Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

5 Skills Marketers Must Have to Stand Out and Future-Proof their Career


By: Jenna Tziatis, Marketing Assistant, McMaster University Continuing Education


One thing that any experienced marketers know is that marketing is an ever-changing industry.  It’s fast-paced, never sleeps and is constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-growing demands of consumer expectations.  It’s no wonder that many marketers are finding it challenging to keep up. So, what do you need to stand out from your peers? Here are 5 essential skills that will keep you ahead of the pack.

1. Get international

As technology advances and e-commerce grows, the world is becoming a much smaller place to conduct business enabling more brands to go global. Savvy marketers know that when marketing on an international stage you need to understand consumer differences in their social and cultural backgrounds, political views as well as the legal and legislative policies that exist in the countries where they reside.

Something even as simple as colour can determine the success of our marketing campaign.  For example, if you decided to use white as a dominant colour in your logo or designs, Western cultures may interpret this as a meaning of purity, elegance and peace but to Asian cultures, it represents death, mourning and bad luck.  So, whether it’s colour, design, language or media knowing and understanding these nuances can literally make or break your marketing campaign. 

2. Be analytical

Data is the lifeblood of all things marketing.  It helps you understand your customer, identify market trends, measures campaign success and determine new revenue opportunities. And, while being data-minded is a critical element for any marketer, companies are now reporting that data analytics is one of the largest shortfalls among qualified marketing talent in Canada (McKinsey). If you’re looking to get ahead in marketing, knowing how to make sense of data and leverage insights is key. You’ll also want to learn about privacy laws and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure you are complying with proper data collection and consumers permission requirements. 

3. Stay brand strong

Always be striving for your brand to be the next Apple, Coca-Cola or Amazon. Invest the time to truly understand your target audience, your competitors and the key positioning attributes of your brand so that it breaks through the clutter, stands out in the marketplace and wins the hearts of your customers.  As consumer behaviours shift and change quickly, it is your responsibility to stay on top of these changes to ensure that your brand doesn’t become stale and static, but allows you to evolve your brand strategically so that it always remains memorable, appealing and loved in the eyes of your audience.

4. Embrace innovation

In the words of marketing great Peter Drucker, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”. The two are intertwined. Marketers who take a traditional view and see marketing as merely a tactical function that generates sales is missing out on the many ways that innovation and technology can elevate their marketing performance. 

Over the past 20 years, marketing has seen an explosion in innovation.  From digital marketing to virtual and augmented reality, the pace has been exponential.  The top marketers know that you should be constantly looking for and learning about the latest and greatest marketing practices that technology has to offer. And while innovation comes with its risks, it’s the failure of not trying – in a strategic and calculated way – that has marketers falling behind.

5. Know your numbers

The goal of pretty much every business is to make a profit. Presidents and C-Level executives spend a lot of time looking at the financial picture of their organization to understand how they are turning a profit and determining where they should be investing their funds to drive growth.

Leaders in business need to understand the return on investment (ROI) that marketing brings to the table so that marketing budgets, growth targets and campaign initiatives can be determined.  It is the marketer’s responsibility to demonstrate how marketing strategy adds value and drives revenue for the organization.  Presenting how marketing spend translates into revenue allows you to understand the value that your efforts bring and provides business leaders with the tangible evidence they require to make sound business decisions.

If you’re looking to adopt these skills there are many organizations like McMaster University Continuing Education that offer courses such as the Advanced Strategic Marketing Techniques certificate program to enhance your skill-set and future-proof your marketing career.

5 Skills Marketers Must Have to Stand Out and Future-Proof their Career