Our junior marketers are looking to us to help them grow and thrive in a quick-change, high-stakes marketing world. As marketing leaders, how do we help them gather and grow the skills they need for success in B2B, B2C, and across both?
In this article, we’ll define the must-have skills for well-rounded marketers and sources to share with your teams to help them start rounding out their skills now and as they grow.
Here are some quick links:
- The responsibilities of leadership
- Defining a well-rounded marketer
- Must-have skills for marketers
- Sources to share with your team
The responsibilities of leadership
There’s a lot of noise out there about what a marketer should be and do, and a lot of concern from up-and-coming professionals about how to stay relevant, competitive, and valuable in tough marketing. Our junior marketers are looking to carve their career paths, and it’s the job of forward-thinking leaders to help make that happen.
It’s a delicate balance between giving your marketers the support they need to achieve their goals and making space for their unique perspectives and ideas to shine.
Our best chance at happy, healthy teams who perform well and grow quickly is to nurture the growth of our junior marketers by making sure they’re constantly gathering new skills and improving the ones they already have. (In fact, we should be doing this for all of our marketers, not just the new ones.)
Defining a well-rounded marketer
So, what makes a marketer well-rounded in the first place? How do we start defining the skills that can create value for our junior marketers both within the business and in their long-term careers?
The big differentiator between a marketer who is good at their job right now and one who’ll be good at many things throughout their career is a diversity of skills. The best marketers understand the differences (and commonalities) between B2B and B2C marketing.
They can easily adapt strategies to cater to the unique needs of different audiences and personas. They understand, at least at a high level, the nuances across marketing channels including digital, social, content, and traditional marketing.
Essentially, it’s up to us to make sure we’re nurturing versatile teams that have the education and experience they need to create truly comprehensive campaigns and deliver the engaging marketing our bottom lines rely on.
Must-have skills for marketers
If it’s up to us to develop these necessary marketing skills, let’s start with what they look like. By no means is this an exhaustive list, and some things will vary based on the needs of your organization and the skill/personality mix of your team, but this list gives us a place to start.
Things change fast in marketing, and the best of us are ahead of trends, on top of emerging tech, and constantly updating our approaches to meet new consumer needs. Flexibility reigns supreme when it comes to marketing.
Marketers don’t have to be data specialists, but in an increasingly data-driven world, we do need to understand how to think about data and what to do with the basics so that we can inform our work and drive meaningful results.
A digital mindset
This one probably goes without saying, and younger generations likely have this as a default, but we need to continue cultivating a solid familiarity with digital platforms, tools, and strategies including SEO, SEM, email marketing, social media, paid media, and more.
It’s not enough just to be able to put words on a screen. Marketers need to understand the power of a well-told story and the elements that make up truly compelling content. The better your marketers understand what goes into a great story, the easier it will be to create engaging content (and know when to call in the copywriters).
Marketing depends on our ability to make connections with other people. Our entire field is built on making connections and being able to communicate.
Today’s marketers need to have the skills to communicate ideas and information and be able to leverage an array of interpersonal skills that help them maintain a positive brand image within and outside the company.
Our work is a fine balance of quick turnaround, reactionary work, and long-term planning. Well-rounded marketers can put on their strategy hats and align both ongoing and one-off campaigns with bigger-picture organizational goals and market dynamics.
Sources to share with your team
There are several ways junior marketers can start building or refreshing these skills and, depending on your organizational plans and budget, it makes sense to sit down and make specific growth plans for each of your direct reports.
These growth plans should detail each team member’s short-, middle-, and long-term growth goals, alongside actionable plans for how to meet them and specific dates for milestones along the way.
When it comes to how, start with…
Online sources like Revenue Marketing Alliance, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and HubSpot Academy are often inexpensive or may even be free through corporate memberships.
They deliver a wide range of diverse training materials for marketers at every level. Encourage your team to explore these courses and enroll in the ones that match their goals. Just make sure you’re leaving time in their schedules to pursue this.
This includes a monthly newsletter straight to your inbox, access to our Slack community to connect and network, exclusive content to help you excel in your role, and much more. What’s not to love?
Marketing-specific sources including AdAge, MarketingProfs, Moz, and AdWeek are a great place for in-industry insights, updates, and info sharing.
Keeping your team up to date on the ins and outs of marketing as an industry (alongside the industry specifics of your organization) is a great way to make sure they stay aware and find inspiration.
Networking and mentoring experiences
Expert advice comes in many forms, but supporting our marketers should include connecting them with mentoring and networking experiences that expand their professional circle and provide them with access to leaders who can help.
Both in-person and virtual events can help our teams create communities that help them learn and grow.
In-house learning and development
Round out your marketers’ experience with insight into how other teams and departments within your organization work.
Connect with leaders in sales, data analytics, PR, customer service, product development, and other related teams to arrange shadowing opportunities or lunch-and-learn events to help the teams identify collaboration opportunities.
Don’t forget yourself!
When all is said and done, we can’t round out the skills and experiences of our marketers if we aren’t also making time to keep learning and growing. While our teams should come first, even the most experienced marketers still have something to learn and it’s important to lead by example.
Don’t miss the opportunity to seek out your own sources for learning, networking, and finding your own mentor.
Well-rounded marketers are a strategic investment
Spending the time, effort, and budget on developing your marketers funnels all of the skill and passion of your people back into the team. Making skill-building a priority means creating a high-performing, well-informed team of marketers who can’t help but produce engaging marketing content that fuels the bottom line.
By equipping your junior marketers with the tools to thrive across marketing channels and domains, you’ll pave the way for everyone’s growth and success.