Tomorrow’s Marketing Skill Set

Arik Hanson recently shared some thoughts as to what tomorrow’s PR pro looks like.  This got me thinking – what does tomorrow’s marketing pro look like?  I started jotting down some notes, and this is the list I came up with:

1.  Writing skills are critical

Never before has writing mattered more.  While we were trending to a society dominated by video, the web changed all that and gave rebirth to the written word.  Text reigns king once again.  Also consider:

  • Video blogging simply has not taken off.
  • Search engines reward sites with text-rich content.
  • Companies in the marketing and media industry that matter, blog.  And you need to be able to contribute to your employer’s blog at a high level.

2.  Meaningful insight into analytics/interpretation of data

Good marketers know not just how to record metrics and what KPIs matter, but how to use that data to influence decisions at the strategy table and get buy in for new projects.  This involves both left and right brain thinking, as you can get pretty creative with how you use numbers to tell a story.

3.  Nexus of marketing specializations

Only by understanding PR, Social Media and SEO can you successfully make their natural overlap work for you.  While many today specialize, the marketers of tomorrow will understand them all innately and devise campaigns that encourage multipliers in results.  None of these items happen in a silo.

4. Digital strategy development

Forming effective digital strategies is more than just taking current situation data and applying it to a process or formula.  That may have worked in the past, but in the future there will be too many people that know the obvious paths to digital marketing results for them to be effective.  When everyone is applying the same tactics to acquire limited resources, only those who were first win.  Instead, current situation data fused with creative, unique thinking from an experienced practitioner will be the valuable skill.

5.  Leadership

In a connected society, marketing’s seat at the strategy table only grows in value.  Tomorrow’s marketing professionals must be leaders and be confident in their ability to drive a brand forward.

6.  Not afraid to fail

I recently watched a speech by Adam Savage from Mythbuster’s.  In the speech, he says it succinctly:  failure is always an option.  In fact, go a step further – don’t just be prepared for failure, get organized around it.

7.  Always experimenting

The marketers of tomorrow grew up with digital tools – experimenting with ideas, content and code.  You should experiment if you hope to have a cache of creative ideas on tap.  Only then will you have an array of experience – outside of your normal realms – to draw from.

8.  Understanding of tools/technologies/applications/programming languages

Only by innately understanding your tools will you be able to quickly translate ideas into reality, or even know what ideas are possible to bring to life within a given time frame.  I’m not saying you have to know how to build a rails app – not at all.  But you should know what programming languages are capable of and the right designers/developers to tap for the right project (plus how to manage them).

9.  Fresh thinking with content

Can you slice and dice content ideas in 10 different ways, making each one compelling?  Do you know how to mind map?  Digital marketers of tomorrow will come prepared knowing these things.

10.  An understanding of how to orchestrate buzz

Buzz is a vital element of digital PR, and tomorrow’s marketers will understand the importance of it, how to orchestrate it and measure it accurately.

11.  They’ll be members of the media

Because they will be blogging and creating digital media, tomorrow’s marketers will be active, connected members of the media.  In a world where content is advertising and advertising is content, there is no line between the two.

12.  Content marketing will be second nature

Where we segment the idea of content marketing into it’s own category of marketing today – in the future it will just be known as marketing.

13.  They will champion niche media over mass

Mass media will become less and less relevant as we create a world where reaching everyone is reaching no one.

14.  Understanding of the rules that govern groups

Current marketing classes will need to be fused with sociology to remain relevant in a digital society.

15.  Ability to tap power users and influencers

Marketers of tomorrow (at least the good ones) will be well connected and have their finger on the pulse of the world’s connectors.

Of course, this is just a shortlist.  What other skills do you see composing the marketer of tomorrow?