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Every marketing position requires a different skill set. While some of these skills overlap with other marketing positions, understanding each skill specific to the type of marketing you’re interested in is foundational for becoming a successful marketer.
Social media marketers understand engagement entirely differently than email marketers. Social media marketing defines engagements as likes, comments, shares, impressions, and follows. But, email marketing looks at engagement through the metrics of open rates and click-through rates.
To figure out what skills you need for the marketing position you desire, you want to look at how that marketer spends their time and define success.
But, before we go into the skills you need for each marketing position, we first have to talk about the 3 foundational skills every marketer needs (regardless of what type of marketing they specialize in).
These 3 foundational marketing skills are:
Understanding the customer avatar: Marketers need to research customer avatars and turn that information into campaigns and strategies that convert. If you’re not showing the right message to the right person…your campaigns are doomed.
Knowing the customer journey: The customer journey is the 8-step process that starts at awareness, leads to conversion, and ends with a customer becoming a brand ambassador. Marketing is showing the right message to the right person at the right time.
Figuring out customer optimization: Businesses rarely rely on selling a product one time and acquiring a new customer immediately after—customer optimization is essential to create customer lifetime value (LTV) and a successful, sustainable business.
Once you’ve mastered these skills, you can start to build your marketing knowledge empire on top of them. Based on the marketing position you desire, here are the skills you need.
Content marketers market…content. Their job is to turn ideas into high-quality articles, podcasts, emails, and social content. Content cultivates relationships with prospects, leads, and customers (increasing LTV!), making this type of marketing essential for brand longevity.
The skills every content marketer needs are:
How to create high-quality content: Publishing content that doesn’t stand out from the competition is like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping a noodle sticks. Content marketers have to understand the content landscape of their industry and how they can write, create, or record content that makes their customer avatar engage with the brand.
SEO: Search engine optimization is a big part of content marketing because if people can’t find your content…they can’t buy your products. You don’t necessarily need to rank first for every article or video you publish, but getting a few of those top-ranking spots is important for driving organic traffic.
Organic reach: SEO can drive organic traffic, social media, partnerships, and collaborations. Great content marketers build a strategy that uses organic reach to increase their brand awareness while turning viewers into subscribers (and customers down the line).
Promotional content vs. organic content: Even as a marketer, you don’t want to follow a brand that’s just constantly promoting itself. You want to engage with brands who teach or entertain you. Content marketers need to understand this balance, posting some promotional and organic content only designed to nurture the relationship with their readers, viewers, subscribers, or followers.
Copywriting: What’s a great piece of content with a call-to-action? Most of your content should have some type of call-to-action written with copywriting strategies (but this doesn’t mean it’s always promoting your products or services). Call-to-actions can range from reading an article, listening to a podcast, filling out a worksheet, subscribing to your newsletter, buying a product, etc.
Email marketers spend most of their day inside Klaviyo (for all you agency or ecommerce business owners!), ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, or your other preferred email marketing platform. They understand content and the metrics that can lead to a predictable selling system, making email marketers an essential part of any business.
Funnels: Funnels start during the awareness stage of the Customer Value Journey and end once a customer has become a brand ambassador (well, kind of). Technically that customer continues into another Customer Value Journey since they’ve already ascended their way through the first one. With funnels, email marketers can turn content viewers into subscribers and subscribers into customers. They can also ascend those customers into higher-tier products.
Landing pages: Landing pages take viewers and turn them into subscribers or customers using strategic copywriting. Every landing page has one goal and one call-to-action, and email marketers are proficient at making sure their landing pages are converting. (These are a big part of marketing funnels!).
Automations: Welcome email sequences, post-purchase sequences, and abandoned cart series are examples of automations email marketers are very familiar with. These automations are essential for building a relationship with subscribers by telling them what to expect from your emails and following up with them when they show interest in a product or service. Email marketers are all about automations (and optimizing them as time goes on!).
Copywriting: Email marketing involves lots of campaigns that are directly asking the subscribers to buy. This means copywriting practices, like the PADS formula, are an essential skill set for email marketers. Even if you’re not writing the copy, you still have to know if it’s following the right formula to turn subscribers into customers.
