Remember the good old days when it took years of experience to get a job or a trustworthy education to nail you to the best positions in your chosen industry? Things were simple then with clearly defined skills that made sense to the average HR person, not to mention the people applying for a job.
But today’s digital influences and technologies are changing the way we look at skills. A new landscape now dictates a new set of skills affectionately referred to as soft skills. Indeed, soft skills have become a more valued skill set when it comes to digital marketing professionals. So what are these high-demand soft skills an ideal employer-mindset value in modern marketer? Let’s just take a look.
Hard versus Soft Skills: Who Wins?
The truth of the matter is that hard and soft skills work side by side to build a truly symbiotic collection of credentials that modern marketers require.
There has been a clear shift towards technological skills for a while as digital marketing has begun to expand. These skills included understanding how social media sites function, designing successful SEO strategies (white hat only pleases) and of course, understanding the cryptic world of PPC.
However as content has gradually begun to dominate digital marketing, the hard skills of the technological side of the industry have become less relevant. Instead a new range of skills started to dominate the most successful digital marketers’ talents, including:
- Creativity: It is no longer enough to know how the technology works; now, digital marketers need to have a more innovative mind that will enable them to contribute new ideas and analyze situations efficiently in order to help address the many challenges of modern marketing. It also means possessing a creative spirit that can transform a phrase with a keen understanding of the power of a well-written expression.
- Resourcefulness: Analytical minds excel as they are more imaginative. Resourcefulness contributes to this innovative thinking that helps people to become more forward-thinking in their approach to accessing and using reliable data sources for a more educated and informative in-depth study.
- Adaptation: Today’s marketer never knows what the pike might come up with, and so the ability to make fast adjustments and adapt to new demands is a must. This refers both to marketing campaigns and marketing techniques.
- Collaboration: The marketer’s modern thinking needs to consider the importance of collaboration. Many departments are now working together to raise sales, market share, and all-powerful followers who help generate leads. From sales to R&D and ads to high-level executives, buy-in, collaboration and mutual insights are the new names of the game.
- Leadership: Thought leaders must exist inside organizations to effectively direct and empower colleagues with fresh ideas, shared useful knowledge, and a hunger for creativity.
This new way of thinking is arousing interest, leading to studies in several different industries. According to Econsultancy, their research on the emerging skills of the Modern Marketer found that marketers understand the importance of their positions. They also see the significance of soft skills and their role in providing the right balance to work in tandem with conventional knowledge.
This may be disturbing for both traditional marketers and marketers who, thanks to their hard skills, have carved a niche. They are highly skilled marketers who blend the best of both worlds, mixing hard skills with soft skills.
According to new research by Adobe’s creative tech icons, 40% of the marketers surveyed wanted to re-invent” themselves. However, only 14 percent thought they knew how to achieve this goal. This new complexity would suggest that improving soft skills would be the best way to do this.
Challenges and Opportunities
These changes in the industry offer opportunities for growth and learning. They also challenge marketing professionals who find themselves lacking the skills they need but then do not know how to improve.
Also these soft skills are less tangible and cannot necessarily be learned, especially if they are an intuitive writer or have a more creative mind. This calls for people who are self-motivated, hungry learners to adapt their skills to work more effectively in a changing environment.
The opportunity you need to embrace today is learning on your own, as it allows you to be better equipped to focus on developing your own soft skills. Developing appreciation for the creative process and learning to integrate this new way of thinking into your strategy will make you more adaptable. This adaptability will in turn, allow you to take a more curious view of digital marketing out of the box thinking.
Creativity and Adaptable Thinking
Lifelong learners hone their personal and professional knowledge to develop and develop their skills. The hunger to know more about emerging trends and the latest technology provides a broad view of what is going on in the industry without the need to try to be an expert at everything. More importantly, constant learning allows you to become a better communicator so that you can present your ideas and strategies in a way that is clear to people of all levels and backgrounds.
You become an authority that is sought after as a problem solver, a thought leader, and a trusted peer that people rely on to achieve results and meet goals.
Effective Marketing in the Modern World
According to Econsultancy, there are wider areas of expertise that are becoming increasingly important for marketers in this modern world. Once again the emphasis is on soft skills. Those interviewed stressed the need to combine a variety of approaches and marketing expertise that are of more qualities than qualifications. These qualities included:
- Articulation and persuasion
- Hunger to learn
- Data-driven decision making
Many of these attributes might sound familiar as they re-emphasize common themes like ingenuity, adaptability, learning, and collaboration.
Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google claimed that the number one thing they search for when recruiting workers was “learning ability.” This hunger to learn is a very real but less tangible skill. It helps people to change on-the-job and to recognize meaning from a mess of knowledge. This is the modern way of thinking that creates self-motivated learning.
The Articulation and Persuasion Ability
Study also found that articulation and persuasion seemed to be the most common ability. Participants also found that marketers who are able to express their importance clearly to those within a company will be more effective in their positions.
This is because they not only know what they have to do, but also understand the business requirements, helping them to come up with digital solutions that meet business objectives. They will work with other business people, including non-digital teams and conventional marketers, to realize the importance of digital strategies. This will have all the big players on board with their digital plans.
The Ability to be Human
AI provides data marketers with a powerful tool. It can target, collect and sort data. However no matter how advanced modern technology is, it is the human instinct and imaginative thinking of human minds that harnesses the information and uses it to target consumers. Humans come up with a content and digital marketing strategy that builds confidence, nurtures loyalty and wins brand love.
Emotion is needed to resonate with the possibility that AI could be sending a sales team. Modern marketers need to learn to trust their intuition and find ways to exploit all that AI sends them. Emotions are used to find value in data and to personalize it in order to meet consumers in meaningful ways.
Technical skills shift too much to hold meaning any more. Instead, soft skills have a longer life cycle that holds adaptability and learning at the top of the soft skills list.
Most of us secretly wonder what the future is going to bring. How do we stay important in a world where technology shifts when the hat drops? What will tomorrow’s skill set look like?
According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Study of the 20 fastest-growing jobs in 2018, the top skills needed to fill them were Marketing, Management, Sales and Communication. This could come as a surprise. However while technology can make worldly tasks redundant, it cannot replace soft skills.
The ideal attitude a modern marketer need is a soft skill that cannot be automated. This is reinforced by LinkedIn’s data listing the same soft skills we have listed again and again, including innovation, persuasion, and adaptability. These are human characteristics that have been turned into abilities.
While science has shown that machines can learn, they cannot combine technological and emotional skills. This adaptability helps us to be empathetic, emotional, and rational, and to use each of these skills to achieve results that are guided by understanding and how to use each of them. Learning in combination with human emotion and marketing intuition produces a super marketer who will still remain important and never become obsolete.
Keep on top of the changes in the industry, remain relevant, and get the ideal mindset employers’ respect by being a Certified Digital Marketing Professional.
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