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Skills that Marketers Need to Acquire to Become Future-Fit

Skills that marketers need to acquire to be future-fit

Today’s rapidly-changing business environment forces marketers to continuously acquire new skills, stay competitive and relevant, and understand what is essential now and in the near future. This constantly-evolving landscape presents new technologies, techniques, algorithms, and approaches to learn, understand, and apply on a seemingly daily basis. 

To become “future-fit”, marketers must be proactive and pragmatic in their approach to skills acquisition and staying ahead of the curve. This article will explore and outline some of the key skills marketers need in order to succeed.

Regularly Following the Latest Marketing Trends

Keeping on top of trends is one of the absolute foundations for developing marketing skills. Without knowing what is happening in the industry, a marketer is like a boat without a rudder. Here’s how to stay up-to-date:

  • Follow industry publications and blogs: Many marketing publications and blogs, such as Marketing Land, Adweek, and Forbes, provide regular updates on the latest trends and developments in the industry
  • Attend industry events and conferences: This is a great way to learn about the latest industry trends whilst networking with other professionals. Many events offer workshops and lectures on a variety of topics, including new marketing technologies and strategies, as well as free giveaways of tools and technologies
  • Join professional organizations: Professional organizations, such as the American Marketing Association (AMA), Chartered Marketing Institute (CMI), and the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), offer regular webinars, workshops, and other learning opportunities for members
  • Take online courses: There are many online courses and certification programs that can help marketers stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques, as well as give verifiable certificates that can benefit your CV
  • Follow thought leaders on social media: Many industry thought leaders and experts share their insights and perspectives on social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Following these individuals can be one of the most effective ways for marketers to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the industry

Thinking and Working More Analytically

There are many ways that marketers can build strong analytical skills, here are a few we recommend:

  • Take courses or earn a degree in a related field: Formal education in marketing, finance, economics, accounting, math, or a related field can provide a strong foundation in analytical skills
  • Gain experience using analytics tools: There are many tools available for analyzing marketing data, such as Google Analytics and Tableau. Practicing with these tools and becoming proficient in their use can help marketers develop strong analytical skills
  • Practice data-driven decision-making: One of the key ways to build analytical skills is to practice using data to inform decision-making. This can involve analyzing marketing metrics, such as website traffic and conversion rates, and using the insights gained to make informed decisions about marketing strategies and tactics
  • Seek out opportunities to analyze and interpret data: Marketers can also build analytical skills by seeking out opportunities to analyze and interpret data in their current role or through side projects. This could involve analyzing customer data to identify trends and patterns, or analyzing the performance of marketing campaigns.
  • Learn from others: Marketers can also learn from others who have strong analytical skills, such as seeking out mentors or participating in training programs or workshops

Read our guide on teaching analytical skills for more information if you are a teacher or professor.

Global Awareness & Sustainable Mindset

Part of marketing and staying relevant is having global awareness of news, major events, cultures, and more. In 2023, more than ever before, the role of the environment, sustainability, and circular economy will play huge roles in marketing, with brands and organizations striving to be more ethical and responsible moving forward. Learning about these causes and issues, such as the 17 SDGs, can help to develop your marketing skillset. 

Companies will look for marketers who can not only communicate positive change, but can help to drive it from within. By being an effective communicator, you can be part of positive cultural and sustainable changes, which is something you can carry with you through your whole marketing career.

Discover our new business simulation program, Circular Markstrat, which develops future-fit, circular-savvy marketers.

Interest in Emerging Technologies

Believe it or not, maintaining an active interest in emerging technologies is a skill in itself. It takes time, learning, and occasional trial and error to develop the knowledge to be able to communicate about and engage with innovative developments. 

Things like the Blockchain and Web3 are not going anywhere, and they are going to have a major impact on how marketing works over the next few years. These industries are full of innovators who are revolutionizing advertising, social media, data, and much more, all of which affect marketers and their efforts.

Business simulations are both an emerging technology that you should learn about and an emerging technology that you should consider utilizing. The world’s leading organizations all use simulations to strategize and test ideas for the future. Marketing simulations have been around for quite a while now and help you to understand the different effects that marketing actions can have.

Being Customer-Centric

Being a customer-centric digital marketer involves focusing on the needs and preferences of customers in all aspects of your marketing efforts. This skill is essential to becoming more human and relatable and not sounding like a corporate robot! Here are some tips:

  • Conduct customer research: Gathering data about your customers through research can help you understand their needs, preferences, and behavior. This can involve conducting surveys, focus groups, or analyzing customer data
  • Personalize the customer experience: Using the insights gained from customer research, you can tailor the customer experience to meet the individual needs and preferences of each customer. This can involve using personalization tools to deliver targeted content and messaging, or offering personalized recommendations based on a customer's past purchases
  • Focus on customer satisfaction: Monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction can help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that you are meeting the needs of your customers. This can involve gathering feedback through surveys or tracking customer service metrics
  • Emphasize the customer journey: Understanding the steps that customers go through when interacting with your brand can help you optimize their experience and make it as seamless as possible. This can involve mapping out the customer journey and identifying points where you can add value or remove friction
  • Foster customer loyalty: Building long-term relationships with customers can help drive repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing. This can involve offering loyalty programs, providing excellent customer service, and consistently delivering a high-quality product or service

Bonus: Advanced Understanding of Digital Marketing

Becoming an advanced-level digital marketer is for the most ambitious and driven in this industry, those who want a serious high-level career and to climb the ranks in their chosen industry. Here are five steps to make that happen:

  1. Be the most knowledgeable person in the room on all things marketing. Eat, sleep, and breathe marketing. Read and participate in thought leadership, attend niche events, and grab any professional development opportunity by the horns
  2. Recognize that knowledge growth never stops and that you need to keep on learning. Ensure that you are a pro when it comes to SEO, PPC, SMM, content marketing, and email marketing.
  3. Become a specialist by finding particular interests within marketing and doubling down on them, or by becoming an expert in one particular demographic or target audience
  4. Mix practical and simulated experience by utilizing simulations, data forecasts, and trends and putting the learnings into your work
  5. Grow a high-quality network where you not only take ideas and information but work hard to contribute them too. Find mentors who know more than you, attend great events, and discuss ideas in expert forums

Now you know the skills to become a future-fit digital marketer, the rest is up to you to put into practice. Best of luck on your journey!