Welcome to the Marketing Impact Vlog, where today, we’re turning our focus to the softer side of marketing – what are those interpersonal skills and self-management skills you want to focus on that really make a difference to your success as a professional marketer?
How does it feel when you are able to…
- Make better business decisions
- Keep your cool under pressure
- Resolve conflicts successfully
- Overall feel happier about work and your contributions?
Pretty great, right?! These are just a few of the benefits you can expect when you cultivate the soft skills of marketing we’re going to cover today. So let’s jump in. We’ve got NINE soft skills you want to master.
Soft Skill #1: Social Skills. This sounds like a big category, but really, it’s quite simple. It’s about how you listen and speak (both in speaking and in writing). Marketers are communicating all day long, and it’s imperative that you keep refining your social skills. Take time to hone your abilities to listen to what others are saying, develop your ability to understand others and empathize, and keep working on ways to communicate more effectively—BOTH in writing and speaking.
Soft Skill #2: Persuasion. Clearly marketers must be good at persuasion, and this skill is a lot easier to develop if your social skills are well developed because it means you are tapped into what people are thinking, needing and responding to. Modern persuasion is far more subtle than the blunt sales and marketing approaches of earlier eras. Today, buyers have so many more choices and are savvier in their decision making, so persuasion is more about being able to adeptly match customer needs with viable solutions. You can develop your persuasion skills by asking a lot of questions and staying focused on problem-solving with the customer or colleague in mind.
Soft Skill #3: Leadership. Every marketer is using the soft skill of leadership, whether you have a team of direct reports or not. Leadership is the ability to have a clear vision of the task at hand, take initiative as required, empower others to step up as needed and to NOT micro-manage every last detail. At the pace most marketing projects move these days, not having great leadership skills will slow you down and impact your success. You can develop your leadership skills by
- attending leadership trainings or executive events with peers in other industries
- reflecting regularly on your strengths and how you can best use them; hand off the rest
- gathering 360-degree feedback on your success as a motivator, supporter, and enabler of others, so you know where you can improve.
Soft Skill #4: Adaptable & Flexible. This is a skill that certainly is developed with time, as you begin to see there are many ways to accomplish a given goal. But if you are too focused on following the rules or doing things the way they have always been done, you may be missing some huge opportunities for success. Instead, develop your ability to be adaptable and flexible. You can do this by asking more questions, read about others who have accomplished your goals in different ways, and take some risks—small ones at first if you need to—and see how trying new things can reveal new insights.
Soft Skill #5: Analytical. Modern marketing is equal parts art and science. These days, you simply must have strong analytical skills to be able to make sound recommendations to your upper management based on facts. You also want to be able to make solid decisions about your marketing strategy and plans. These all come from the ability to research and analyze what worked, what didn’t and why. If you are lacking in analytical skills and want to improve in this area, my best recommendation is to team up with someone in your company that has these skills. Or hire someone with that skill. Then, include them on an analysis project, and soak up everything you can, learning as you go. With practice, you’ll notice you’re thinking of the end analytics before you even begin! This is obviously a great way to ensure success in marketing.
Adam, that is so true. Start with the end in mind. So the next two soft skills in my mind kind of go together, so I’m going to talk about them together.
#6: Creativity and #7: Intuition. I want to talk about these together because you need them both working together to be super effective as a marketer. Creativity is about expansion and Intuition is about focus/clarity. If you are really strong in creativity, you may have a lot of ideas and be able to produce a lot of content, programs or projects, but how do you know which idea is going to work? That’s where having strong intuition sort of saves the day. Having intuition as a marketer, you just have a knowing, whether that is based on experience or understanding of the customer, or empathizing with the need your product is filling—that one idea is going to work. Having both of the soft skills of Creativity and Intuition working in your favor, this is when you can’t not only do your job well but also have fun!
So true, and I will say that your confidence in creativity and intuition WILL improve as your career progresses. I’m going to do the same and put the last two together because they also operate as a pair.
Soft Skill #8: Tech Savvy and #9: Multi-tasker. There are so many tech tools available to us as marketers that we simply must have proficiency in a wide range of technologies and be able to quickly learn new ones.
So it stands to reason, that you also want to make sure you are an effective multi-tasker because if you are not good at juggling many balls, balancing your growing tech stack, and the team, you will be overwhelmed very quickly. Let’s be clear, multi-tasking doesn’t mean you can talk on the phone while answering emails and listening to a training, all while analyzing last quarter’s numbers. Even though we’ve probably all tried that, no one can literally do that and do those things well.
But an effective multi-tasker DOES know how to leverage technology to do some of the heavy lifting, to set up processes and procedures for repeatable tasks, and is organized about how they manage all of the moving parts of the marketing organization.
So there you have it! Our 9 soft skills you want to use (or develop) if you want to be successful in marketing. Tell us in the comments below which soft skill you use most often and how you developed it. We’d love to hear your stories.
Until next time– remember to grow your brand…and drive demand!