Five key skills of the modern marketer

Great marketing is not hard to define:  great marketing matters. It is helpful and relevant. It is engaging. Great marketing is about recognizing customer need and increasing brand value, not company interests.

That maxim has never been more true in our digital era. Although most agree that a customer-centric mindset is the foundation for all modern marketing success, truly customer centric marketing remains elusive. Only one in five organizations (22%) even have a customer experience management strategy (Source: Econsultancy's Customer Experience Management report).

I wrote about the need for a "modern" way of working here in part one of this series about applying the Econsultancy Modern Marketing Model (M3) to your business.

The M3 "wheel" shows 10 key areas of competency for every modern marketer. Does every person need to be an expert in all ten? No. Most marketers will be an expert in only one or two of the elements. However, all marketers must have a working knowledge of every element, as well as specializing in one particular channel or process or skillset.  Sometimes, the area of specialty is "strategy" or "brand" or "product." As we say:

Not all specialists are modern marketers, but all modern marketers have a specialty.

What skills do modern marketers need?
Econsultancy's M3 model has 10 elements - from marketing strategy to customer insights to integrated marketing communications (N.B. You can dive deep into all 10 through our new Fast Track to Modern Marketing online training course.) Most marketers have strong skills in their specialty areas - social or analytics or UX. But the five skills below are what I consider to be modern marketing essentials - the skills every marketer needs to perform in a truly customer-centric manner:  

1. Customer journey mapping

All marketers must fully understand their customers to create a compelling experience. Customer journey mapping, voice of the customer analysis or customer decision analytics can all be paths to the same essential set of information: 

What is the customer buying journey that connects buyers to your products?
What parts of that journey do you need to influence to drive business outcomes?

Which marketing channels align to those parts of the journey for your audience?

2. Integration of experience

Since buying journeys happen across digital and offline experiences,  modern marketers create experiences that address the "whole person" of the customer. Modern marketers must know how one channel impacts another, and how people move between devices, channels and branded experiences.
This might include both or either of integrated marketing (planned, consistent promotions/messaging across channels) or omnichannel marketing (seamless buying experience across channels).

3. Attribution-based allocation

Modern marketing is always multi-channel. Thus, attribution modeling is an imperative. We must know what actually works. That is only half the strategic battle, however. We then must know how to allocate marketing spend to optimize customer experience and conversions. Using attribution to allocate spending helps ensure that marketing activity creates customer value. 

4. Search optimization

Every modern marketer must know the impact of their content and campaign activity on SEO. Search – both on site and via search engine – is the primary source of knowledge about customer intent. All marketers must structure campaigns around the impact they have on website and search optimization. It's the single most powerful way to stay connected to what customers actually need – not just what we think (or hope) they may need.


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