5 Essential Skills For Becoming A Better Marketer
by Adam Luckeroth, on Jun, 16, 2015
Marketing, generally speaking, is not a skill set that people are born with. Part of this lies in the fact that the skills that make a “successful marketer” are constantly evolving.
The 2014 B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Survey states that “Marketing departments are struggling to succeed with their demand generation. Almost 60 percent of respondents indicated they feel their efforts are not very effective, with less than 3 percent stating they are very effective.” More than 55% of marketers consider their marketing personnel to be “unskilled” in terms of executing Demand Generation Strategy.
So what can you do to become a better marketer? Here are five marketing skills to practice and hone.
Skill #1: Focus on Multifaceted Content Creation
Multifaceted content creation is a challenging concept with potent results. Too many marketers are obsessed with finding that one channel that will be the key to their organization’s success. In reality, you may need to manage a range of channels and keep them all in the air to be successful.
Not only do you need to run a well-designed and well-maintained website, for example, but you also need to add new content frequently and consistently, to build traffic, an audience and appear relevant to your prospects. Extend this effort by posting videos on sites like YouTube and maintain a strong social media presence for your brand or organization and 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 and management of content to various channels easier. Guidelines for Twitter are different than those for LinkedIn and the content may still need some tweaking before publication. Create it once but make it something that will interest an audience on multiple platforms.
As for keeping multiple channels updated with fresh content, this is where reuse of the same content comes into play. Focus on quality content that establishes authority. This may take more of an initial investment but can do a number of things for marketers.
Quality “evergreen” content is content 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.
Quality content that reflects authority works to build the reputation of a company. It is easier to sell a product or service when an audience recognizes a brand and associates it with expertise and certain desirable qualities.
Quality content can generate leads. To download a free ebook, for example, interested parties may have to enter their email address. Some studies show that people need to be “touched” from 3-7 times before making a purchase. Getting information from potential leads helps marketers continue to establish a relationship by providing interesting information and opportunities before, during and after a conversion.
Quality content qualifies leads. When readers listen, read and watch the content they are already making choices. When they decide to call, there are fewer questions and a strong desire to simply buy now since they have done their homework.
[Tweet "It's easier to sell a product or service when an audience recognizes a brand"]
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. Videos, for example, are powerful tools for visibility and creating relationships. Second to speaking face to face with someone, videos 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 for 2012, marketing respondents preferred video over white papers, case studies and live demonstrations with representatives.
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.
YouTube and other social media site are major search engines. Failing to capitalize on different channels is a mistake that marketers cannot afford as competitors are already harvesting their leads.
Think about other places that your content can be used. For example, does the sales team have access to all the great materials that have been created?
Skill #2: Optimize Existing Marketing Channels
One skill that you’ll need to focus on to become a better marketer involves knowing 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 and formatting and techniques need to incorporate the updates.
Plan, review and reflect upon marketing strategy. Content, free downloadable, special offerings and advertising need to be informed from the objectives and campaigns of the company as a whole and tie into efforts within other departments.
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 are necessary to properly penetrate your market and achieve 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 attune messages to address their concerns. Listen to feedback. If negative feedback from a wide variety of customers results from marketing efforts, be open to hearing the complaints and review your strategy.
Customers are very savvy and are 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 than the 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 consumers. Smart Advantage works with a research firm to conduct double-blind surveys to determine what customers want.
How can marketers benefit from this type of approach? Use customer-satisfaction surveys on a regular basis to 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 education themselves on what makes their target audience tick, what they like about the company and what can be improved. Getting information directly from consumers will assist marketers as well as other departments. Learn about consumers. Combine efforts with internal departments. Align marketing strategy with company objectives, campaigns, and messages. Plan and initiate efforts. Review and reflect on results. Lead with knowledge and informed experience, not guesswork.
Skill #4: Learn to Understand Analytics Data
Studies have shown that a large number of successful marketing managers focus on analytics throughout the day. The key is paying close attention to exactly what that data is telling you. Data can provide 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 the behavior of incoming leads 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 on 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”. 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 lag time from the initial visit to conversion and common visit paths of prospects towards a desirable action.
Learn where to look and the 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 continually 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 is vital to allow an appropriate amount of time for your campaign to breathe and grow. Allow time to get enough feedback (see data) to inform next steps and tailor your marketing strategy. Pay close attention to areas of success and those needing improvement. If you immediately identify problem areas of an ongoing campaign, feel free to make adjustments. Remember: a lack of immediate success does not make a campaign a failure.
The honing of marketing skills means an increased ability to drive more revenue to your business in a variety of ways. 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 in order to become their best.
Do not chase the trends of yesterday in a failing attempt to recreate a past success. Focus on constant quality and create the trends of tomorrow.