July 10, 2018
Skilled B2B marketers are in high-demand, but the critical skills needed to perform as a competitive marketer shift continuously. With the increasing availability of data, marketers have to evolve how they organize and execute campaigns. Data provides new opportunities for insights but can also complicate marketing functions. Communications, messaging, and content skills are still vital in the world of marketing, but technology, data and analytics, and interactivity have become mainstays in the field.
For those looking for a new position in marketing, trying to enter the market, or trying to remain a competitive player, here are seven skills to learn and maintain.
Now that marketers have access to more data, they need to know how to use it properly. Marketers should learn the ins and outs of data tools such as Google Analytics, marketing automation, CRMs, attribution reporting, and paid campaign reports to be able to tell what aspects of a campaign are effective and what are not.
A study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) interviewed CMOs and marketing executives found that more companies are looking for marketers with data skills. 32% said they need skills in the areas of demand generation and data analysis. 47% of those said they are using data effectively and want to hire more data specialists; the study suggests that those executives see an ROI on their data efforts, so want to keep investing more into data for marketing purposes.
Writing and messaging will always be a part of marketing. Quality content and communications will be very hard to automate, so marketers that thrive in this skill set have job security for a while yet. Communicating to the right people with the right concepts at the right time and in the right forum is key mechanism for B2B marketing success.
McKinley Marketing Partners surveyed marketing professions and found that among those hired for digital marketing, the skills most in demand included content creation and curation (23% needed this skill) and content strategy (20% hired for this skill). Even with all of the technological advances in marketing, individuals are needed to clearly communicate ideas to the target market in a way that appeals to the latter.
Marketers should know how to lead prospects to a landing page or a specific branded page and guide them in completing a certain action (i.e., download a white paper, fill out a contact form, etc.). Again, the EIU study highlighted this need, noting that 32% of marketing executives sought candidates with skills in the areas of demand generation and data analysis. Furthermore, the McKinley Marketing Partners study noted that 16% of marketers were hiring for lead generation experts in marketing.
Being able to guide a prospect from an off-site page or channel to a branded conversion page is an essential skill.
Furthering that point, marketers can help convert prospects down the sales funnel with quality content targeting where the prospect is in the buyer journey. By working with the sales team, marketers can write valuable content that converts the prospect into a lead or even a client.
Marketers will need to have sharp testing skills to understand what makes a prospect convert. Unfortunately, only 52% of companies and agencies that use landing pages also test them to find ways to improve conversions (MarketingSherpa). Those marketers that can test landing pages to improve CRO rates have a strong marketing skill set.
Now that there are more tools available, marketers should use them. Google Analytics is a start, and most marketers should already use this free tool to track content. Many companies invest in a marketing software such as HubSpot for automation and publishing tools to improve the effectiveness and ROI of campaigns.
When asked where they want to develop skills, 39% of marketers answered: “marketing operations/technology,” (EIU study) showing how important this skill is to have.
Top marketers conduct both audience and competitor research to construct successful campaigns. Successful marketers are 242% more likely to report conducting audience research at least once per quarter. And 56% of our study’s most elite marketers conduct research once or more per month (CoSchedule).
By fully knowing your audience, you can create a campaign highly targeted to them, which has a much better chance of success than one without any research.
Another skill marketers want to learn is strategy and planning. 38% of marketers noted that as an in-demand skill they wish to improve (EIU study). Included in a marketing strategy should be value propositions, pricing, and incentives for conversion (or what does the prospect get along the way for moving down the funnel). Campaigns that outline this prior to launch will find more success and organization, as well as a unified team that agrees on campaign tactics.
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