"Marketing" - sometimes nebulous, always fluent - and not typically a skill people are born with. This is partly because the role continues to change and evolve. What made a good marketer in past years, may not be what makes a good marketer today.
The 2021 State of Marketing Report from Hubspot says, "marketing will become more human, creative, personalized, social-driving and experimental than ever before. And, David Fallarme, Head of Hubspot Marketing, Asia says:
"The only way to have lasting success is to keep up the changes and master the channels that matter."
So what can you do to become a better marketer? Here are five marketing skills to practice and hone.
Skill #1: Create Multifaceted Content
With brand awareness being a top marketing priority these days, multifaceted content creation can deliver big. Too many marketers are obsessed with finding that one channel that will be the key to their organization's success. We say you need to manage a range of channels and keep them all in the air to be successful.
A well-designed and well-maintained website is only one part of the strategy. You need to add new content frequently ad consistently. In fact, marketers are investing more in content marketing than ever before! 82% report actively using content marketing (Hubspot). And not just static content like written blogs and ebooks. Video and infographics are more exciting and inviting and can increase engagement. You can extend this effort by posting videos on YouTube and Facebook and maintain a solid social media presence for your brand and business. If you do, you'll be firing on all cylinders.
The same content can be repurposed and formatted for different social media platforms. Tools like Hootsuite can bring in a level of automaticity and make publishing content to other channels easier. The guidelines for Twitter differ from LinkedIn so the content might need some tweaking before publishing. Create it once but make it something that will interest an audience across multiple platforms.
As for keeping many channels updated with fresh content - this is where reuse of the same content comes into play. Focus on quality content that establishes authority. This might take more of an initial investment, but it can do many things for today's marketers.
Quality “evergreen” content is what you should strive for. It is the kind that remains relevant over a long period of time vs. content that focuses on fast fading fads. Marketing trends may change, but key concepts do not. With regular updates to reflect new developments, one original piece of content can have a long life (just like this one!).
Quality content that reflects authority works to build the reputation of a company. It drives traffic to your site with thought-leadership and gives you an edge over the competition.
Quality content can generate leads. To download a free ebook, for example, interested parties may have to enter their email address. Recent studies show that people need a minimum of 10 touches to get and stay on prospects' radars (yes, 10 touches!). Getting information from potential leads helps marketers continue to establish a relationship. They can continue to deliver exciting information throughout the buyer's journey.
Quality content qualifies leads. When readers listen, read, and watch the content, they are already making choices. When they decide to engage, there are fewer questions and a strong desire to simply buy since they have done their homework.
Another perk of quality content is that other sites may want to share it. Backlinks on high authority sites help to break into a new audience and further establish your reputation as an industry leader.
Quality content can take many forms. Earlier, we mentioned video. Videos are powerful tools for visibility and creating relationships. They can help generate a level of trust and intimacy between a potential customer and a business. According to Forbes and the B2B Demand Generation Survey, marketing respondents preferred video over white papers, case studies, and live demonstrations with reps.
There are strong psychological reasons that people are drawn to video states Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., a speaker, author, and consultant to Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Disney, and Walmart. People are hardwired to pay attention to faces for information, emotions are contagious and movement gets our immediate notice.
If you aren't capitalizing on different channels, you're missing a mark you can't afford to miss.
Think about other places that your content can be used. Ask yourself, "does the sales team have access to all the great materials that have been created?".
Skill #2: Optimize Your Existing Marketing Channels
Know how and when to optimize your existing marketing channels through testing and audits. Previous channel success does not guarantee future performance. Consider CPR to breathe more life into your efforts.
Conduct a regular website audit. Ultimately, the goal is to have pages performing well with calls to action and high conversion rates. Review the pages and make a plan to work on other aspects that need fine-tuning. Search engine optimization rules are constantly changing so you'll need to stay on top of the updates.
Plan, review, and reflect upon marketing strategy. Content, unique offerings, and advertising need to be informed from previous campaigns - and from key departments within the business, like sales and customer success teams.
