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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite all the rapid technological change of the past decade (hasn’t Facebook been around, like, forever?), the job of the marketer hasn’t really changed. The job of marketing is to get customers to interact with, use and buy your products. So while the tools have changed, the core underlying skills have not.
Core skills to make it in marketing
So what types of skills should a young twenty-something just starting out in marketing try to learn? These are four of the core skills to make it in marketing:
Communication – Communication is certainly key, because you are regularly communicating a message to a customer or prospect. And you must be able to clearly communicate your ideas to partners, clients and vendors. In today’s world, social networking is one important communication skill to make it in marketing.
Public speaking – While you won’t be giving huge speeches to adoring crowds (unless you’ve been tapped to speak at a big marketing conference), you will be giving plenty of pitches to clients. PowerPoint is still the tool of choice for many, since it enables you to create a highly visual experience for the client while you are reviewing all the big plans you have for your client.
Analytical thinking – Just a decade ago, just being able to manipulate an Excel spreadsheet was probably enough to get by as a marketer. But we’ve entered the Big Data era, and that means you’d better also be plenty proficient in data analytics. At the very least, you should understand the inherent appeal of an A/B test, and why it might be necessary for any ad campaign that you run.
Creativity – If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Mad Men,” you probably have an inherent sense of what it’s like to come up with an enticing value proposition for a client. But “Mad Men” took place decades ago, back when people were still selling toothpaste and cars on TV, radio and on billboards. In today’s digital world, you need to be much more plugged into the aesthetic of the young millennial generations – a clever meme, GIF or viral YouTube video is now more important than a 30-second TV spot.
How has technology changed the game for marketers?
OK, so how has technology changed the game for marketing? The job of the marketer hasn’t changed at its core, only the tools and technologies have changed. So, remember how the key to a successful TV ad campaign used to be an irresistible jingle? In today’s world, it’s all about being able to write an irresistible Facebook ad. Jingles don’t really matter anymore (despite what Peyton Manning has to say about it).
Moreover, remember when people used to write a press release and then distribute it to the media? Those days are over. Instead, it’s much more effective to post a photo on Instagram and send out a tweet. Writing skills still matter, but now you better know how to write in today’s digital vernacular – and that means clever little emoticons and a much more visual aesthetic.
The only constant in marketing these days is change
And, finally, simply staying ahead of the technological curve is now more important than ever. You don’t have to know how AI works, or why machine learning is different from deep learning, but you do need to recognize why big tech players like Amazon, Facebook and Google are getting involved with AI, and how that might change the world of marketing in the future.
If you’re thinking of starting a career in marketing – or perhaps making a lateral transfer into marketing from another field – you should make sure that you have the core skills mentioned above. From there, you can start to build out your technological toolkit for the modern digital era of marketing. Last but not least, don’t forget to polish your resume. If you don’t already have one prepared, you can easily make a resume with modern resume builder apps.