While the average person tends to use the terms “marketing” and “advertising” interchangeably, the ad exec with that flashy new TV commercial idea is actually only one small piece of the overall marketing puzzle. There is undoubtedly a place for visionary artists and other highly “creative types” in the marketing field, but most successful marketers are far more analytical and collaborative in nature.
Read on to learn more about the professional significance of essential marketing skills and the most crucial marketing skills for a young professional to master.
Why Are Marketing Skills Important?
Just as an automotive mechanic needs to know all the component parts of a car engine and understand how they work together, a marketing professional must have a solid grasp of basic marketing techniques, structures, processes, and strategy. The importance of these hard marketing skills should be self-evident.
However, modern professionals need to add a broad spectrum of soft skills to their overall marketing skillset if they want to reach their full potential. From conflict resolution to career networking, these skills often separate the professionals who are genuinely outstanding from those who are merely competent.
In fact, marketing professionals are far from the only ones who could benefit from a targeted set of hard and soft marketing skills. Marketing processes and principles are woven so deeply into the fabric of modern business and society that marketing skills are vital to people in all industries and fields.
Top Marketing Skills to Learn
If you want to boost your marketing capabilities, there are countless opportunities to do so. The right way forward for you will depend on your current position in life, desired future goals, available level of commitment, and previous education and experience. No matter who you are or what you want out of your marketing journey, the following marketing skill areas are worth considering:
Nearly everyone in the marketing profession must be able to communicate well if they want to share their ideas with others, keep stakeholders engaged, and manage effective branding efforts. From delivering effective ad messages to listening to customer feedback, the importance of communication in the field of marketing simply cannot be overstated. At its heart, marketing can be viewed as nearly synonymous with “communication” in many aspects.
- Writing: Of course, exceptional writing skills are essential to the marketing copywriter who composes the slogans, descriptions, and catchphrases we see on everything from highway billboards to online pop-up ads. But even if you never write a single line of advertising, promotional, or public relations content that reaches a consumer audience directly, you will need to master written communication as a marketing professional to work with collaborators and team members up, down, and across official chains of command. From daily emails to official proposals, productive and successful marketers must be able to contribute and lead within the professional setting using the power of the written word.
- Storytelling: Make no mistake about it: human beings are creatures of narrative. We not only look for ourselves in the stories we tell, but we let the stories we tell define who we are. Therefore, marketers use storytelling to connect directly with audiences in a highly engaging, visceral, and persuasive way.
Merriam-Webster defines empathy as the action of or capacity for “understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” By stressing empathy, marketing professionals can gain extremely valuable insights into target consumer audiences and better craft outreach campaigns that are relevant and compelling. An empathetic marketing approach can also foster high levels of trust and loyalty to establish and support productive and long-term consumer relationships.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
When you see an ad that connects with you logically or emotionally you might note its colorful images, clever wording, or evocative delivery. But a tremendous amount of the strategic planning and decision-making that brought you that ad will remain forever unseen. This type of painstaking, detail-oriented work dominates the average day in the marketing field in terms of both focus and time. From demographic audience research to A/B advertisement testing, successful marketing professionals must employ a broad array of approaches and techniques to boost their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
No impactful and worthwhile marketing effort is the product of just one person, making the ability to work well with others a prerequisite for any aspiring marketing professional. Whether your role on the team is a leadership, supportive, or collaborative one, your ability to contribute to that team in the appropriate capacity is critical to your success. Because teamwork is a complex and constantly shifting effort, you should employ critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, and communication skills to make your teams as productive as possible.
Organization and Time Management
The average marketing professional is typically tasked with managing multiple duties, projects, and campaigns at the same time. Each of these assignments might require the management of countless individual details, deadlines, and stakeholders. For this reason, outstanding organizational skills are an absolute must for any marketer who wants to rise to the heights of the profession. Of course, time management is one of the most critical areas of workplace organization. Successful marketing professionals emphasize time management when setting goals, prioritizing tasks, staying on schedule, and establishing a general reputation for punctuality and reliability.
