The difference between good and great is never the hard and sharp skills which can be measured and quantified, it is always the softer, rounded and scruffy stuff which is tough to learn, unlearn and asses. Ironically, the hard is easy and soft is difficult.
An un-shakeable rockstar digital marketer is not just made up of data, analytics, optimization, tools, impressions, clicks and conversions. He is made of rigor, curiosity, intuition, persuasion, adaptability and negotiation. Doesn’t sound like a chapter from organizational behavior 101? Well, it does and it is the what great marketers are made of. No, he is not made of dimensions which can be measured through the spider web charts.
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The difference between a good and a rockstar digital marketer are the soft skills which can’t be put in a spreadsheet.
So, here’s how these soft skills can future proof your digital marketing career and transform you into a digital marketing Rockstar:
1. Endless Curiosity
The future belongs to the curious and a digital marketer needs to have the hunger to learn more, ask more questions and be curious about everything happening in the marketing world.
The pace at which technology is evolving and communication modes and mediums are changing you run the risk of being irrelevant in no time. If you were an SEO expert in 2005 and you haven’t kept up with the pace of the changing landscape, it is highly possible that you are out of your job right now. If you were a social media marketer 5 years and you haven’t bothered to move beyond likes and vanity metrics, you would probably not be of any use to brands anymore. Be curious, learn new things, spot and explore opportunities to deliver superlative results for your business.
Pro Tip: Use Feedly, Subscribe to 10-15 blogs on areas which interest you within marketing, read religiously, document your learnings and run 5 experiments a month. See the results in 6 months.
2. Powerful Intuition
It doesn’t always help to hide behind data and argue on results with data that is sparse, insignificant and used merely to fill up a table. You should not fear the unknown when faced with situations where there is no precedent or no means to measure, it’s ok to rely on your intuition. If you have a deep understanding of your consumers and business you will fail less. Empirical data doesn’t help you always, path changing innovations are based on strong intuitions.
Tip: Deep dive into consumer research, brand tracks, media planning, business results. No, it’s not the job of the ‘brand’ or other functions. It is yours too. Take a few bets early in your career. Fail.
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3. Exceptional ability to Persuade
Great marketers have an exceptional ability to persuade. They know how to align themselves to the big hairy audacious goals of the top bosses without compromising on what they think is right for the brand and the business. As a digital marketer, you will need to persuade your bosses to run experiments, run campaigns which are superfluous and to spend on marketing even in hard times. Don’t give up if you fail once. Prepare better, work harder and reason with a logic.
What works? Your ability to listen and understand, passion for the idea and your belief.
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4. Ruthless Negotiation
Truth to be told, marketing is still seen as a huge cost center by most companies. You are the guy who is giving your CEO sleepless nights, you have the power to spend millions at the click of a button after all. When it comes to money, you should learn how to save it and make use of it to fund your experiments. Hence, Negotiate ruthlessly. A strong digital marketer needs to be a great negotiator. Whether it is vendors, tools or media you need to negotiate, not only for money but for anything which makes you more efficient and effective. Bet your CEO won’t stop smiling.
Tip: Do not hesitate to ask.
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5. Flexibility to Change and Adapt
An extraordinary digital marketer keeps himself relevant, he is willing to unlearn and is sensitive to the changing environment and consumer. The channel strategy which worked well a year back might not be the best choice right now, the optimization techniques, the growth hacks which delivered a year ago might not yield the same results. It is of utmost importance to be nimble and change course if the results don’t seem to agree with your plan.
Pro Tip: Don’t overtest, handle your ego, be willing to unlearn and make new mistakes instead of repeating the old ones.
We are living in exciting times where the lines between various functions of marketing are blurring, marketing is increasingly becoming the center of the business and it is changing and evolving rapidly. It will become increasingly complex to take black and white decisions and hence a rockstar marketer needs to build soft skills which are enduring.
The career opportunities in digital marketing are plenty; you get to choose what you want to become. If you are curious to get into the world of digital marketing, check out upGrad & MICA’s Digital Marketing Program.
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How can I improve my digital marketing skills?
The digital marketing industry is highly dynamic and if you wish to succeed, you need to constantly improve and work on your skills. Some things you can do to advance and refine your skills include start your own blog and practice digital marketing on it, do a professional digital marketing course, speak to industry leaders and mentors, keep your eyes and ears open to new trends, keep testing, network with professionals and do an internship. Once you follow a fixed pattern of learning, you will automatically become better each day.
What are the hard skills every digital marketer must have?
While soft skills are necessary, hard skills are equally important. If you are kickstarting a career as a digital marketer, you need to be proficient in areas such as keyword research, analysing and understanding data and other business intelligence tools, WordPress, Google ads and SEM, writing short and long-form content for search engines, social media marketing, email marketing and CRM skills. You can either learn these skills on your own by watching videos or do a professional digital marketing certificate program that covers all these important topics.
What are some of the ways to get an entry-level digital marketing job?
Getting an entry-level digital marketing job can be daunting. However, there are several ways in which you can ace this competitive space. Some of the are – brushing up on digital marketing hard and soft skills, choosing a career path you’re most passionate about, doing various free certifications offered by Google, working as a freelancer or doing an internship, preparing for your first interview by reading immensely, knowing the salary slabs for your position and by experimenting by starting your own blog or YouTube page.