Once upon a Time Warner Cable dial-up internet, businesses would distinguish between (traditional) marketing and digital marketing.
Then, sometime in the last quarter-century, “digital” was ditched, having become a redundant, unnecessary distinction in marketing. Does that mean traditional media were also tossed into a digital dustbin? Hardly. It just means marketing managers and directors need the knowledge and skill sets to be much more inclusive than before.
The list of necessary skills for marketing managers has only grown as technology, data, and media continue to evolve and expand. To maximize your company’s marketing capabilities—while integrating each touchpoint to reinforce and multiply your messaging—brush up with this marketing manager skills list.
Social Media Mastery
Social is so important, it’s impossible to overstate. “Traditional” online platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok remain exceedingly popular. Per Global WebIndex, 59% of the world’s population uses social media, with a daily usage average of nearly two and a half hours.
Planned and Impromptu Posting
You must have a handle on social; your traffic there may be more prominent than on your official website! To make the most of your social media presence, you’ll need to strategize an editorial calendar to schedule timely posts, while maintaining flexibility to jump on trends, hashtags, and memes (not to mention regular monitoring of your accounts to foster engagement with followers).
Further, utilizing social media influencers to help market your business can also build your brand’s credibility and social currency. Getting the right influencer promoting your product or service can make all the difference, particularly with younger consumers prizing authenticity like never before. (And yes, B2B influencers also exist!)
Above all, the top skills for social media marketing come down to timeliness, concision, communicating with the right voice and design, and tastefully calling your followers to click.
Paid Digital Professionalism
The next skill for your must-have marketing skills list is paid digital, the art of strategically and effectively spending your way to increased web visibility.
Social Media Ads
Because organic social is free to use, that universal access means plenty of posts compete for users’ attention—so how will your business rise above the clutter?
For social media, paid digital has two primary applications: promoted ads and post boosting.
Promoted ads will appear on users’ feeds nestled among whatever they see organically. However, these ads will not show on your account’s profile page/timeline; only your organic posts are visible there.
The other option is to pay to boost the reach and visibility of your organic posts. Perhaps one of the posts on your timeline is garnering good engagement. Want it to reach even more users? There’s a boost for that.
To make the most of your social media ad budget, marketing managers must ensure they’re choosing to create advertisements or boost organic posts. Skilled digital marketers will also be adept at most efficiently targeting the proper, receptive audiences. As we said, it’s an art!
Paid Digital Media Strategy
Beyond social, marketing directors have many paid digital arrows in their quiver, all of which can help hit the target across different channels:
- Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
- Social Sponsored Content
- Behavioral Display Ads
- Search Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Google Partner / Google Ads Certified
Proficiency in all these areas is a great way to increase your brand’s digital footprint, expand your web presence, and foster memorable engagement with a wider audience.
Create Magnetic Content
Marketing managers are accustomed to the well-intentioned question: “How will this help drive sales?” And if there’s one element of an integrated marketing strategy that’s most prone to this inquiry, it’s content.
Yes, even with the catchy old cliché that “content is king,” the true crown jewels for a brand are sales and conversions.
How is content marketing still relevant?
Well, unless you just want to use your social media accounts to wish strangers a “Happy National Blueberry Pancake Day!” every January 28, your goal is to drive followers from social media to your website. To do that, you need to offer value. Sales and special offers are great but offering them constantly is unsustainable. That’s where content comes into play.
But what about attention spans? If even goldfish are now swimming laps around the average human’s ability to focus, isn’t any content beyond eight seconds of hyper-stimulating video a waste of time? We see you cynics out there—of course you must cater to your target market. But there’s one other vital result of creating quality content for your website. Cue the next skill!
Still Gotta Know SEO
With most everyone using search engines, therein lies even more value from all your killer content.
That is, if you know SEO. Search engine optimization is one more of the not-so-new skills needed for marketing directors, but it’s as important as search engines themselves. By knowing how to research popular keywords, writing content to address relevant topics, and optimizing your content to give it higher rankings in search engine results pages, you’re establishing brand authority for your website that will lead to conversions.
UX, UI, You Win
You’ve now utilized social content, paid digital, and search-engine-optimized content. But now that you’ve attracted those precious clicks, what good is it if your web design is a total turn-off?
Among the more recent top skills for marketing managers, high-quality experience and interactivity for web visitors are increasingly important. Marketing directors may hear the term “UX/UI” and equate it with simply meeting ADA compliance, but there’s so much more to reducing barriers and friction for potential customers.
When you have guests visiting your house, as a considerate host you’d bend over backwards to over-accommodate their every need. The web programming and design equivalent for this level of entertaining guests is accessibility, a user-first mindset much more expansive than ADA-compliance.
Read our blog on accessibility web design to learn much more about this advantage marketing managers can provide your customers and, by extension, your bottom line.
When it comes to answering that classic marketing question (once more for the managers in the back: “How will this help drive sales?”), analytics and data help to prove the effectiveness of integrated marketing efforts.
Yet, similar UX/UI, analytics is a newer and ever-evolving piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Not putting any effort into data analysis is equivalent to settling for an inadequate eyeglass prescription. Don’t prevent yourself from clearly seeing the whole picture.
Admittedly, the ins and outs of analytics can get particularly complex. Interpreting data and keeping up on the latest changes in analytics tools is one area where if you’re not personally proficient, you’ll want to hire analytics experts.
Apprehend Apps (Perhaps)
Web and social aren’t your only means of monitoring digital interactions. For some marketing directors, app development not only offers your customers a highly convenient way to make the most of your brand, but also presents unprecedented insights into customers’ behavior.
While apps aren’t right for every company, marketing directors should at least consider the option. When your customers download and utilize your app, you’ll be able to monitor their path to purchase, infer usage tendencies, and look for better ways to improve your app, particularly if there’s a pattern of when sales or conversions either skyrocket or drop off.
Again, like analytics, in the likely event that you’re not an expert in the app field, you’ll want to consult with someone who is.
Excellence in Email Marketing
Riding on with the ways to track customer interactions, you cannot forget about email. Why do we still count email marketing among the top skills for marketing managers? Email marketing still has a relatively high conversion rate and current programs make it easy to do, affordable, and impeccably clear to track successes.
Now and for the foreseeable future, marketing managers will still need to “subscribe” to strategic email marketing. Email is yet another vital touchpoint for any fully integrated marketing strategy.
Events and Public Relations Proficiency
Organizing and promoting events are among the necessary skills for modern marketing managers’ success.
Creatively getting the word out is a PR specialty and requires channels and media contacts that may not be on the radar of your average marketer. A strong command of media relations will highlight your brand’s expertise and achieve further credibility for your story.
PR prowess also leads to promoting your brand via atypical media, particularly when marketing managers integrate PR and social media strategies to spread word like wildfire.
Recap: Our Top Marketing Manager Skills List
For a successful year, these are the skills needed for marketing managers and directors:
- Social Media
- Paid Digital
- Content Marketing
- SEO and Keyword Research
- Analytics and Data
- App Development
- Email Marketing
- Event Planning and Public Relations
Considering the contemporary marketing landscape, what does a marketing manager do to tie these elements together? Between these disparate demands, economic uncertainty, and potentially coordinating a roster of freelancers, we humbly suggest reaching out to a fully integrated marketing agency to discuss your options.