What It Takes to Get Ahead in Your Marketing Career

Today’s marketing industry is growing and changing at lightning speed. Marketing leaders are looking for key skills, attributes and characteristics when building their dream teams. So whether you’re searching for a new job at a different company or trying to accelerate your career at your current one, it’s time to get real about what it takes to achieve your career goals.

Today, data and analytic skills are imperative. Whether that’s being able to create personas, map the customer’s buying journey, segment markets or conduct tests. Marketers need these skills, and not just at the basic level. You need to be able to use data to facilitate decisions and make recommendations.

Processes are also very important. Many marketers don’t understand the processes associated with the work that needs to be done. Today, we have so many tools available, and technology is vast and complicated. I think we can sometimes get enamored with shiny toys, and if you don’t have the processes in place to use those tools, then you will not be effective with those tools.

Also, be more than just a producer. Organizations are more strategic in nature, and more process focused. Try to figure out how you can help your organization be more effective and efficient. Don’t just track that you sent out that email or social media campaign. Ask yourself, what am I going to do to move the needle and how far did I move it? Marketers today have to be smarter.

Robin: What new skills have come about in the last five years that marketers should be sure to have in order to advance their career?

Patterson: As far as the future goes, beware of chasing shiny toys! One minute we’re chasing webinars or virtual events, the next minute we’re chasing email campaigns, and then we’re chasing SEO. Now we’re chasing social and mobile. We need to remember how as marketers we play a strategic role in the value for our company. To be best-in-class, we need to remember how to be customer centric. We are the only organization in the company that has the word “market” in our name.

And, everything old is new again. For example, customer journey mapping. Our company is 17 years old, so back then we were doing what we called pipeline engineering — figuring out the buying process. Storytelling is another buzzword, but it’s all about making the story resonate with the market in a way that’s compelling and valuable to the market. All of these new ideas are taking root because they were successful in the past and are still valuable today.

Another trend I’ve been seeing is how much more technology companies want marketing leaders to know. Job descriptions have become way more technology centric. They ask for experience in a specific marketing analytics platform or CRM software. But, it’s not a director’s job to use it. It’s the manager’s job or an individual contributor’s job to use it. Being familiar and comfortable with technology and understanding what it can and cannot do is what’s important. Leaders need to understand when they need a new technology tool, and be able to articulately communicate this with their team, peers and executives.

Robin: What is your vision for the future of a marketer’s role to be best-in-class going forward?

Patterson: We’ve been doing research around marketing excellence on our own for 17 years, and have been able to get a good handle on what differentiates best-in-class marketers from the rest of the pack:

  • They are business people first, marketers second. They have business acumen and can engage in business conversations with the C-suite and are strategic in the way they think.
  • They have a passion for accountability. They know how to create metrics, what metrics to track and demonstrate value to the business.
  • They have built solid muscle and skills around analytics. They run marketing like a business and enable marketing to serve as a service of excellence.
  • They are in tune with the growth of the company, not simply a supply chain to Sales. They understand which outcomes matter to the company and can ensure that marketing is better synced up to those outcomes and can deliver.
  • They have a relentless pursuit of excellence. They know they’ll never be perfect, but they’re always assessing, always benchmarking. You have to have a heads up periscope up kind of view instead of head down to the grindstone kind of view.

A free version of the 2016 Marketing Performance Management Study from VisionEdge Marketing is available by clicking here.

Author: Michelle Robin

The toughest marketing challenge of all is marketing you, and the purpose of this blog is to help marketing superstars, like you, conquer that challenge and excel in your career.

Passionate about direct marketing and helping people find jobs, Michelle Robin has translated her extensive B-to-B marketing background into a career focused on her true love: creating powerful career marketing documents that lead to interviews at her clients’ target organizations. As Chief Career Brand Officer at Brand Your Career, she works with executive-level sales and marketing professionals across the U.S., and helps them discover their personal brand and fast track their job search.

An award-winning and dual-certified resume writer (NCRW and PARW), Michelle’s work has been published in the book, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed...Get Hired.

Need help discovering your personal brand? Download Michelle’s free Personal Branding Workbook. Just launching your job search? Get 26 action-packed tips to accelerate your marketing job search. You can also connect with Michelle on Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

One thought on “What It Takes to Get Ahead in Your Marketing Career”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *