Marketing Skills to Learn

Just like any other professional, it is vital for marketers to continue to learn new skills as they proceed in their careers. The dynamics of the world around us are changing so fast, that if we don’t continue to grow, and learn, and adapt, we will be left behind.

But with so many options available to you, it can be hard to figure out where to start. What should you learn?

Step 1 = What are you passionate about?

Figure out what you want to learn. Start by making a list of all the areas you are interested in. Ignore for now whether or not these subjects have anything to do with your current job. Just brainstorm as many different things as possible.

Step 2 = Where will your career take you?

This can be tough for many of us, but take a moment to picture the future. Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, 10 years? What kind of career progression are you looking for? Do you want to stay with one company, or move on to something bigger? Do you want to stay in your current field, or do you want to jump to a new industry? Answering these questions will give you a sense of what skills from your list are most applicable to your growth prospects.

Step 3 = Search

Taking your list from step 1, and analyzing it through the lens of step 2, certain subjects will rise to the top. These are the things you are personally interested in, which are most likely to help your career. Now it’s time to figure out how to learn them.

Online courses from Coursera, Udemy, or Lynda are a great start. In person classes like those offered by General Assembly or your local Community College are another great option. Books, articles, and blogs may exist on those subjects as well.

Some topics today’s marketers may want to learn more about:

  • Statistics and data analysis
  • Public speaking
  • Leadership and management
  • Strategy and strategic planning
  • Accounting/Financial management

Want to Become a Marketer?

Are you a recent college grad looking for a career in marketing? Or maybe you are looking to switch careers and get into marketing for the first time?

Either way, there’s a lot to learn.

The first thing I can say is, even though it might help you on a resume (especially if you have no professional experience), a marketing degree is not required for a career in marketing. The truth that most schools won’t tell you is that most of what you learn in college classes in marketing are either too basic to matter, or are outdated before you ever graduate.

That’s not to say that marketing coursework is not worthwhile. Just know what courses you need and which ones you don’t. You can get a viable marketing education without a full business degree.

If you want badly enough to be a marketer, it will take time, but you can get there. Here are some places to start:

  1. Coursera – free college courses in a variety of subjects
  2. Google Online Marketing Challenge – free course on digital marketing from a top industry player
  3. MIT Open Courseware – free courses from MIT’s Sloan School of Management
  4. UDEMY – free courses taught by active professionals
  5. Amazon – a quick Google search for “top marketing books” will yield results like Inc’s top 10 marketing books of all time

But most important of all is that first job. Real world experience as a part of a marketing team is the best marketing training you can ever get. Find a position with a large company where you can work with experienced professionals and work your way up in the industry.

It’s exciting work. Best of luck!

How to Become Indispensable

Marketers have a lot to worry about on a daily basis. Your job should not be one of those things.

Any time spent thinking about or worrying about job security is time that could have been spent trying to grow your company. It costs the company money. It costs you money. And we should do everything we can to eliminate job security from the list of things we need to worry about.

How? Become indispensable.

Become the person at your company who knows everything. Become the person at your company who knows how to do one particular thing no one else can do, or wants to do. Become the person at your company who knows the latest news in your industry. Start a newsletter. Send out a weekly update. Bring in snacks.

Do whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd. Make your boss and your team notice you. Make yourself impossible to replace.

You do this by being good at your job. But sometimes it takes more than that. Go above and beyond to become indispensable.

Then the rest of your work will be that much easier.

The Danger of Playing it Safe

When you play it safe you might get a pat on the back. You might get the job. You might keep a steady pay check.

But when you play it safe, you won’t grow. You won’t challenge the status quo. You won’t do something new and different and better than other people that came before you.

You won’t get the promotion. You won’t increase your value. You won’t stand out from the crowd.

The danger of playing it safe is missing out on all the opportunities that lay before you if you learn to take chances.

Don’t play it safe. Dare to be different.

How to Measure Your Personal Value

What do you do when you are looking for a new job or completing a performance review at work to sell yourself? Do you talk about projects you’ve accomplished? Do you talk about what other people your age or title are making?

The key to getting the job, raise, or promotion you want is selling your value.

So how do you properly measure your value?

  • As a marketer, how do your efforts contribute to the revenue of the company? How do the things you work on directly or indirectly bring in customers, sales, subscriptions, etc.?
  • What salaries are being offered to people with similar talents and roles to you?
  • How much institutional knowledge do you have and how hard would it be to replace you with a new hire?
  • How many personal contacts do you bring with you when you join a new company or leave your existing one?
  • How well liked are you by other members of your team and organization as a whole?

The answers to all of these questions and more will impact your value to any company. The key is to come up with an overall estimate.

And after you do, think about it from the point of the view of the hiring manager or person determining whether or not you get that raise or promotion you’re after. Is it easy for them to see that value in you? What are their alternatives? How can you sell yourself to them?

The answers to those questions will help you determine the best approach. Go into an interview or performance review meeting with a clear goal in mind, and create a detailed process to sell yourself and achieve that goal.