Is your marketing team equipped with today’s most essential skill sets? Does your team employ skills that help your company stand out in today’s crowded marketplace? Do they have the skills required to leverage today’s hottest marketing trends?
Results from HubSpot’s annual report, State of Inbound 2017, share insights into the essential marketing skill sets today’s chief marketing officers need on their teams to create successful marketing programs this year—from channel-savvy content creation to SEO-savvy video marketing.
Here are five skill sets identified in the report, based on executives’ marketing plans for the coming year.
When most people think of content skills, they think of storytelling, brand journalism, ideation and other right-brain content creation capabilities. Analytics typically does not make the list. After all, what’s a left-brain skill doing in a creative job? The answer is that analytics is giving content creators the ability to track, analyze and update content decisions based on data-driven feedback. The result is more targeted and successful content for every phase of the buyer’s journey.
The value of adding analytics to content creators’ skill set was culled from several findings in the State of Inbound 2017 report, including:
The best way to generate traffic and leads and convert contacts and leads is by analyzing what you’re doing to see what works, then making improvements in your content that reflect real-world results. Analytics is uniquely qualified to provide this insight, such as what type of content is performing best on specific platforms. As a bonus, analytics can deliver an ROI, which can be used to validate content marketing expenses.
Today’s ideal content creation candidates should understand the value of analytics, not just in general, but also for every type of content—owned, paid and earned.
In an era of website templates and stock photos, too many companies fail to appreciate how much expert web designers can help improve the functionality and marketing potential of their websites. Yet, the number of companies that do understand this value may be on the rise: According to the State of Inbound 2017 report, 55 percent of marketers say their top priority in the next 12 months is growing traffic on their websites. This goal speaks to the need to create better-designed websites.
Along with the creative design and HTML skills required to create high-impact websites, another critical area of website creation is user experience (UX). This skill has been gaining ground for the last decade and has now reached a peak in popularity as more marketers realize that user-focused websites perform better at every phase of the buyer’s journey—helping to guide visitors from the discovery to advocacy stages. That’s why UX is an important skill set on your 2017 marketing team.
UX designers are responsible for ensuring that products, websites and other online platforms are easy to use and provide customers with pleasant experiences. They plan and create the look and feel of websites (or mobile apps) to meet the demands, needs and desires of a brand’s target audience. A UX designer is responsible for enhancing customer satisfaction by improving the usability, navigation and ease of a product. They have one goal in mind: improving the user’s pathway on the site.
There are many skills within the UX skill set—such as designing wireframes, conducting user testing, creating surveys, analyzing data and sketching out storyboards. But one vital UX skill often gets overlooked—the ability to conduct a UX audit.
While it’s critical to improve website UX, it’s also valuable to step back, take a breath and review where your website stands now on the UX front before diving in for more updates. Taking time for reflection gives your website designer time to build processes without flaws and holes. A good UX auditor will ask important questions, such as:
There’s been a misconception that SEO is dead. It’s fueled by headlines like: “Why You Should Never ‘Do Keyword Research’ Again.” But nothing could be further from the truth. SEO is just as important now as it’s ever been, if not more so.
What’s different is that, due to the changes in Google’s search algorithm, SEO practices are being updated. SEO has changed from its simple keyword search and link-stuffing days to a much more advanced art and science. This explains why 61 percent of marketers say their top inbound marketing priority is growing their SEO and organic presence, according to State of Inbound 2017.
Today, SEO knowledge means having an edge over your competition. These three skills will give your marketing program a stronger competitive advantage. Make sure your SEO experts understand how to leverage them.
There’s been a lot of press about the power of videos and how important they are to companies’ content marketing plans. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report supports marketers’ intention to expand video marketing programs this year:
An essential skill set for maximizing the power of video marketing is video optimization. Without optimization, your videos are more likely to drown in the sea of videos published every day than be viewed by your target audience. Strategic optimization helps ensure your videos get ranked for the right search terms, so they show up when people search on YouTube and Google. Your video marketers should be skilled at writing SEO-rich video descriptions.
Several tactics will help your videos get found in search engines, but writing top-notch video descriptions stands out because it’s so easy to do. Well-written descriptions allow Google’s search spiders to make sense of your video and understand its content, bolstering your ranking. So make sure your videos are explained in full with fleshed-out descriptions, unique titles and tags with relevant keywords.
What’s at the core of every part of inbound marketing? Messaging. No marketing campaign will be successful without the right messaging in content, blogs, videos and more. Now there’s a new form of communication that has the very word in its name—messaging apps. If you haven’t explored this marketing avenue yet, you’ll want to in 2017, because it’s likely that your competitors are.
According to the HubSpot report:
Messaging apps no longer are just platforms for younger generations to communicate socially. They have become avenues for senior-level marketers to create authentic and meaningful conversations with their ideal buyers. With messaging apps, people now have the option to consume content at the touch of a smartphone button. In fact, it’s clear that messaging apps are now imperative for marketers to meet prospects where they are. There is a huge benefit for marketers who are moving in this direction.
To maximize your move into messaging apps, add skills on your team:
Today’s marketing world is a moving target—as shown in HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound report. While the foundation of inbound marketing is solid, CMOs want to stay on top of sharpening their team’s skill sets. This year marketing executives are moving toward more data-driven content, user-focused websites, competition-busting SEO, high-ranking videos and messaging app outreach.
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