Refine your message with analytics and A/B testing. Find out where prospects linger, when they convert, and what form of message calls to them. Run free Google Analytics Content Experiments to test variants of landing pages.
The optimization of website efforts, inbound, email, and social media is needed. Insights help penetrate your market and achieve the very best results.
Skill #3: Create Strong Customer Relationships
Create organic relationships with individuals and form a loyal customer base. The aim for marketers is to build ongoing relationships with customers. Know their needs - and their pain points. Create messages to address their concerns. Listen to feedback. If you're not getting desired results or, worse yet, negative feedback, be open to hearing the complaints and review your strategy.
Customers are very savvy. They're also bombarded by sales pitches and advertisements every time they go online. They want connection and a better experience. The perception marketers (and companies) have of what customers want can be vastly different from reality. Determine the desires of customers. In the Entrepreneur article, How to Figure Out Exactly What Your Customers Want, Jaynie L. Smith, co-author of Relevant Selling and CEO of Smart Advantage helps companies with that issue.
According to Smith, more than 90 percent of companies get it wrong and don’t know which of their products or services are most important to buyers.
Want to get it right? Use customer satisfaction surveys regularly. Surveys help determine what the customer base appreciates most about the products, services, engagement, and the company itself. Incorporate that within the marketing strategy and content development. The best marketing practices derive from knowing want an audience wants.
Marketers need to educate themselves on what makes their target audience tick - and what their primary pain points are too! Getting information directly from buyers will assist marketers in meeting customer's needs. Learn about prospects and customers. Combine efforts with internal departments. And examine company objectives, campaigns, and messages to align marketing strategy. Then, plan and initiate actions. Review and reflect on results. Lead with knowledge and informed experience, not guesswork.
Skill #4: Lean on Your Robust Analytics
Studies have shown that most successful marketers focus on analytics throughout the day. The key is paying close attention to what that data is telling you. Data provides extensive insight into customer behavior and the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
According to The Top 5 Google Analytics Reports for Social Media Marketers, there are 5 ways to watch incoming leads' behavior from the data being generated from marketing efforts.
1. Filter social media traffic. Use the “Advanced Segments” button to view site traffic, behavior and understand what goals and sales actions are completed.
2. Watch for conversions. Social reports and “Conversions” show how marketing efforts impact sales conversion and the content that speaks to a target audience.
3. Quantify traffic to social media venues. Create a custom event for each link to a social media venue and understand the type of visitor visiting based on behavior and other key indicators. Use Google’s Event Tracking Guide to help set this up.
4. Create and implement “Content Experiments”. As mentioned earlier, the Experiments toolset will help marketing departments understand what content will lead to a conversion.
5. Understand the link between marketing efforts and sales. Multi-channel Funnel Reports helps to show how social media interactions with other factors. This includes the lag time from the initial visit to conversion and common visit paths of prospects towards a desirable action, like a demo request.
Learn where to look. And use tools to use to effectively and efficiently direct marketing efforts. If the tools that you are using do not provide analytics, it may be time to upgrade.
Skill #5: Be Patient Young Grasshopper
Most successful marketing campaigns are not launched overnight. Because the marketing landscape is changing at a rapid pace, efforts aren’t always going to be immediately successful. Become a master of testing and constant iteration. Be patient and observant.
Especially in the age of social media - it's vital to allow enough time for your campaign to breathe and grow. Allow time to get enough feedback (see data). Let it inform the following steps to tailor your marketing strategy. Pay close attention to areas of success and those needing improvement. If you identify problem areas of an ongoing campaign, feel free to adjust.
Honing marketing skills = an increased ability to drive more revenue to your business in various ways. A new perspective helps to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing landscape. When a sports reporter once asked Wayne Gretzky how he was such a successful hockey player, he said that he “went where the puck was going to be and not where it was.” That is the same type of mentality that successful marketers must adopt to become their best.
Don't get caught chasing yesterday's trends in a failing attempt to recreate a past success. Focus on consistent quality and create the trends of tomorrow.