Marketing is a dynamic and exciting field to work in, constantly evolving and providing vast career opportunities, however, this can often make it overwhelming for both marketers just starting out and those looking for the next step in their career to know where to focus their attention and which skills to master first.
Whilst it can feel like you need to have every skill nailed from the day you start your first job in marketing, we’re here to assure you that is far from true. As long as you focus your attention on mastering a few key skills you will find your career naturally buds and the rest of the skills come naturally over time, with the right support and guidance from peers, networks, L&D opportunities and generally time!
Whether you're feeling lost and unsure about how to break into the marketing industry or simply interested in levelling up your current skills and striving to move up the career ladder, here are five key skills you'll need to master first.
In business, marketing without a strategy is a waste of time, money, and energy. Strategy building is a key skill that every good marketer needs to have a common understanding of, especially as you climb the career ladder. An integrated marketing strategy outlines the who, what, why, where, and when of your creative ideas and gives direction to a project to ensure it is targeted and valuable. By understanding why a strategy is important and how to build one, you can add gravity to your ideas and secure buy-in from your senior team, proving you're ready for that next promotion. We have a marketing strategy toolkit which takes you through the three key areas to building and executing a winning strategy, download yours here.
Whether you’re responsible for developing and managing the marketing strategy or not, it's a crucial skill to understand the strategic aspect of marketing. This will allow you to make strategic decisions, support your wider team with marketing and understand why your senior team are doing what they are doing.
The best marketers are highly inquisitive. They ask questions, read everything, question people, and never settle with what they know. Making research a part of your everyday life will help to improve and validate (or disprove) your ideas and level up your marketing skills. You can look at data, opinion pieces, reports, or ask people direct questions. Constant learning is key for all marketers in widening your skills and understanding your customers.
A few marketing insights hubs that we highly recommend:
Analytics and data underpin all intelligent marketing activity. It's how we understand the success of an integrated marketing strategy and specific campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and make sure that all the work we do is rooted in factual insights. Analytics can be overwhelming to understand at first, but don't let them scare you - they're a marketer's best friend. There are countless analytics tools and platforms, such as Google Analytics, social media analytics integrated in the platforms themselves and third-party tools for analysis of competitors. It's important to get familiar with the language these platforms use and how to navigate them.
Communication is an essential skill for marketers. You need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to your team, clients, and stakeholders. This includes both written and verbal communication, as well as the ability to present information in a compelling way. From communications with clients, to pitch and strategy writing for your team, to social and content writing for your customers; writing is one of your best weapons, so learn to nail it early on.
To improve communication skills, regularly practice writing clear and concise emails and reports, as well as giving presentations and receiving feedback from your peers.
Marketing is all about creativity, you need to be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas to capture the attention of your target audience. This includes brainstorming, idea generation, and problem-solving. Often coined as the 'dark art' of modern marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) influences all marketing that takes place online. Make sure that you understand what SEO is and how to integrate it into your strategy from the start. From websites and blogs, to social media and PR, SEO plays a huge role in getting your marketing activities in front of the right audience. You can join SEMrush with a 7 day free trial where you can do SEO, content marketing, competitor research, and social media marketing from just one platform.
These five skills - strategy, research, analytics, communication, and creative thinking - are essential for starting a career in marketing. By mastering these skills, you can make a significant impact on your organization and achieve your goals. Remember to stay curious, keep learning, and don't be afraid to think outside the box. Good luck on your marketing journey!
Take a look at our content hub for actionable ways to incorporate these skills into your day to day. Of course, as you well know, finding the time to perfect these skills is easier said than done, our online marketing strategy course can fast track your development and put you well on your way to success.
Download your marketing strategy toolkit which takes you through the three key areas to building and executing a winning strategy, here.