Promotion calendars vs. organic content: Like content marketers, email marketers can’t only send promotional emails. That leads to decreased open rates and minimal click-through rates. Even an email list of 100,000 subscribers can’t come back from that. Organic content (like newsletters, free trainings, entertainment, etc.) is essential to cultivating a healthy relationship with your subscribers—and ensuring they keep opening your emails.
You don’t have to tell us—we know you spend your spare time in Excel. That’s what data and analytics marketers do. They love to let the numbers tell a story. Then, they use that story to create a predictable launch or campaign for their employer or clients. All hail the data and analytics marketers who make our marketing worlds go ‘round.
Metrics: Data and analytics marketers are professionals when figuring out which metrics are most important to a business. They also know how to use those metrics to figure out predictable ways to reach their goals. If you ask them, the answers are in the metrics.
Tools: If you’re looking for the tool junkie of your team, it’s probably this marketer. Data and analytics marketers, with good reason, know the best tools to compile the necessary information. Consider spreadsheets their best friends.
Visuals: A great data and analytics marketer knows that a spreadsheet of numbers doesn’t make sense to everybody. They take the time to create visuals (graphs and charts) that help the business owner or company leaders figure out what’s going on behind the scenes.
Strategy: Not only do these marketers figure out what story the numbers are telling them, but they also use that information to figure out a business’s North Star. They’re not just there to present numbers and pretty graphs. Their job is to show you what’s working well, what’s not working well, and where the best place to spend time, money, and resources is for the next quarter.
Scorecards: Scorecards ensure a company is on track. KPIs and goals are great, but if you don’t have a weekly report telling you if you’re hitting them—what’s the point? Your data and analytics marketers can set this up.
Paid media marketers deal with all marketing related to advertising platforms. They’re the person who’s setting up your Facebook Ads Manager or building out your Google Smart Shopping. When you’re ready to put ad dollars behind your marketing strategy—this is your marketer.
Account management: Paid media marketers are experts at advertising platforms. They’re not always experts at every platform (for example a Facebook media marketer has a different skill set than a Google media marketer). They’ll be up-to-date on the latest changes (ahem, we’re watching you iOS!), understand what success means on that platform, and ensure you stay compliant with ad and privacy regulations.
Ad testing (A/B testing): As advertising platforms have matured, they’ve become good at figuring out which ads perform best with your target audience. You can test variations of headlines, call to action, and graphics and let the ad account AI figure out which is performing best and decide how much of your budget you want to put behind that ad.
Graphic design: Paid media marketers don’t need to be expert graphic designers, but they need to understand what ad creatives are working best right now. They need to tell their design team the graphic variations they want to test out (and not let the design team creatively figure it out on their own). Design is just as much of a formula as copywriting.
Copywriting: Just like you don’t need to be an expert graphic designer, you also don’t have to be an expert copywriter. But, paid media marketers need a thorough understanding of copywriting best practices. They need to spot mistakes that decrease conversions and know where paint points and benefits should be placed on ads.
User-generated content: UGC is a huge part of marketing, not just because it means your team doesn’t have to create content but because it gets higher conversions than brand-created content. This makes sense considering we all trust recommendations from friends, family, and (thanks to the internet) strangers over a brand telling us how great their products are. Paid media marketers know how to utilize UGC in their ads to get the clicks they’re looking for.
Search marketers love Google. Or, maybe it’s best to say it’s a love-hate relationship. These marketers focus on search intent instead of interruption-intent (like paid ads). Their job is to get clicks from Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Ranking: The number one skill set of a search marketer is a deep understanding of ranking. Ranking is everything in the search marketing world. It’s the difference between page 1 and page 25—and we all know how many cobwebs are on the page 5 websites.
Keywords (and keywords by volume): Keywords tell search engines what your content is about and who to show it to. They’re essential to a healthy SEO strategy—but they’re not everything. Knowing which keywords to target to fill in gaps in missed opportunities is a search marketers’ jam.
