What are the essential skills for modern marketers?

Posted on: July 29, 2014

I was interested to see the Econsultancy research infographic on the essential skills for modern marketers back in May https://econsultancy.com/blog/64903-what-are-the-essential-skills-for-modern-marketers-infographic#i.1id4kau1ds2dmr – especially when compared to the recently launched new Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) standards: http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/views-new-marketing-standards-cim/ which is summarised as follows:

Core Technical Behaviours
Insights Reputation,   risk and compliance Commercially   aware
Strategy Brand Financially   literate
Championing   the customer Integrated   marketing communications Creative
Digital   capability Influencing
Monitoring   and measuring effectiveness Collaborative
Channel   to market/partnership marketing Responsible
Value   propositions Entrepreneurial
Customer   experience Challenging
Innovative

I expected to see a distinctly digital bias in the Econsultancy research but this wasn’t the case – and the customer experience happily features strongly in both:

The Econsultancy report indicated that there was a surprisingly strong emphasis on soft skills and the ability to deal with complexity, rapid change and accountability with the following ratings “very important to being an effective marketer”:

  • 75% ability to embrace change
  • 63% ability to spot opportunities and adapt strategies quickly
  • 61% passionate and keen to learn
  • 45% open and collaborative
  • 45% ability to deal with uncertainty
  • 38% lateral thinking and ability to make connections between disparate ideas
  • 26% comfortable taking risks

As a psychologist, I am interested in issues such as openness (one of the five core strands in the NEO personality test http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/personality-assessment-as-part-of-the-coaching-and-development-process/ ) and also the ability to deal with uncertainty which is culturally dependent http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/faq/how-can-i-improve-my-cross-cultural-communication/. The ability to spot opportunities would suggest that broad commercial knowledge (reflected in the CIM standards) and research skills are important too.

Yet the broad hard skills that will grow most in importance in the coming years were as follows and seem to paint a different picture and I was surprised at how low technology and strategy appeared:

  • 59% customer experience
  • 51% data
  • 44% multichannel
  • 37% technology
  • 26% strategy

But with accountability being increasingly important – and the overall driver of profitability – I was surprised that financial and commercial skills did not feature higher.

To complete the picture, the vertical skills that will grow most in the next few years were seen as:

  • 51% mobile marketing
  • 50% content marketing
  • 46% web analytics/data
  • 44% social media activity

Econsultancy helpfully provides a 20 minute Digital Skills Test (lite) to assess your digital skills across 10 areas: https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite (the questions change depending on whether you are a beginner, competent or an expert and it provides a comparison for those in professional services). I was relieved to see that I scored higher than most of my peers on strategy and operations, content, social media and customer experience! I’m working on the other areas as we speak….

As most of my work is in B2B, I find both sets of “standards” somewhat lacking in the whole sales, selling, business development and relationship management arenas. So what do you think are and will be the essential skills for modern marketers?

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