What are the 2-3 most important skills digital marketers need today? Why?
This was not meant to be scientific, just an interesting conversation, and it was. You can see all the responses here.
Here are the results:
We received 12 responses from a diverse group of people including a product manager in financial services, 2 digital marketing agencies in the UK, a VP of Marketing at an ad targeting company, a VP Digital Innovation at a direct marketing company, a digital marketing consultant, a marketing data hygiene professional and me, a Sr. Director of Marketing at a digital marketing measurement + optimization company. A nice looking group of folks indeed, thanks everyone!
The answers were equally interesting and insightful and spanned a considerable range from hard skills to more soft skills/personality traits.
Maybe it’s just that we attract these types of people but measurement and analysis received the most mentions. We’ve been seeing this more and more in both skill surveys and analyst reports looking at where Marketing teams are investing. These are indeed fundamental skills for marketers today.
The next most popular skill was “focus on ROI”. This may be a result of our small and biased audience or a result of the enduring global financial crisis but this too we see as a broader trend. It used to be that only marketers who sold online and direct marketers would talk about marketing ROI but we’re seeing this topic more and more, especially around social and mobile where the ecosystems are emerging and there’s a lot of experimenting happening.
The last of the top-scoring skills was “understanding target audiences”. This is a true blue marketing skill and it’s good to see it endures in our hearts and minds. We’ve come a long long way since the Nielsen box and I’d argue that this isn’t a “skill” so much as it’s a marketing discipline all it’s own. There are full service agencies dedicated solely to ethnography for marketers and in some ways the entire social media monitoring industry exists solely for this reason. Get these skills people, they’re important!
While I could go on and on about each skill mentioned, I won’t. : ) But I do want to mention a few other skills on the “hard” side as they are SO important. “Applying actionable insights” is essential and requires so much on-the-job training. Measuring and analyzing is one thing, and it’s important, but being able to surface the insights that matter most and having a team that can apply them to make magic happen, well, that’s all that matters.
On the softer side we saw a great array of traits. It was good to see that creativity got some love…and so did love, actually.
But I found it really interesting that traits around leadership generated the most mentions. Is it that we feel like leaders and want others to as well? That as digital marketers we know we’re on the front edge of consumer trends and that we need to apply our skills and drive the success of our organizations, even into new and uncharted territories? Or is this a cry for help? Are we saying that we MUST lead but we are not today, that we are short on strong Marketing leadership and we need to develop these skills? Let me know what you think. Modern marketing, especially digital marketing, is complicated and success can be elusive. I’ve seen many many marketing organizations struggle to do the basics well, let alone trying to lead their company in new ways. Regardless, I couldn’t agree more. Marketers need to see themselves as leaders in their organizations, do the basics astoundingly well and blaze new trails — driven by a tenacious hunger for customer insights that drive remarkable results.
Thanks for all the help on this everyone, it was really fun.