Building a successful brand requires a team with a broad set of marketing skills, including both soft skills and hard skills, as well as some underlying organizational best practices.
LinkedIn’s research showed that hiring for digital marketing roles grew nearly 33% year-over-year in 2020. The top job titles and most in-demand skills include:
- Top job titles: Digital Marketing Specialist, Social Media Manager, Marketing Representative, and Search Engine Optimization Specialist.
- Skills: Product Marketing, Digital Strategy, and Brand Management.
Positioning your team to get those in-demand marketing skills gives you an edge over the competition.
But it’s not just skills that make a difference.
Bringing a variety of people with marketing talent and unique perspectives together gives your brand a huge advantage.
Here’s our rundown on the top 18 marketing skills to consider when building your team.
Soft Marketing Skills
In this section, we’ll look at the soft skills your marketing team requires to build a successful brand.
1. Verbal, written communication, and presentation skills:
Marketers require both strong verbal and written communication skills, plus presentation skills to succeed in their role.
Internal communication skills: Marketers need to communicate internally with their colleagues and manager, whether that’s in-person or online, to get their point across and discuss projects.
External communication (PR) skills: As a marketer, a large part of your role involves communicating with your target audience and existing customers through various channels. Some positions, like PR, may require even more diplomatic skills to handle a crisis as well as communicating with publications, industry journalists, or bloggers.
Interpersonal communication skills: Building relationships with internal and external stakeholders is a crucial part of marketing, and that comes down to how you interact with people rather than what you say.
Presentation skills: An integral part of marketing involves pitching your project or your product confidently. Again, this could be in different settings, including the board room, webinars, or online meetings.
2. Organizational and time management skills:
While there’s always room for improvement, you’ll want to hire marketers with strong organizational and time management skills.
Marketers are usually handling several projects at once, so they’ll need excellent time management skills to stay on track and meet deadlines. They’ll also need to be familiar with schedules, content calendars, templates, outlines, and project plans.
As well as being organized, look for marketers who can adapt to changing situations and are flexible enough to prioritize their work as the situation demands.
A huge part of marketing involves research, such as checking your competition, finding influencers, gathering product ideas, checking new tools, and of course, targeting your audience. So, look for marketers who can research, strategize, and plan campaigns so that you can build your brand.
4. Data-driven and passionately analytical:
Closely related to research is analytics. Marketing involves a lot of number crunching, so you need marketers who are data-driven and passionately analytical about their role.
“Taking a data-backed approach is the only way to successfully execute campaigns, find research answers, test new marketing strategies, and react in real-time to take advantage of attractive opportunities.”
Hard Marketing Skills
In this section, we’ll look at the hard skills your marketing team needs to build a successful brand.
5. Strategy development:
When you’re building your marketing team, it’s essential to have someone at the top who can develop your overall marketing program and align it with the business.
For example, if you were hiring a Head of Content Marketing, they would need to understand content strategy and have a deep understanding of how the marketing funnel works.
6. Editorial planning /editing /proofreading:
Following on from strategy, you’ll need someone responsible for editorial planning. Depending on your team’s size, you may have more than one person responsible for editorial planning who tackle different campaign types.
Your planner(s) will need experience using editorial and marketing calendar tools, and ideally, can edit and proofread content before it’s published.
7. Content creation:
Content creation skills not only refers to writers but also graphic designers, videographers, podcasters, and more. Here you might be able to hire someone who is multi-talented or hire individual specialists.
Writer: You’ll need someone with strong writing skills to craft content that represents your brand. You may even hire specialist writers, such as copywriters, to create persuasive copy for emails and your website or writers to craft your social media content.
Graphic Designer: You’ll need a graphic designer to create images for various channels, including your website, social media channels, and other promotional materials.
Videographer: If you want to produce long-form videos, say for YouTube, you’ll likely need to hire a professional videographer with expert production skills, editing, and even video animation. For shorter social media videos, you may find your graphic designer is ample.
Search engine optimization (SEO) skills are a vital part of marketing teams. SEO can help give your web content a boost in organic searches. Aside from on-page and technical SEO skills, you might want to look for off-page SEO skills to help with link building and guest posting. Your SEO specialist will also need to be familiar with tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to plan, execute, and analyze campaigns.
9. Social media:
Social media marketing has become one of the most successful channels for building brand success. Like the other marketing skills, you may end up hiring a few specialists or one good all-rounder, depending on your requirements.
