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
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.