Recent reports have shown that many companies plan to reevaluate their budgets with a focus on eliminating non-business essential marketing. Therein lies the keyword that will guide marketing in the post-COVID era – business essential. It’s proven that in a time of crisis, marketing budgets are first to be axed, and now more than ever, the spotlight is on demonstrating value. To succeed at driving business value and stay relevant, marketers need to upskill and cross-skill. It’s no longer enough to be a specialist. Facing cash crunch, companies will be looking at teams to double down and perform multiple tasks in order to deliver an outcome. This is the time for marketers to invest in themselves and become what I call the full-stack marketers. To achieve that, they will need six key marketing skills:
Marketing and user experience expert Bryan Eisenberg was not far from the truth in saying, “Facts tell, but stories sell.” From the time prehistoric humans painted their adventures on cave walls, narratives have been the glue that holds human civilization together. No one can resist a good story! Stories are impactful – experts say stories are 22x more memorable than plain facts. Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, Nike, and Paperboat are great, consistent examples of brand storytelling done well.
In an age of commoditization, it’s important for marketers to be able to weave compelling narratives that align with market sentiment, customer priority and their brand message. Marketers need to learn the art of storytelling to be able to craft engaging, authentic, and credible messaging that builds and strengthens their customer base.
Here are the resources to learn more about the elements of storytelling:
As we expect marketing budgets to reduce and focus increasingly on value, marketers will need to learn how to use data to quickly measure campaign effectiveness. Data-driven insights will also help marketers understand customers better, make the right decisions, and course-correct when necessary. Brush up your data science skills with these classes from Harvard.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words—and research proves it. According to marketing industry influencer Krista Neher, the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than words. Cutting-edge design is also more likely to get a campaign the eyeballs it deserves. However, in light of the cut in resources, marketing teams may not be able to support specialist design roles. Marketers must learn the basics of design and the art of putting out powerful visual storytelling. There are many free, easy-to-use, cloud-based tools such as Canva and Adobe SparkPost that offer ready-made templates and make it easy for anyone to design creatively. In addition, Canva offers great tips and tutorials for people to learn the basics of graphic design. Unlock your creativity and add valuable marketing skills to your toolbox with Canva’s Design School.
Marketing technology plays a very important role in designing, executing and measuring success of marketing programs. Today marketing is largely about technology. From automation of processes to the customer’s journey and experience redesign to enabling new ways of working and collaboration within marketing teams—technology is all pervasive and plays a critical role. A savvy marketer needs to be familiar with these tools and technologies and know how to use them to optimize their marketing skills and achieve their objectives.
Today marketers are expected to have a strong understanding of their industry, business, product, and customers. For instance, a technology marketer must be able to write out a solution flyer themselves. To be able to do this, marketers need to focus on a breadth of expertise and also be in close proximity with the go-to-market strategy and portfolio of offerings. Based on that information, marketers should be able to define content and channel strategy to optimize return on investment. This kind of knowledge comes from actively listening and learning from cross-functional teams – like subject matter experts, sales teams, and business leaders. Learn from everything you have access to and distill that knowledge to create campaigns that will resonate.
Understanding budgeting and strategic planning are essential to marketing success. You can invest time in creating an amazing campaign, only to later realize that you don’t have the funds to run it. Find some tips on budgeting from this course on corporate finance.
The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and marketers need to continuously upskill to stay relevant. Keep an eye out on what’s happening with this list of Top 100 Marketing Blogs.
What are the other marketing skills you see gaining prominence in the coming years? Leave your thoughts in comments.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are mine and my employer does not subscribe to my views.