A mix of hard and soft skills is necessary to succeed in marketing. While many people prioritize technical capabilities, they tend to neglect essentials such as written communication, teamwork, and creativity. These are just as important and can provide a significant edge whether seeking that first entry-level job or gunning for a promotion.
A bachelor’s degree in marketing provides ample opportunities to develop the wide range of skills and qualifications required to make a difference in this quickly evolving field. Below, we've highlighted several of the most important competencies to develop while enrolled in a college-level marketing program:
1. Content Marketing
Marketing has changed considerably in the past few decades. While content was once relegated mostly to print, it’s now a field that focuses on relationships with customers via online platforms.
Whether websites, social media, or email, content marketing takes up much of a marketing professional’s day. As such, a thorough understanding of all things content marketing is crucial to success. Content is the information supplied to drive desired consumer behaviors, and it is central to successful marketing. It takes a skilled professional to understand how to shape it for the modern market.
2. CMS Experience
Today's marketers can expect to work closely with content management systems (CMS) as they develop and implement digital outreach strategies. A variety of modern websites are built with CMS solutions, so it's important for aspiring marketers to be thoroughly familiar with the industry's top systems — or to learn quickly if a desired employer uses an unfamiliar CMS.
While handling a CMS may initially seem difficult, it simplifies matters for most marketing professionals. The right CMS makes it possible to curate and publish content without needing to understand complicated coding procedures. Instead, a website's design or navigation can be adjusted by simply downloading the right templates or extensions.
However, navigating a CMS for the first time can be a real challenge — hence the need for extensive training during your education before applying for positions that involve CMS operations.
3. Social Media Marketing
Nearly any social media platform can be called upon to attract followers and turn them into loyal customers, be it Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Marketing professionals must understand how to effectively use these tools to form genuine connections with followers. They should also understand the wide array of paid social media marketing solutions now available.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While many customers learn more about brands by way of social media, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a crucial component of modern marketing. This concept encompasses the range of tools and techniques to score sites higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO is an intricate, constantly changing endeavor that calls for an intimate understanding of current search engine algorithms and best practices. Keyword research is a critical component of this process. Marketing professionals should understand how to find the best keywords based on the target audience. Placing these carefully selected keywords so they sound natural and not overdoing it can be a tricky balance to strike.
5. Website Management
SEO efforts are unlikely to deliver results unless they are supported by websites that reflect positively on the brand in question. These pages must be accessible to a wide variety of users, plus quick and easy to navigate. This can feel like a lot to handle, but such is the reality of modern website management. Website managers may need to handle a variety of aspects of website management, ranging from CMS selection to security concerns.
6. Marketing Automation
Automated solutions are a big deal in the modern marketing field, improving efficiency and ensuring time-sensitive campaigns remain on schedule. When used properly, automation can streamline time-consuming processes, thereby reducing marketing costs and leading to a better return on investment.
Successful marketing automation relies on the development and maintenance of technical skills. Marketing professionals implement a variety of programs and applications, adjusting as they gather a variety of marketing metrics.
7. Data Analytics
Marketing is a far more technical industry than those outside the field may realize. To make the most of every dollar in a potentially limited marketing budget, professionals look closely at Google Analytics and other sources of metrics. These resources help marketing experts determine how effective various campaigns are — and what can be done to give them an additional boost.
Attention to detail is imperative to marketing-oriented data analysis. Professionals must be capable of spotting patterns that others might miss. These insights can help them determine how customers react to various situations. With this information, they can discern which marketing initiatives are most likely to promote desired purchasing behaviors.
8. Emotional Intelligence
The most effective marketing campaigns encourage consumers to build strong relationships with brands. Often, this is more readily achieved when a particular initiative delivers a strong emotional punch. To discern what will accomplish this, marketing professionals need to possess emotional intelligence — the ability to understand and manage a variety of feelings, both others’ and one’s own.
While emotional intelligence potentially covers a range of traits or characteristics, its applications in the marketing world largely involve empathy. Marketing professionals need to understand the fears that strike their target audience, what brings them joy, and what causes them hope. Equipped with an abundance of compassion and empathy, marketers can craft relatable campaigns, compelling to specific types of customers or clients.
Communication lies at the heart of all marketing efforts, and it's important to develop the facets of this skill. Written communication is particularly important, as it is a central component to marketing proposals, interactions with team members, and, of course, the actual content used to market brands via blogs, emails, or social media.
Verbal communication is also essential, especially when conveying complicated marketing ideas to designers, content writers, or other creative professionals. If marketing leaders are unable to share their unique vision or the findings they've secured while scrutinizing data, they'll struggle to get their team members on board.
Cutting-edge campaigns hold the most potential for attracting attention and remaining memorable far into the future. Without creativity, marketers may struggle to find inspiration for intriguing new content.
While this quality is inherent to an extent, it can be improved through practice, hard work, and regular collaboration. Those who enter the profession without having exercised their creative muscles may struggle to come up with forward-thinking ideas capable of standing out in a world saturated with marketing content.
There is little room for stubbornness in a field as collaborative in nature as marketing. All professionals will have their own ideas about what constitutes an effective campaign, and reconciling this potential conflict requires compromise.
Knowing when to acquiesce and when to hold firm is critical. This ability requires a high degree of flexibility. Marketers must be willing and able to change their approach at a moment's notice to ensure that tasks are completed.
Advertising and media trends change at a lightning pace, so marketers must be able to adapt quickly to keep up. Adaptability is key when adopting new software, mastering changes to search algorithms, and shifting design or communication style. Over time, it may even be necessary to adapt to a new medium, such as when social media first took over.
Adaptability is often confused with flexibility, but there are key differences between these two qualities. Adaptability largely refers to individual skills and perceptions and a willingness (or lack thereof) to change them as the world evolves. Meanwhile, flexibility focuses more on the ability to meet others halfway for the sake of completing projects. Think of adaptability as a big picture quality, while flexibility makes it possible to tackle the details of each project.
Developing Marketing Skills: How a Bachelor's Degree Can Help
With so many skills to develop, there is no room for complacency when training for a marketing career. While you need not panic if you currently lack any of the traits and abilities outlined above, simply bear in mind you'll feel far better prepared to start your career if you've done your due diligence as a student.
A solid understanding of core marketing concepts will give you a head start. From there, you can apply theoretical knowledge during class projects or onsite through internship experiences. You'll never regret seeking the in-depth training needed to stand out in a competitive field.
Build the skills you need for a career in marketing when you earn your bachelor’s degree in marketing from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].