Typical social media marketing skills include:
- Understanding how the marketing strategy applies to social media.
- Selecting the social media platforms that fit your target audience and business.
- Knowing how each social media algorithm works.
- Knowing how to create content for each social platform.
- Keeping up with social trends and ideas.
- Knowing how to use social media management tools, like Loomly.
10. Email marketing:
Email marketing plays an important part in sharing your content and building your audience. If you run an ecommerce business, you’ll also need a marketer to develop your transactional email sequences.
Your email marketing specialist needs the skills to:
- Craft the right type of emails for different campaigns and transactions.
- Help attract new subscribers.
- Understand A/B testing and email lead nurturing.
- Improve customer retention and loyalty.
- Report on deliverability issues, open rates, and click-through rates.
- Adhere to compliance regulations (such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws).
11. Paid advertising:
Besides organic growth with SEO, you’ll likely need to hire an advertising specialist, possibly even two – one for paid social and one for paid search. Both paid advertising channels are useful for building brand awareness and promoting specific campaigns. For each advertising platform, marketers need to know how to set their budget, target the right audience, perform A/B tests, and track results.
12. Web design / development / management:
Web Design: Slightly different from a graphic designer, your web designer needs to master the website user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) so that your audience has an enjoyable and frictionless visit.
Web development: Depending on your organization, you may need a full-time or part-time coder to develop your website functionality. Requirements for the role can vary from having a basic knowledge of coding to being proficient in HTML, CSS, and other coding languages.
Website / CMS management: Most brands have a website and content management system (CMS), so you’ll likely need someone in your team who knows how to manage a CMS like WordPress. It might be a specialist position, or one that overlaps with other roles above, or one that your content writer/editor performs.
13. Data analysis:
One of the most coveted marketing skills is data analysis. Marketing thrives on dicing data and numbers. Whether it’s web analytics, social media insights, or email campaign data, marketing teams need to know what’s working and what isn’t. They’ll also need to report the return on investment (ROI) to the business to justify future campaign budgets.
Typical data analysis skills include:
- Knowing how to use various marketing analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Hotjar, and Crazy Egg.
- Understanding how to analyze and interpret website data.
- Understanding how to analyze and interpret social media data.
- Understanding and interpreting customer behavior.
- Knowing and understanding data science.
- Translating data into actionable insights.
- Knowing how to use data to tell a story.
- Understanding and using data visualization.
- Knowing how to measure the ROI of marketing campaigns.
- Knowing how to build custom dashboards and reports.
14. Marketing technology:
With so many new marketing tools available, you may want to hire a marketing technologist to evaluate what technology is best suited to your organization, when it’s needed, and how it fits with everything else in your technology stack.
Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic gives you an overwhelming idea of the vast numbers involved – 8,000 martech solutions! Plus, new trends emerging, like ecommerce, social commerce, augmented reality, and digital clothing.
Organizational Best Practices
In this final section, we’ll examine some of the underlying qualities to look for when building your marketing team.
Your marketing team does not operate in a silo. They need to be able to collaborate with different functional teams in your business, and possibly external stakeholders too, including:
- Sales: to check the correctness of any sales messages.
- Product: to check the accuracy of product information.
- HR: to ensure the updates are in line with company policy.
- Finance: to ensure there are no budget issues.
- Legal: to ensure there are no liability issues.
- Third-Parties: any clients, agencies, or contractors you may be working with.
Cross-team collaboration means your marketers need to know how to communicate and manage expectations so that everyone is on the same page.
Closely related to marketing collaboration is teamwork. It’s an important marketing skill as it separates the good from the great. Make sure you hire team players rather than individuals.
You want to ensure that any marketer you hire fits your company culture. Potential candidates could have the best marketing skills, but if they don’t fit with your company culture they’ll struggle to make an impact.
Marketers can learn skills, but you want to know what makes a person tick, their thought process, and what they are passionate about.
18. Marketing mindset:
Finally, you want to ensure your team members have the right marketing mindset. For example, characteristics could include:
- Ability to remove distractions and focus.
- Figure-it-out attitude.
- Questioning mind.
- Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
- Thirst for knowledge and learning.
- Acceptance of feedback.
- Willingness to experiment and find the answers.
- Understand how marketing builds your brand and moves your business forward.
Marketing Skills in a Nutshell
Ultimately, rather than evaluating only soft and hard marketing skills, you need to consider the underlying organizational best practices and qualities to ensure your marketing team can build a successful brand.