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9 min read

What is a t-shaped marketer?

Revenue marketing

As consumer behaviors and digital trends continue to evolve, you need to be adaptable and possess a diverse skill set if you’re to sustainably thrive as a modern marketer. 

Enter the concept of T-shaped marketing: A holistic approach that combines specialized expertise with a broad understanding of various marketing disciplines. 

By embracing this mindset, you can unlock new levels of creativity, collaboration, and strategic thinking, positioning yourself as an invaluable asset in today's competitive business landscape.

In this article, we’ll answer the questions:

What is T-shaped marketing?

T-shaped marketing refers to a holistic approach where professionals have a broad knowledge of various marketing disciplines (represented by the horizontal bar of the "T") coupled with deep expertise in one or two specific areas (represented by the vertical bar). 

Here’s an example:

The T-shaped marketer diagram example

In essence, it's about being a generalist with a particular chosen specialization.

Imagine a marketing team where each member has a strong foundation in areas like social media, content creation, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and paid advertising

While they understand the principles and best practices of each of these disciplines, some members are true experts in SEO, others in content marketing, and so on. 

This diversity of skills allows the team to craft cohesive, multi-channel strategies that leverage each member's unique strengths. 

What is a T-shaped marketer?

A T-shaped marketer is an individual who embodies the T-shaped marketing philosophy. They possess a broad understanding of various marketing tactics and channels but have cultivated deep expertise in a particular area or two. 

For instance, a T-shaped marketer might be a social media wizard with a strong grasp of content marketing, UX (user experience), and email marketing principles.

These versatile professionals can seamlessly collaborate with other specialists, understanding their language and perspectives while offering their own unique insights.

They act as connective tissue, ensuring that all elements of a marketing strategy work together toward common goals.

What does the “T” in “T-shaped marketing” stand for?

The horizontal bar of the "T" represents the breadth of knowledge a T-shaped marketer possesses across various marketing disciplines. This could include areas like:

Social media marketing

This T-shaped marketer has a deep understanding of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

They know how to craft compelling content, build engaged communities, understand social media analytics, and leverage paid social advertising to reach their target audiences effectively.

Content marketing

This T-shaped marketer can produce high-quality, valuable content in various formats such as articles, videos, podcasts, long-form guides, reports, and so on. They understand the importance of content in driving awareness, engagement, and lead generation.

Email marketing

This T-shaped marketer has expertise in crafting effective email campaigns, from lead nurturing sequences to promotional blasts. They know how to segment audiences, optimize subject lines and copy, and analyze email performance metrics.


This T-shaped marketer has expert knowledge of on-page and off-page SEO techniques to improve website visibility and organic search rankings. They stay up-to-date with search engine algorithm changes and best practices.

This T-shaped marketer can masterfully plan, execute, and optimize paid advertising campaigns across various channels such as search engines (e.g., Google Ads), social media platforms, and display networks.

They understand audience targeting, ad creative, and campaign measurement.

Video Marketing

This T-shaped marketer offers proficiency in creating compelling video content for platforms like YouTube, social media, and websites. They understand video production, storytelling, and optimizing videos for engagement and conversions.

User experience (UX) 

This T-shaped marketer has a deep understanding of how users interact with digital products, websites, and applications. They know how to design intuitive and enjoyable experiences that meet user needs, foster engagement, and drive conversions.

The vertical bar, as shown in the graphic above, signifies the depth of expertise in one or two specific areas. For example, a T-shaped marketer might be an SEO guru with a deep understanding of keyword research, on-page optimization, and link-building strategies. Or they could be a master of social media marketing, excelling in areas like community building, influencer marketing, and paid social advertising.

This specialization allows T-shaped marketers to contribute advanced skills and knowledge to their teams.

Download your free playbook to dive further into each of the key skills we’ve just touched on: 👇

How to become a T-shaped marketer

The journey toward becoming a T-shaped marketer requires dedication, curiosity, and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. Embracing this mindset can unlock a world of opportunities and position you as a valuable asset.

Building your specialism

Even though most marketers tend to be all-rounders, almost all of them have a specialty.

To get started on your journey to becoming a T-shaped marketer, you need to beef up your specialized knowledge and develop a profound understanding of your chosen craft. By staying on top of all the latest trends in your specialty, you not only help develop your skills but also begin to establish yourself as an authority figure and thought leader in that area.

But don’t worry if you don’t know what your specialty is just yet. Part of being a T-shaped marketer means being well-rounded in many disciplines, so while you’re finding opportunities to work with pay-per-click (PPC), SEO, content, web development, and so on, you’ll hopefully discover that one avenue that really speaks to you and that you’re passionate about.

That doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in your field and lead the way in the industry overnight. You just need to build your working knowledge in a way that can be used to solve problems and help your team succeed with their goals.

Learn from already established experts in your field and find out everything you can about the topic. This process will likely take some time, but the more you learn, the more valuable you’ll become – while also building your authority at the same time.

Developing cross-disciplinary knowledge

Once you’ve got your specialty sorted out, it’s time to heighten your knowledge in a broad range of marketing fields.

