media-buying landscape where it was all about having strong press relations and communicating to the masses towards newer ways of connecting with consumers. Today, you need to execute omni-channel marketing, providing customers with a smooth customer experience on all channels. Consumers are now more informed, more connected but also more impatient. This has impacted the marketing landscape, which means being a marketing professional involves new skills and knowledge and this will keep accelerating. A recent World Economic Forum report stated that 35% of the skills needed for jobs will change by 2020.
So, what are these crucial new skills and competences marketers require? Which skills should you focus on to stay as effective as possible? As a consulting, project and interim management firm, Minds&More has a clear view on what competences organizations are looking for in marketing and sales professionals. We gathered some insights and came up with five of the most valued competences a marketer should have to be future-proof.
Photograph of Omnichannel marketing. IDENTIC, 2 Feb. 2017, https://www.identic.be/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/omni-channel-blog-2.png.
Skill N°1 – Adaptability:
As stated above, the world is evolving faster than ever today. A marketer has to stay up to date on as many marketing activities as possible: be it writing content for the website blog, designing beautiful graphics for the next social media posts, analysing web analytics or knowing how to create a successful campaign via Adwords. The modern marketer should know what it takes to do all these things, on time and with the right budget.
“The most challenging skill in the marketing sector is to be constantly up-to-date. The landscape changes very quickly and you need to know every new tool and new hype in the marketing environment. Constantly learning and developing new skills is a must these days.”
Aurélie Van den Abbeele, digital marketing consultant
Skill N°2 – Data skills:
It’s great to be able to design creative ads on social media and google but, at the end of the day, what really matters is: What are these actions generating? Is there more traffic on your website? Are people downloading contact forms? Being able to calculate the “Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI)” is crucial for the success of marketing campaigns. It allows you to know if you are reaching your objective and, if not, how you can adapt your marketing actions to reach your goals. As the Express Writer’s puts it so well: “A successful marketer is part artist, part scientist”.
Skill N°3 – Improving the Customer journey:
A couple years ago, organisations were competing around a product. The organisation with the best product would win over the biggest amount of consumers. However, this is no longer relevant. Now, it is more about giving customers the best experience. This is what consumers are going to remember after having interacted with your brand. Marketing was previously concentrating on completing a transaction with you but now it’s all about maintaining and investing in a long-term relationship. Marketing has become a 24/7-hour job and it’s the marketers that understand this, that are going to make the difference.
Just look at the new Amazon Go! Stores that opened up in which customers just enter, scan their phones at the entrance, grab whatever products they want and simply walk out: these stores have taken out everything consumers don’t like about shopping like being in an aisle or having to wait to give customers a smooth and hustle-free experience.
Skill N°4 – Omni-channel Thinking:
This skill is linked to understanding customer experience. Clients determine the moment they come into contact with an organisation and through what channel this takes place. In fact, an organisation can be contacted through many different channels: a helpdesk, a website, an app, social media and so on. All these different touchpoints need to work together and share information to be as efficient as possible. This is crucial for a smooth customer experience and to stimulate cross-selling.
Imagine: You set-up a great Facebook campaign, leading your target audience to a page on your website where they can subscribe to your event BUT your website design is not mobile-friendly! Customers trying to sign up to your event on the go will get fed up and abandon the process and be left with a negative impression.
Skill N°5 – Soft skills:
Although the marketing landscape has changed a great deal, some core people skills are still relevant as well. Critical thinking is part of the key soft skills to have as a marketer. Why does this page of my website have a high bounce rate? Am I not reaching the right target group or are people finding all the information they need on that entrance page (contact information, relevant article, statistics, etc.). When reviewing data or when taking any initiatives, all angles should be scrutinized by a marketer. Problem-solving skills are also of great value to increase performance, address risk and seize important opportunities.
Marketing professionals need to keep adapting to the ever-changing digital environment and, at the same time, cannot forget how crucial a great customer experience is. Organizations will also need to adopt a lifelong learning culture to remain relevant and to be able to strategically assist their clients. The digital world is changing so fast that marketing professionals must remain as versatile as possible. Marketers that dare to take initiatives and innovate will open up new opportunities for themselves and their companies.
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