Marketers work in a rapidly changing field. Marketing is no longer what it was 10 years or even 5 years ago. Technological progress demands that marketers are also increasingly expected to have (some) technical skills. Hubspot predicts that in the coming years at least half of all marketing positions will also require technical skills. High time for the online marketeer to broaden their gaze and become future-proof.
Which seven technical skills does a marketer absolutely need to understand and make their own?
1. data analytics
The basis of marketing, both online and offline, is understanding your target audience. If you have a clear picture of your target group, your marketing campaign can be implemented much more effectively. Nowadays, the way to understanding the target group is by collecting and analysing (large amounts of) data.
But before you cast aside your online marketing career to focus exclusively on data analysis, this is not necessary. It is however highly relevant to understand how the various data analytics work, this is true for both the analytics that you use yourself as well as the analytics that your customers use. For example, an online marketer working with e-commerce is much more valuable if they are able to shed light on the impact that the marketing has had on their customers’ KPIs, rather than looking at the SEO rankings alone.
That being said, SEO remains hugely valuable to online marketers, despite those who claim that SEO is nearing its sell-by date. Organic searches in particular have the potential to be much more powerful and valuable than advertisements. Especially when they end up on the first page. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of customers find a business using a search engine.
SEO is a skill that requires constant updates, as algorithms are constantly changing. This is why larger companies have an SEO expert (or a whole team of SEO experts) in-house, as opposed to a lone online marketer who ‘coincidentally’ happens to know a little something about SEO. However, it can still be very interesting to invest a little time to at least have a solid understanding of the basics. This is also useful if you are running a campaign for a smaller company.
Marketers in digital marketing positions are often tasked with ‘writing’, be it a blog or a sales page. A little familiarity with HTML makes this process a whole lot easier. Not only will posting text be done much more quickly, but on the whole everything will look a lot more appealing with good formatting.
Communicating with your (technical) colleagues is also a lot easier when you’ve mastered at least the basics.
4. wordpress or another cms
Blogging and publishing content is very important for online marketing. As a future-proof marketer, it’s crucial to be able to work in a content management system. WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS, and is used by 27% of the entire internet, which comes down to almost 16 million websites. Meaning that knowledge of WordPress is fairly essential for a digital marketer.
What if your customer happens to use a different CMS? Don’t panic. Once you know your way around one CMS, becoming familiar with other systems is a piece of cake.
5. (live) video
Online video marketing, and perhaps more importantly, live videos, is hailed by many marketing professionals as the future of marketing.
All major social media now have a (live) video feature. It’s a perfect way for companies to communicate with their followers easily, interactively and in a way that’s totally on trend. So online marketers must know a thing or two about videos. Not only how videos can be used as a marketing tool, but also how to write a script, record and edit. Not rocket science, but you have to take the time to learn how to produce videos. The wide range of video apps makes it easy to manage the entire process from your mobile phone.
Live videos, which have only appeared relatively recently, are very popular. It seems people not only enjoy spending time watching live videos, they make an effort to participate and enjoy being a part of the conversation. This interactivity means that the live videos score higher than “videos on demand” or blogs.
The tricky thing about live videos is that they still have to look good. A live video is no excuse for poor image quality or fumbling about on camera. So an online marketer must be well prepared for a live video and arrange everything down to the last detail, just as they would for a ‘normal’ video. Be prepared for questions and come up with possible answers together with your team in advance.
An example of a live video that was well prepared with plenty of options for interaction as well as being able to make direct purchases is this video from GoPro in collaboration with REI.
6. ux and basic design skills
The majority of companies either have a designer or an entire design team. Nevertheless, a digital marketer also needs to be aware of the basic principles of design. Even if it is just to be able to photoshop an image slightly, or to create a layout of a landing page. Understanding and being able to apply basic design skills will not only make you a better sparring partner, but also a more versatile marketer.
It is really not necessary to know all the ins and outs, but a marketer must be able to explain what the standard digital customer experience looks like.
Also sometimes called the ‘database language’: SQL. Knowledge of SQL allows a marketer to put data to use and (better) understand their customers/target group. It’s a powerful marketing tool once you get the hang of it.
Being able to independently interpret the database gives an online marketer the freedom to continuously monitor how consumers change and respond to a particular product. Learning SQL doesn’t have to take long and will save a lot of time in return. After all, you’ll be able to make quicker decisions and gain insights more easily, which in turn will result in more efficient and effective marketing.
one more thing
Don’t be daunted by this list of technological skills. Your core business remains online marketing, coming up with creative campaigns and serving your customer(s). You don’t have to become a guru in everything, but you’ll certainly be helped in your work by knowing a little about everything and becoming an expert in just one or two aspects. It will also make you unique and stand out from other marketers.
BrandPit is looking for you!
Are you an online marketer with extra technical skills? We’d love to get in touch! We work with a large number of interesting customers, each with their own challenging and specific marketing question. Curious about the possibilities? We’d love to sit down with you and work it out.