Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers


I couldn’t agree more with Kathleen Schaub’s post ‘Eight skills for tomorrows marketers’ from November 9, 2009. However, I’m with Keith who commented on her blog that the title should read ‘Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers’:

“[…] Marketing’s most interesting new roles require skills from non-traditional disciplines.

For your next marketing hire, consider people experienced in the following areas:

1) Sales Skills: Now that 100% of B2B buyers repeatedly touch the web (both vendor’s sites and those of 3rd parties) throughout the buying process, marketing must stay active from “cold to close”. No more filling the top of the funnel and passing leads off to sales. Tony Jaros, VP of Research from Sirius Decisions asks a radical question – why is the web still in Corporate Marketing? No longer just a corporate brochure, the web is central to revenue generation. IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice says that some leading organizations (Intel, for example) are hiring CMO’s with sales backgrounds. With new organizational structures such as Demand Centers and with pressure for better sales enablement taking center stage, people with working knowledge of sales AND marketing are golden. All marketers should learn about selling.

2) Social Media Skills: It’s no secret that social media dramatically changes the buyer-seller-influencer dynamic. But only those actively participating in social media tangibly appreciate the differences between old-style one-way media conversations and the group interactivity.

3) Influencer Marketing Skills: Advocacy and relationship roles such as AR, PR, developer relations, customer advocacy, community managers and evangelists continue to move beyond traditional boundaries and broaden their role to more types of influencers. Influencer50 has identified 24 types (Barbara French lists them here).

4) Journalism/ Storytelling Skills: With buyers getting the majority of their information from the web and with sales enablement increasing in priority, there’s no end to the need for juicy, targeted content. David Meerman Scott suggests that we hire trained journalists. Our customer segments and our eco-systems would be their “beat” – listening for stories, mashing them with our messages and placing fresh, relevant, content within the conversation.

5) Process Design Skills: Marketing automation is just beginning to penetrate its market. Forrester says it’s less than 5% adopted. As anyone who has been part of a re-engineering effort can attest, it’s not the automation that increases productivity. It’s the process changes that automation enables and enforces. Deploying marketing automation will require skills such as process modeling, project management, the ability to train and manage change, as well as ease with technology.

6) Data/ Analytics Skills: Technology captures and makes available enormous amounts of data about buyer and seller behavior. What does it all mean? Two of the most valuable uses of data are the ability to reveal a buyer’s “digital body language“, as Eloqua’s Steven Woods’ new book discusses, as well as the ability to closely link marketing performance to business performance. Real data about customer behavior and real ties to revenue promise marketing leadership a bigger seat at the executive table.

7) Design Thinking Skills: CEO’s want to know, “how can I make my company more innovative?” In addition to R&D, marketing would be a natural place to source talent. In his new book, Change by Design, Tim Brown, CEO of design shop IDEO, talks about how leading companies are tapping into right-brain tricks that those schooled in the arts practice, such as brainstorming, role-playing and scenario-building (see his TED talks here).

8) Domain Expertise: Customers don’t care about our products. They care about themselves and their problems. Building a bridge between our products and the customer’s care-abouts requires knowledge of both realms.”

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