July 05, 2017

Keeping Your Marketing & Communications Skills Sharp in the Digital Age

by Erin Johnson

The way marketing communications professionals work is always changing. Day to day, month to month, and year to year, the skills we need to stay competitive must evolve.

And sometimes among the hustle and bustle of checking off everything on your to-do list, it can be easy to fall into complacency.

“AdWords? I’ll let someone else worry about that.”

“That’s a sales problem, not a marketing problem.”

“How do we know it’s working? Well, it always has in the past…”

Wrong, wrong, and wrong! The world of marketing and communications has changed significantly in recent years. It’s 2017—if you’re still coordinating the same ad buys as you always have, developing the same brochures, or sending the same mailers, it’s time to shake some things up.

Here are a handful of things to keep in mind as you continue to polish your skills:

Don’t be an Adversary of Analytics.
I know, I know. No one gets into the communications field because they love to look at numbers all day. But ignoring analytics in the age of digital marketing is a fatal mistake.

Take it from Market Pro, Inc.: “In traditional marketing, when you purchase a billboard for advertising, you will never know the exact number of customers that saw your ad or acted on it. With digital marketing, this information is easily accessible in real time, giving you the option to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.”

Put simply, going with your gut doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want to have a real impact—or if you want to impress your boss—today’s marketing professional needs to come to the table with the numbers, the trends, and the proof that your strategy is working.

Keeping your analytic skills up to par is a necessity to grow in today’s marketing landscape. Marketing analytics is its own field in academia now, with professional development courses available from some leading universities.

Continue to Coordinate with Sales.
It’s sometimes easy to forget just how completely the Internet upended the way that businesses reach their target consumers. The digital age means that—both in business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets—buyers are doing their research before making a purchase. Not only are 94% of B2B buyers conducting research before purchase, but more than half of the decision to buy has already been made before customers pick up the phone to contact a supplier.

And it means that marketing and sales departments must work more closely than ever before—and it means you both have to be speaking the same language. If you’re engaged in a content marketing strategy, you know the importance of developing content for people in all stages of the buyer’s journey. You don’t want a salesperson pouncing on someone just beginning to do their research, right?

Marketing and sales have intertwined roles when it comes to nurturing leads and turning them into sales in the digital age. But traditional marketing attitudes tended to place sales and marketing into different silos. Marketing makes the collateral, while sales gets the real work done with the customer.

Wrong! If you’re not doing so already, look for new ways you can be working together to market and sell more effectively to your audiences.
Keep Making Those Connections.
Some advice is always good advice. Networking remains critically important to getting better at your job, no matter what it is, and that won’t change even if the ways we perform our jobs do. And while it tends to be associated with seeking a new job, keeping an established network of colleagues and associates is good practice no matter what stage of your career you’re in. You never know what new things you might learn by simply talking to like-minded professionals.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Erin.Johnson@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: July 05, 2017 by Erin Johnson Filed under: insights, marketing, strategies