essential skills for your CV – FE News

Marketing is a booming industry. Over the past 30 years, she has had to keep up with technological innovations in the same way that specialists must constantly hone their marketing skills. Recent challenges (namely the little-known Covid-19 pandemic) have forced marketers to adapt to a new landscape as customer expectations and demands have evolved. So what impact has this had on the skills required to succeed in your marketing career? Keep reading to find out.

For those currently working in marketing or considering a career in the industry, you’re probably wondering which key skills will take you the furthest in your journey. After all, “marketing” is a very broad term and contains multiple specialties, each requiring specific training and experience to reach a professional level.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as: “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs in a profitable manner.”

As a natural extension of this, marketing is also about using various skills and tactics to achieve the above.

Modern marketing is a very different world than it was just a few years ago, with digital strategies playing an important role and traditional methods often becoming less relevant and less effective. This means that while certain skills associated with the field (such as creativity and communication) are certainly still important and applicable, there are a host of other newer skills that employers are now looking for in their marketing hires.

We took a deep dive into CIM’s 2021 Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark, one of the definitive and unbiased sources of skills gaps in the industry. The report aims to inform the conversation and drive a program of continuous skills improvement.

According to the data, the overall marketing recruitment is showing a noticeable increase in demand for mid- and senior-level professionals such as managers and executives.

When it comes to learning new skills, the largest decline in skill knowledge occurred at the entry level. This may be due to the limited access to training, support and development for junior team members when working remotely. The “entry-plus” demographic of marketing executives also experienced skills gaps for similar reasons.

Finally, we see skill stagnation once people move into leadership positions, which means those responsible for managing teams and agencies are not investing time in their learning and development.

Now that the world is starting to settle down after a turbulent few years, we are now in our “new normal”. At the same time, the industry has largely completed its digital transformation, and as a result, “marketing” and “digital marketing” are now often used interchangeably.

So what skills are essential for the marketer of 2022?

“Jack of all trades, master of none” – a phrase often designed to encourage specialization in one or two key areas. But the generalist has always had a place in the marketing world, and that hasn’t changed.

Looking at CIM’s Digital Skills Benchmark, all disciplines saw a decline, remained static, or saw a very small increase, with the exception of General Marketing, which improved significantly with a 7% increase, since the last report in 2020.

General marketing covers all industry fundamentals and patterns, and is often an area for managers, department heads, or director roles. Having an awareness of “all things marketing” is certainly a strength for those overseeing a marketing function or team. As senior professionals become more “idle” with day-to-day activity, focusing instead on overall strategy and tactics, a lack of specialist knowledge is inevitable.

The challenges of recent years have compounded this problem. A wave of furloughs and layoffs (often overnight) at lower levels has no doubt forced more senior positions to wear more hats and take on more day-to-day tasks.

With a lack of investment in training across the world, there seems to have been a move towards ensuring the ‘basics’ are covered, and a ‘back to basics’ approach, or reliance on techniques previously learned.

Whether he’s the only marketer in a company who wears as many hats as possible, or he’s looking to maintain the diversity of his knowledge to future-proof his position as a team leader, there has always been, and there will always be a role for the general marketer – making it the number one skill all marketers need to master.

Paid advertising is a staple in any marketer’s toolbox. Organic website traffic and brand awareness have always been valuable, but for most businesses, there’s no better way than to spend a budget on an ad and see it thrive in front of search results and customers’ social media feeds. For many businesses, paid advertising is what drives the lead tangle that leads to sales.

According to February 2021 results, demand for social media ads increased by 45.9% over the past 12 months, with paid social media usage increasing by 116.4%.

In CIM’s Digital Skills Benchmark, pay-per-click (PPC) saw a very small improvement of 1%. In a report that shows declines for most skills, this is significant.

In recent years, the focus of customers has shifted even more from storefronts and billboards to the internet and social media. And as any marketer knows, if you want to survive (let alone thrive), you need to go where your customer is going.

So, the legions of marketers doubled down on paid advertising to achieve their goals. This inevitably created an even louder battlefield in an already deafening space.

Therefore, the brands that have excelled (and continue to excel) in paid advertising and social media are the ones that really know their platforms – which is why paid advertising and social media are number two on our listing.

In the Digital Skills Benchmark, email marketing saw a slight improvement of 1%. Believe it or not, we are now over four decades in the world of email marketing, making it a skill that almost every marketer has been exposed to in their careers. A key part of the generalist toolkit, it’s no surprise that it has seen an increase in usage over the past couple of years.

However, the report notes, “A high level of comfort with email marketing is great, but historical data tells us that just because people understand a channel doesn’t mean they always apply their knowledge to offer a best practice activity. Comfort with email also means it’s easier than ever to send out email campaigns, creating even more noise in an already noisy space. »

Like social media, email marketing is being used more than ever. But the challenges keep piling up — customers are being warned about “tricks of the trade” — it’s no longer enough to personalize a subject line or click-bait FOMO message.

On top of that, tougher GDPR regulations, smarter spam filters, and a general apathetic complacency towards anything that lands in your inbox have made email marketing harder than ever.

The brands that will continue to thrive with email as a key marketing channel are those that are able to employ the skills they use elsewhere. They will use all marketing fundamentals and use best practices to create engaging journeys and development campaigns, coupled with precisely targeted sales activity.

As we discussed, the last two years have seen customers flock to social media during their downtime. On top of that, the physical inability to engage with brands in person has resulted in even more social media interactions between businesses and consumers.

“With increased pressure to keep customers engaged, keep brands top of mind and modify products and services to respond to a world in lockdown.” Gemma Butler, Marketing Director, CIM.

In addition to direct messages from existing or potential customers, a social media team must juggle engagement on organic and promoted content, sometimes across a dozen or more platforms.

A quick glance at a brand’s Facebook page will tell a customer how effective their customer engagement is, with the creme de la creme rated as “very responsive” to posts.

Various third-party platforms can help with handling customer inquiries, but there’s more to customer service than juggling feedback and messages.

The ability to resolve queries quickly and efficiently requires marketers to maintain detailed knowledge of their brand’s products or services and stay in constant communication with other departments, from sales to operations. Another critical element is that a social media team is 100% aware and invested in their company’s key messages and values, to ensure that they represent the brand in the right way.

Communication has always been an essential marketing skill, but it is more vital than ever.

In the CIM Benchmark, analytics and data saw the biggest skill drop, with a 6% drop.

With each new platform comes a new metric to measure and more analytics to understand. In addition to new technologies, changes to existing platforms – such as Google Analytics 4, new cookie rules and the transformation of Facebook into Meta – mean that marketers must stay up to date or risk taking late.

Covid-19 will no doubt have caused some marketers to focus on the essentials (like cost per lead), rather than the more “luxury” analytics.

This decline worries CIM, which considers it “worrying for the ability of marketers to analyze and constantly improve their work. These are probably the benchmark’s most concerning results, due to the impact poor analytical skills and usability can have on all aspects of digital marketing. Keep in mind that topics such as personas and user journey mapping fall under usability, which means these key principles will fall into this low skill level.

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