Everyone loves a fresh start and, after a nightmarish 2020, we’re all ready to move full-steam ahead into a [hopefully] brighter, more successful year. But, as any great business leader knows, setting cohesive goals is only half the battle. To move the needle and make meaningful progress toward your goals this year, you’ve got to have the right people, with the right skills, in the right places.
Whether you’re looking to level-up your existing team, make new hires, outsource projects to an agency, or boost your own capabilities, it’s important to know exactly what it’ll take to outpace the competition in the year ahead.
To help you prepare, here are the five most in-demand marketing skills for 2021.
Today, most marketers have at least an elementary working knowledge of search engine optimization, like performing basic keyword research and what search engines look for when crawling content. But, search engines have become much more sophisticated in recent years, and it’s crucial your strategies and understanding of SEO advances, too.
Global search advertising spend is expected to top $137 billion by 2022, according to Statista, and display ad spend has already surpassed $160 billion in 2019. I’m no math whiz, but that’s a lot of money.
If your organization is like most, you’re already spending a significant portion of your marketing budget on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. And, depending on your skills and PPC management know-how, you’re likely seeing a ton of success or flushing a lot of money down the toilet.
A decade ago, you could get by with just a Facebook and Twitter account (that you updated once every few days). But today, social media has evolved into a massive and ever-growing beast run by complex algorithms that change on a whim. And now it’s essential for everything from building brand equity and establishing credibility to distributing content, expanding your audience, and managing customer relationships.
To thrive on social media, you need the ability to understand which platforms deserve your time and energy, how to cultivate and sustain engagement on each platform, and how to measure and monitor success in each space. This requires a thorough understanding of not only the culture within each social network and how to manage social media tools but also your brand voice and audience’s expectations.
Thanks to the evolution and growing complexity of marketing channels and platforms, and the fact that you can now measure nearly everything, marketing tech has become another arduous mountain to climb. Today, the ability to manage a growing arsenal of martech tools is one of the most in-demand marketing skills, which is why some businesses employ entire teams of marketing technologists. These professionals are usually tasked with acting as martech software admins, designing and managing workflows, running campaigns from the backend, ensuring data cleanliness, and communicating marketing performance by running and translating reports.
But even if you’re not a marketing technologist, it’s still essential you have a basic understanding of the martech solutions your organization is using and a few key processes — like how to pull simple reports, set up a basic workflow, or understand analytics. As the amount of data we capture and process continues to grow, data literacy will only become more critical for all marketing pros.
If you randomly choose five people from your organization and ask them to define user experience (UX), you’d likely receive five different answers. UX is a complicated and multi-disciplinary effort that determines the way people move through digital experiences. And user experience design is the process of developing a framework for a user’s experience with a product or service and then supporting users through their entire interaction.
To be successful in UX design, you must have at least some experience and expertise in visual design, information architecture, interaction design, usability, and accessibility, as well as testing and research. And while not every marketer needs to be a UX design expert, learning the fundamentals will help you better understand UX designers’ design choices and how people move through the online world.
As the digital marketing world continues to grow and mature, so do the skills necessary to meet revenue goals and achieve new objectives. Luckily, there are several online resources you and your team can use to sharpen your skills in the coming year.
Finally, if you started to have a mini panic attack while reading through this list of in-demand marketing skills, let me invite you to pause and take a few deep breaths. You don’t need to master all of these skills to be a powerful marketer in 2021 — you simply need to make sure you have access to experts who can manage each of these specialties, whether that’s by adding internal resources, hiring freelancers, or partnering with a reliable agency that prioritizes education and keeps employees certified.
By supporting your 2021 efforts with these in-demand marketing skills, you’ll be well-poised to make the coming year one of your best yet.