Marketing is as old as history. It emerged in pre-modern economies, with the need to sell something or exchange. Market is ultimately a process of communication and engagement with the other one, and with the flow of exchange.
If we go back one century, we can see how marketing changed so much. During those old days, the most innovative technologies were limited to just a fraction of the population. It would take decades, and sometimes years, to spread the innovations to the masses. As populations and their technologies advanced at a more and more rapid pace, the effectiveness of marketing methods had to adapt. In the last decades, populations were handed in more control and options. How can marketeers keep pace and have their message heard, in this quick and somewhat messy world of constant change ? Everyday we are exposed to new products and new fast developing technologies. Technology has changed both the way marketers do their work, and consumers responses.
In today’s business environment what are the up-to-date skills you need to have to get hired? As Adele Sweetwood (2014) writes for the Harvard Business Review:
“To be competitive, the modern marketer possesses a different set of skills and experiences”.
Understanding what these skills and experiences are can make the difference between getting hired, or not. But just what are the skills that are most valued in marketing departments? Well, these are the skills that got people hired in marketing and could get you hired too:
1. Creativity and imagination – the job of a marketer requires you to be able to think outside the box. Relying on old, tired techniques and approaches will probably not grab the attention of your target market. You need to be able to show that you can think differently and that your creative ideas are interesting to the target market.
2. Quick learner – the field of marketing is changing all the time, perhaps more so than in any other profession. Being able to pick up new ideas, tools and tasks quickly and with minimal fuss will score you points if you want to get hired in marketing.
3. An aptitude for new technology – being scared of new technology will be a problem if you are applying for marketing roles. If you think about the way that companies market their products and services now, even compared with five years ago, things are very different. Being able to understand and see the applications of new technologies such as social media, mobile and others as they emerge is a make or break in marketing.
4. Excellent communication skills – really, it is difficult to think of many jobs that do not require at least some level of communication skills, but this need is pronounced in marketing. You need to be able to share your marketing ideas with others both orally and in writing.
5. Analytical – some people think that marketing is just “fluff” but a level of numeracy is essential, along with the ability to understand what data is telling you. This must be coupled with the ability to be able to analyse what is most likely to work, and what not. Being able to make solid decisions based on careful thought and weighing up different options realistically is a key skill in marketing.
6. Project management – each marketing campaign is a project in and of itself. You have to be able to show that you are organized enough to manage these projects and that you have the gravitas to be able to get things done in the organisation.
7. Commercial acumen – having a good understanding of the bigger picture in the market place and in the industry in which you are applying for work is essential. Understanding the trends and interpreting them in such a way that you are able to utilise these for marketing purposes is not a “nice to have” – it is critical. This enables you to build a strategy for success, and as Niraj Dawar reports in the Harvard Business Review (2013), marketing often is strategy.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.