Business Marketing Skills: Not Just a Pretty Face

Evolving Creativity & Strategic Thinking

Big DataIn 2012, I was on a plane on my way to a large industry trade show. I spoke briefly to the man sitting next to me who turned out to be in sales for a competing company. When I told him I was a marketer, he said, “Oh, so do you put together the brochures and stuff like that.” I could feel myself getting upset with this man. Instead I calmly replied, “that is a very, very small part of what I do.”

Not Just a Pretty Face

Clearly he’s not at a company that has ongoing strategic discussions about sales and marketing working together. There is definitely some education needed on what a marketing department does these days. It’s not about making pretty brochures, planning fun parties or organizing mass audience advertisements. Yes, marketing departments are responsible for creating the desire for a company via branding, public relations, events, messaging and a website. However, now marketers are being held accountable for how each area is contributing to the bottom line. Those in the executive suite and on for-profit boards are asking what return on investment did we get for that marketing spend.

Business Marketing Skills Required

Recently I attended educational sessions at the Marketo User Summit and a NorCal BMA general meeting. I am particularly drawn to data science, as the role of big data is influencing marketing strategy (even at mid-sized companies). During the last year, my Marketing Automation journey has convinced me that marketers need to go beyond the label of “creative.” Marketing is evolving, where creativity must meet analytics science in order to succeed. I suggest that marketers develop the following business marketing skills:

  • Analytical Thinking – this goes beyond critical thinking. It’s more about not shying away from big picture strategy and data gathering.
  • Data Interpretation – ability to sift through the charts and graphs for insights about customer and prospect behavior.
  • Knowledge of the customer – requires working closely with Product Management, Sales, Customer Support as well as digging into customer surveys and website analytics.
  • Writing & Editorial Skills – being a storyteller is an important and recurring theme in business.
  • SEO Research – online visibility, social presence and optimization are now fundamental to managing a business. Understanding the intersection of customer search behaviors and pain points, the sales process, and how your solution appears in organic search is critical.

What business marketing skills would you add to my list?

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