You need to be confident in areas that aren’t your specialty, as T-shaped marketers need to understand multiple disciplines to better collaborate and work in teams. Start with some extensive research, reading up as much as you can on the various topics.

Attend workshops, read industry publications, explore different courses, and engage with professionals from different marketing backgrounds. This cross-functional exposure will broaden your perspective and enable you to grasp the interconnectedness of various marketing tactics.

Marketing is a dynamic industry, things are constantly changing and updating. So you can’t just research social media trends and expect those to still hold true in a few months. You need to keep up to date with your broad marketing knowledge.

Sign up for online courses or subscribe to emails from marketing thought leaders so you can keep your marketing knowledge fresh and on-trend. Remember, what’s happening right now in the world of marketing won’t be the case by next year, so utilize all the tools at your disposal to constantly upskill in the different areas of marketing. 

And remember to keep reading the B2B Marketing Alliance for new insights on different types of B2B marketing!

How to boost your customer retention with social media
Using social media to connect with your current customers is an effective way to show your value and build trustworthy relationships. This will increase the likelihood of them becoming repeat buyers and advocates for your brand.

Strengthen your weak spots

Even the most proficient marketers will have their Achilles’ heel. Maybe you struggle with the analytical side of SEO or just don’t seem to get much response on your social media posts. 

Whatever your weak point, don’t fall into the trap of neglecting that facet of marketing just because you’re not a fan of it. A true T-shaped marketer has a consistent skill set across all disciplines, not just the ones that come naturally to them.

Work alongside your team and ask for help and guidance from those with more knowledge in your weaker fields. Exchange your knowledge. If you’re a social media whiz, you can help your colleagues out by sharing their content in a way that gets more click-throughs and higher engagement. 

Being a T-shaped marketer is all about sharing a wealth of knowledge so that the results are greater than the sum of their parts.

Cultivating a collaborative working environment is the perfect way to combat any areas where you have a lack of knowledge. If you can create a team of T-shaped marketers where each individual has a different specialty, there will be no limits to what your team can accomplish together.

What skills does a T-shaped marketer need?

Successful T-shaped marketers possess a unique blend of "hard and soft skills" that enable them to thrive in dynamic marketing environments. 

Some key skills include:

Analytical and data-driven mindset

The ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data is crucial for making informed decisions, optimizing campaigns, and demonstrating the impact of marketing efforts.

Creative and storytelling abilities

Marketing is as much an art as it is a science. T-shaped marketers must be able to craft compelling narratives, produce visually appealing content, and execute creative campaigns that resonate with target audiences.

Adaptability and continuous learning

The marketing landscape is constantly shifting, and T-shaped marketers must be agile learners, willing to adapt their strategies and acquire new skills as needed to stay relevant and effective.

Collaboration and communication

Strong interpersonal and communication skills go a long way in facilitating effective collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and cross-functional alignment.

Strategic thinking

Beyond tactical execution, T-shaped marketers should be able to think strategically, aligning marketing efforts with overarching business objectives, customer needs, and long-term goals.

Project management and organization

With their diverse responsibilities, T-shaped marketers must be able to effectively manage multiple projects, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines while maintaining a high level of organization and attention to detail.

Technology and digital knowledge

As marketing becomes increasingly digital and data-driven, proficiency in using various marketing technologies, tools, and platforms is desirable if you’re to effectively execute campaigns and analyze performance.

The benefits of T-shaped marketing

T-shaped marketers are great at creating cohesive strategies. Coming up with a stellar SEO plan or social media schedule is great, but interlinking these strategies at the very start of the customer journey will yield more successful results.

Marketers with specialties bring a lot of value and knowledge to their niche, but if you operate in a silo, you won’t be able to bring the best experience to potential customers. 

T-shaped marketers also have the expertise to work closely with other teams outside of marketing, which can further help inform their objectives and strategies.

You’ll be able to work alongside the likes of the sales team to offer valuable insight from the marketing perspective and learn new insights that you can continue to add to your bank of broad marketing knowledge.

Becoming a T-shaped marketer is great for your career advancement as you can work in a multitude of different disciplines and climb the marketing career ladder.

Final thoughts on T-shaped marketing

When you enter the marketing industry, there are so many disciplines to choose from. But why limit yourself? 

By becoming a T-shaped marketer you can not only develop a wide range of skills, but by embracing the T-shaped marketing approach, you can position yourself as a valuable asset. 

With a combination of specialized expertise and a broad understanding of various disciplines, you'll be equipped to create cohesive, integrated campaigns that resonate with your target audience. 

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This post was a collaboration between

Hannah Wesson, Stevie Langford

  • Hannah Wesson

    Hannah Wesson

    Hannah has worked in content marketing since graduating and has a wealth of experience writing for a wide range of B2B and B2C companies.

    More posts by Hannah Wesson.

    Hannah Wesson
  • Stevie Langford

    Stevie Langford

    As a Senior Copywriter here at Revenue Marketing Alliance, Stevie loves to create content that's captivating, compelling, and informative. She's always open to new ideas, so feel free to get in touch!

    More posts by Stevie Langford.

    Stevie Langford
What is a t-shaped marketer?