Becoming Professional: A Blog

10 Skills for Aspiring Marketers

Posted on: November 18, 2010

pen laying of a to-do list.

By sunshinecity on Flickr


I was asked by @tjohnsoniii what I thought were 10 skills an aspiring marketer needs to be a success. He decided number, so this post is longer than my norm. Bear in mind, I’m an aspiring marketer, myself, but I can still say what I am working on, and then others can pipe in with what they are working on, which brings me to point number 1:

1.       Listen to others: You have to be willing to learn from everyone around you. And I do mean everyone. Learn from children. They have a really neat way of looking at the world. Learn from your fellow students, too. Of course, learn by reading blogs.

2.       Self-Awareness: You might be a marketer, but you’re also a consumer. You have to be able to look at yourself and learn from your own behavior as well. You might be your best inspiration! 

3.       Aggregate knowledge: Be able to not just learn from all sorts of people, but also take knowledge from different sources and put them together to find new insights. For instance, if you know from a Linked In answer that CEOs read blogs but don’t write them, but you talk to a strategy planner who asserts the importance of CEOs having a direct contact with consumers, you might want to suggest Twitter in your new marketing plan. Get the CEO to retweet those blogs that he likes, and perhaps answer people via Twitter and give little tips. Little time commitment and he’s engaging directly. 

4.       Diligence: All of these things can be hard to do regularly. For instance, writing daily, improving, takes a lot of time. I love to aggregate knowledge (Read my Twitter feed. I’m  constantly reading a wide variety of blogs and Tweeting them) but it’s hard to get through my entire Google Reader, and I try to do it daily! 

5.       See from other Points of View: As @pristyles said at a Tweet Up last night, you have to be able to sell products that personally don’t appeal to you. The agency where she works, BBH, does the ads for Axe. I think it’s a fair bet that the people working on the Axe account aren’t all 18-24 year old guys, the Axe target demographic. 

6.       Play well with others: Most work nowadays is group work. You have to be able to fit your specialties and abilities with those of others. No one person can do it all. This goes beyond working with a Graphic Designer. One person can’t know everything about SEO, social media, ad networks, television advertising, and website usability, but each element relies the others. That means the people behind each element must also rely on each other.

7.       Network. A lot: You have to know how to deal with people. How to meet them and how to get along with them. This is generally important, but I think that it is more important in marketing, as opposed to the “harder” business disciplines, if I can steal a term from science. You spend more time with people than with a spreadsheet. Not that you don’t get some good quality time with Excel, too. Which brings me to…

8.       Understand numbers: I expect many aspiring marketers might look at this and say “I’m a marketer, not an accountant! I deal with emotions, pictures, behavior…not numbers.” Well, you look at analytics to understand those emotions, pictures, and behaviors. Today’s world is increasingly traceable. We’re buried in data up to our ears and marketers have to be able to understand those numbers.

9.       Write well: Even if you have no desire to be a creative at an advertising agency, you have to be able to write well. If you can’t write, you face a real block in communicating your ideas. This isn’t just saying, “Yes, well, young women like rhinestones.” You have to explain insights that others might not understand at first. Like why you want to take a technology company’s website and make it feel more like a neurosurgery facility.

10.   Give good presentations: Many marketers have to give their final marketing plans as presentations, so if you stutter when in front of a crowd, join Toast Masters. Get confident in front of others. No pressure, but if your presentations is a flop, you’re idea might, too.

What do you think? Any aditions?


4 Responses to "10 Skills for Aspiring Marketers"

I would add to your point 7. Many marketeers network to market/sell. Marketeers more than any other professions need to network to learn, teach and exchange ideas. They are a million strategies in marketing. Talking to others helps define different ways of achieving your marketing goals and picking the right one based on crowd experience.

I couldn’t agree more! Plus if you network to sell in a crowd that wants to learn, which is most crowds, you will close many doors. Networking is difficult when you know that the people you are talking to can possibly get you a job or become clients, but you have to put that aside and just deal with them like people.

Fantastic list Kate. learning to think through before action is taken will also help.

Think before you leap? Yes, that is definitely a skill all business professionals, and probably all people in general, could use. Of course, it is never good to always think and take no action. Fine lines are difficult to walk!

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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