Research and Analytics
Beyond core marketing and general soft skills, marketing professionals can benefit from honing high-tech skills as well. This is particularly true in the critical growth area of online marketing, which requires a strong command of internet protocols and other highly technical subjects. From SEO (search engine optimization) planning to data analytic appraisal and KPI (key performance indicator) monitoring, understanding digital marketing strategy is key. When it comes to gathering information about your consumer audience and targeting them with strategic outreach, advanced online research and analytics simply cannot be beaten.
From the constant forward march of marketing technology to the endless vacillations of the consumer public, the marketing landscape is constantly shifting. Because of this, adaptability has emerged as one of the most essential soft skills any marketing professional can have. Adaptable people are generally flexible, easy to accept change, quick to adjust to new circumstances, ready to learn new things, and open to seeing new perspectives.
It might sound overly obvious, but you will never get where you want to be without a firm designation in mind. In the marketing field, it is extremely important to set both short- and long-term career objectives that are clear, firm, ambitious, and attainable. The same thing holds true for the marketing projects you will undertake as a professional in this field. As you work toward your career and project goals, you should take care to set various milestones to keep you on track and allow you to celebrate your progress toward more significant, overarching objectives.
How to Build Marketing Skills
From core marketing and soft skills to high-tech skills, we have covered a broad range of the critical skills that marketing professionals need to succeed in today’s business world. But how do you establish, foster, and hone these skills? Here are a few avenues that you can take on your way to absolute marketing mastery:
No matter where you are on your academic or professional journey, you can benefit from a marketing micro-credential without committing a massive investment toward a postsecondary program from a traditional college or university. While the duration of these micro-credential programs may vary significantly, they are considerably shorter and more accessible than any standard associate, bachelor’s, or master’s program.
If you are already a college graduate and want to further your career prospects, you may want to augment your existing knowledge and skills with graduate-level marketing studies. Depending on your present situation and future aspirations, any number of master’s- or doctorate-level degrees might be right for you. However, these degrees can demand a great deal from you in terms of time, effort, and monetary commitments. For people who want to build upon an existing undergraduate or graduate degree with marketing training, Post University offers a Graduate Certificate in Marketing that covers subjects ranging from advanced marketing research and consumer psychology to strategic brand management. Despite the breadth of this program, it typically takes just eight months to complete.
Anyone interested in a comprehensive marketing education should consider an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. In most cases, this means seeking either an associate of science or a bachelor of science in marketing or a marketing-related field. For optimal convenience and ease, Post University offers both an Associate of Science in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing entirely online. For those looking for the hands-on experience that only in-person education can provide, Post also allows students to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Marketing in the brick-and-mortar classrooms of its campus in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Find a Mentor
Like professionals in any other field, aspiring marketers need the support of many people to succeed. While friends and family members might be happy to offer positive reinforcement, they probably lack the industry-specific expertise you need to make highly informed decisions. A good mentor in your chosen area of marketing study will fill in the cracks between other forms of support, assisting you as you chart your career path and refine the skills you need to travel it.
Keep Up With Industry Trends
We have already stressed just how shifting and ever-changing the modern marketing landscape is. To remain on their feet amid this constant upheaval, marketing professionals must know precisely where the industry is today and, even more importantly, where it is going tomorrow. Consider joining relevant marketing groups, subscribing to marketing publications, attending marketing events, and reading marketing websites on a regular basis to stay up to date on the latest trends.
Learn From the Experts
Beyond seeking mentorship from a successful marketing leader and staying abreast of the most recent industry news, you should take every opportunity you can to learn from experts in their chosen marketing fields. This might mean attending a presentation or panel discussion at a marketing convention, reading a book written by one of your marketing idols, or listening to a leading marketing podcast. Wherever you choose to seek your marketing information, ensure that it is credible and backed up by multiple authoritative sources.
Although marketing processes stress the importance of logical thinking and data-driven decision-making, true success in this field demands a large amount of intuitive innovation as well. This is true not only for the creative types in trendy ad agencies but also for workers in all segments and levels of the marketing industry. After developing a firm foundation of marketing knowledge and experience, you can begin experimenting with different approaches to achieve optimum results. Others can only teach you so much. At some point, you must begin to learn by experience!
For More Information
Post University program specialists are ready to answer any questions you might have about our Associate of Science in Marketing, Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Graduate Certificate in Marketing, or micro-credential options. No matter where your marketing aspirations happen to lie, there is a path forward at Post!
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