Basic marketing principles may remain the same but the tools you use in marketing are constantly evolving. Making your digital marketing skills future-proof is a must.
Preparing for a job in the marketing world tomorrow will be vastly different than it is today. While the basics of marketing may be the same, the tools to analyze, create, and implement marketing campaigns continue to evolve at breakneck speed.
Some 90% of marketers say they are under-skilled. In other words, there’s a huge gap in what they need to know and what they actually know. That’s why 41% of marketing and advertising executives say they are struggling to find skilled professionals.
This represents a huge opportunity. Mastering the skills now will prepare you for that future. Here are four of the emerging skills you’ll need to master to be ready.
1. Ability to analyze data and draw insights
The growth of digital marketing has created endless amounts of data. Now, marketers have more access to how campaigns are performing and consumer’s behavior. To make sense of this huge amount of data, tomorrow’s digital marketers will need to master data analytics.
Digital marketing data analytics go beyond just web analytics and website performance. Tomorrow’s digital marketers will need to be well-versed in how data shapes and drives the customer experience across platforms and channels. They will need to master several tools including Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads Managers, and various ad exchanges. If their business collects additional customer data, they may need to master Excel and SQL to run queries against the data and uncover insights.
Using this data, digital marketers can track this customer journey to provide insight into what’s working and what leads to conversions. They will be able to see what campaigns are driving valuable customers and which efforts are not delivering an ROI.
Marketers will need to be comfortable analyzing data and recognizing business opportunities. It takes an experienced eye for data wrangling – the ability to take raw data and turn them into business strategies. They will also need to tell stories with that data to inspire action.
Marketing analysts will work with structured data and unstructured data. Structured data, also known as quantitative data, includes facts and numbers that software can collect and order. Unstructured data, also called qualitative data, includes subjective options about your brand such as survey responses, blog comments, or social media comments.
2. Organization and project management skills
Running multiple digital campaigns can get complex quickly. Building an omnichannel marketing plan includes various technologies and different measurements that lead to a lot of moving parts to coordinate. Digital markets need to also have the skills of a project manager and bring together disparate teams to move marketing ideas from concept to completion.
Project management skills include leading and directing internal and external teams to manage projects and deliverables. Project managers must have technical skills, but they must also be able to break down complex projects into actionable steps. They must be able to clearly communicate objections and then motivate teams to create a seamless experience.
Digital marketing project managers need to manage the workflow process. They should be proficient with tools such as Trello, Basecamp, or Wrike. They will need experience with agile development methods and content management systems (CMS).
3. Knowledge and appreciation of automation
Marketing automation streamlines, automates, and optimizes marketing efforts. It allows businesses to target customers with marketing and sales messages using workflows. Online marketing efforts can be customized on the fly to send different messages to different prospects at different points in the customer buying journey.
Marketing automation has allowed more precise messaging and it’s being adopted by nearly every marketing department. Around 67% of marketing leaders currently use marketing automation platforms. Another 21% say they plan to implement automation within the next two years.
Implementing automations helps the team get more done and also creates a better experience for the customer. Tomorrow’s marketers should understand the tools available to automate, as well as the strategy and content needed. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are fueling automation systems to provide more personalized targeting and campaign optimization through constant testing and analysis.
4. Voice search SEO
By 2020, 30% of searches will be done without a screen, according to research and advisory company Gartner. With the rapid adoption of in-home smart speakers and voice-enabled devices, SEO strategy is shifting.
Voice search does more than just return links to websites. It seeks to provide snippets of information that answer the query directly. In a voice-search world, it’s not just about keywords and backlinks, your content must be created in a way that search engines see as higher-quality answers.
With voice search capabilities being built into phones, speakers, appliances, vehicles, and just about anything else you can think of, expertise with voice search SEO will be a crucial skill in the future.
5. UX skills and an understanding of the customer experience
Marketing is no longer just getting the customer to purchase. It now includes the experiences that continue after the sale including onboarding, communications, and even upsells. Because of this continued effort to keep and upsell current customers, marketers must understand the full customer experience and provide thoughts around the best UX and CX.
Marketers need to fully understand the customer, their wants, needs and pain points. They will then build a full customer experience, from growing awareness of the product or service through the full customer lifespan.
Markets should also have a perspective on landing pages, and even the onboarding process. They should also consider how to keep current customers engaged through newsletters or drip campaigns. Finally, they should continue to get feedback from current and old customers on why the product is and isn’t meeting their needs. This valuable information can be used in marketing materials to differentiate the product.
6. Advanced social media knowledge
For many organizations social media is an effective way to boost website traffic and ultimately sales. With over 69% of adults on Facebook, clearly your audience is spending time on social platforms.
Tomorrow’s marketers need to go beyond just posting occasionally on social. Rather, they need to understand paid advertising on social, social chatbots, and how to build engaging communities on social. For example, social paid advertising continues to grow with hundreds of options for placements.
Marketers need to research where their audiences are, and what type of creative will most appeal to them. They may need to create content in various forms like images and videos and be able to cut that creative into different sizes to fit the various social feeds. Finally, marketers need to rely on strong analytic capabilities to ensure the social ads are delivering a strong return on investment.
Additionally, marketers need to stay ahead of the curve and be knowledgeable on emerging platforms like Tik Tok, SnapChat and others. Social is an always evolving space that requires understanding best practices while also experimenting with new ways to share information. This work requires both creativity and analytics strategy to measure what social campaigns drive traffic and orders.
Tomorrow’s marketers are life-long learners
The future of marketing will continue to be data-driven and continue to expand across multiple platforms. Digital marketers will need to continue to be creative in the content they produce, but also need to measure the success of each effort.
Marketers will need to build communities the grow organically, while also managing paid ad spend smartly. Finally, they will need to become increasingly involved in the customer experience to ensure they create happy life-long customers. As digital marketing continues to expand, the best marketers will be life-long learners who are hungry to develop new skills.
Building your skills is a key part of success when it comes to your marketing activities. Understanding how to create marketing strategies, how to integrate every part of your funnel and how to report on your results - among many other things - will ensure that you get the results you want.
At Smart Insights, we aim to help you improve your skills with a range of online training, e-learning, guides, and templates, all of which are designed to ensure you have the practical knowledge required to succeed at marketing.