One of the best parts of my job is meeting with and learning from B2B marketers as they share insights into their strategies to drive performance, their campaign tactics, even their career aspirations.
After years of these types of engagements, I can quickly identify marketers who are taking proactive steps to advance their careers. These go-getters are setting an example for all of us while driving the evolution of demand generation. Based on my exposure to such leaders, I’d like to share the skills that I think marketers will need to rise to the top in 2018—which is fast approaching.
Leading-edge marketers are:
1. Customer centric. They go beyond an understanding of customers that is received secondhand from sales; they create direct engagement with customers to ensure their marketing messages and content resonate with the people they target. They network at customer conferences. They seek to interview customers for case studies. In the customer, they see dollar signs and alignment with their salesforce. They recognize that understanding customers—and their industries—is especially critical in ABM campaigns.
2. Revenue focused. The marketers who deliver consistent performance cast every tactic and campaign they employ—and the results of those campaigns—in the context of revenue. Although they appreciate multi-channel marketing, great content and easy-to-use websites, they see all of those as paths to revenue.
3. Partners to sales. Marketers with a laser focus on revenue will be de facto aligned with sales; they will also avoid the pitfall of having their contributions minimized by sales. They focus on the right goals and present their results in the right language so sales engages with them as partners.
4. Data savvy. They’re eager to evaluate performance from systems, dashboards, even spreadsheets, then turn that insight into performance. They’re neither intimidated nor overwhelmed by data. They’re not data scientists who want to spend their days crunching data, but they can and will do so if necessary. Without data analysis skills, marketers can’t measure campaign effectiveness.
5. Calculated risk takers. They don’t waste time or energy fearing failure. In some ways, they view the marketing discipline as one big, fast-moving experiment. They live by the mantra that there’s no such thing as a failure; instead, there are tests that don’t yield the desired results—and they don’t apologize when that happens. They are enthusiastic testers of campaign strategies, tech platforms, partners and more.
6. Hungry for knowledge and skills. They seek out new projects and jump eagerly into technology platform evaluations. Regardless of their career stage (early, mid or late), they seek to better themselves through knowledge and experience. They’re not satisfied with the status quo; instead, they actively disrupt their own function from year to year, quarter to quarter, eliminating any risk that others will disrupt them.
Marketers who have or acquire these six traits position themselves for upward mobility and will continue to launch creative, innovative marketing campaigns that drive results for their employers. They’re precisely the individuals you want to a) retain if you currently employ them; or b) recruit if you don’t already have them in the fold. If you have most or all of these qualities, you’re in a very favorable career position.
That’s my view of the most in-demand marketing skills. Let me know what skills and traits you think will be most valuable in the year to come.
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