Content for humans vs. content for SEO bots: Content can’t be created just for the SEO bots. If it is, all the humans that land on your content are going to bounce right off (and that will make you rank lower!). Content has to have a balance of optimization for humans and bots.
Copywriting: Search marketers are looking for conversion, and usually, that conversion is the click. They need a search engine user to click on THEIR page, not the competition. That makes copywriting an important part of a search marketer’s skillset.
Traffic: Search marketers are all about traffic. Either organic or paid, they’re looking to get more views on landing pages, sales pages, and product pages. They’re knee-deep in the traffic ocean looking for any opportunities they can find to boost their numbers.
Social media marketers are not interns. Phew, glad we cleared that up. Social media marketing takes a lot of work and generally requires a team of people. These marketers are savvy in content trends and know just what to post to increase following, engagement, and, most importantly—conversions.
Organic content: Organic content is a huge part of a social media marketing strategy because it’s not focused on promotion. It’s just content to entertain or educate and build a relationship with followers. Social media marketers know exactly what content to post (thanks to the Customer Avatar Worksheet).
Engagement: Likes, comments, and shares are social media marketers’ ideal metrics of success. They’re looking for proof their customer avatar likes their content and an understanding of how to present promotions in a way that drives conversions.
Analytics (impressions, engagement, follows): Social media marketers are constantly in the backend of their accounts. They’re comparing what posts helped them get more followers and which flopped in engagement. These metrics are crucial to creating content their audience genuinely cares about.
Influencers, partnerships, collaborations: Trying to build a social media presence alone takes years. Collaborating with influencers and brands who already have an audience of your customer avatar takes a few weeks. This is like the cheat code of social media and why social media marketers are always looking for a partnership, collaboration, or influencer marketing opportunities.
Copywriting: Copywriting shows how well a brand knows their customer’s pain points and the after state they desire to be in. Social media marketers create strategic content that shows how well their brand understands their customer avatar, so their audience chooses their products.
Ecommerce marketers know their stuff. They understand the entire Customer Value Journey and don’t mess around when it comes to customer optimization. They know their success is in customer lifetime value—and they’re prepared to do what it takes to increase it.
Google Shopping: Ecommerce marketers understand intent-based marketing (when someone searches specifically for a product or solution). They know that Google Shopping is an essential part of their marketing strategy because it makes their products appear in the search results—ready to purchase.
SEO: If you’re not ranking as an ecommerce brand, how will your customers find you? That’s why ecommerce marketers have a thorough understanding of SEO and make sure to read a few articles every time there are new algorithm changes. They have to know what they can do to increase their ranking because a higher ranking means more views.
Social media: Ecommerce and social media are two best friends. Social media can drive traffic to your ecommerce website (or you can set up shopping directly on the apps). Ecommerce marketers work closely with the content marketing team to publish high-quality content that promotes their products and cultivates brand relationships.
Email marketing: What’s an ecommerce brand without an email funnel? Non-existent. Email funnels turn followers and viewers into customers, but they also turn them into repeat customers. Email funnels are an essential part of increasing customer lifetime value.
Metrics: And we’re back to the spreadsheets. Ecommerce marketers know success is in the numbers. They have to keep a close eye on their ROAS and LTV to make sure their client’s business or their business is profitable.
Even though every marketing position requires a different skill set, you can see how much overlap between skill sets and positions. (It might be extremely clear that you should have a really solid understanding of copywriting to find success as a marketer).
Regardless of the marketing expertise you choose, remember that your skillset has to build on top of the 3 foundational marketing skills:
Once you’ve mastered these skills, you can start to build your marketing knowledge empire on top of them. And that empire starts with knowing where to get your marketing education from. You want to be taught by the best marketers in the world, not the people who strategically placed a Lamborghini in the back of their Instagram post.
Learn from the world’s top marketers with proven track records of multi-million dollar campaigns and expertise in different marketing positions. Inside DigitalMarketer Lab, you’ll get access to Workshops and Insider Trainings from these top marketers, as well as Playbooks and Certifications.
Join DigitalMarketer Lab to start building your marketing knowledge empire—so you can become a world-class marketer in whatever position you choose.