Important Marketing Skills That Employers Value

Marketing team working on a project
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No product, service, project, proposal, candidate or other initiative can be viable unless it is bought, endorsed or supported by its target constituents or customers. Of course, marketing skills are applied to traditional marketing functions like advertising, sales, promotion, public relations, marketing research and brand management. However, marketing skills are also highly valued by employers in almost all sectors of the economy and job market.

What good is a teacher who can’t convince his/her pupils about the joy of learning or the value of hard work, reading skills or mathematical ability? How can a project manager execute a group initiative without team members buying into their role? How can a fundraiser reach his/her goals without convincing donors about the value of the organization’s services? How can a cyber-security professional safeguard his/her organization without convincing staff to abide by security protocols?

In all cases, employees need to assess and understand the needs and preferences of stakeholders and persuade others to take appropriate action.

Marketing skills can help you be more effective in almost any job.

As a bonus if you are looking for a job, these skills will help you to promote yourself effectively to prospective employers and conduct a winning job search campaign.

What are Marketing Skills?

Promoting any product, service, or idea encompasses many different marketing skills and personal qualities. The process begins with analyzing your audience and defining their perceptions of your product, service or idea. Identifying those features or aspects of what you are marketing that will be most appealing to your audience is essential. Verbal, writing and public speaking skills, when refined, will help you to convey your pitch clearly, and creativity will help you to capture the attention of your audience.

Types of Marketing Skills

Here are some of the most important marketing-skills clusters. Consider how you can incorporate more of these skills into your marketing efforts in order to enhance your value to your employer.

 © The Balance, 2018

Communication

Marketing is a form of professional communication since it consists of communicating to key consumers why they should buy, or otherwise engage with, whatever is being promoted. Often, this will take the form of writing, from crafting ad copy, to creating scripts for TV spots or composing a compelling budget proposal to add resources to your department. It might involve creating multimedia campaigns, understanding design, and having a general sense of who the end user is and what they want. 

Verbal communication is important as well, both for positions that involve speaking directly with potential buyers and those that do not. Since marketing is often a team effort, marketers must be able to communicate effectively within their own team and within their company.

  • Collaborating with designers to create logos
  • Composing concise promotional copy
  • Composing marketing emails
  • Composing direct marketing communications
  • Constructing consumer surveys
  • Developing rapport with clients
  • Interviewing sales staff to gauge customer responses to brands
  • Listening
  • Proposing new products and services
  • Generating sales
  • Selecting and training brand ambassadors
  • Soliciting feedback from customers
  • Storytelling
  • Writing reports
  • Writing executive summaries
  • Writing press releases

Public Speaking

When coming up with a new campaign or marketing initiative, you likely will need to pitch your ideas to your clients or colleagues by making a presentation at a meeting. Some forms of marketing also involve making presentations to large groups of potential buyers or decision makers. You must be comfortable speaking in front of groups, and you should be able to both handle on-the-spot questioning and manage presentation software such as PowerPoint or Prezi.

Look for opportunities to hone your public speaking skills by volunteering to take the lead on pitches. Take classes or workshops, or join public speaking groups if you are in need of a major upgrade. College students should take on campus leadership roles and select classes with group projects in order to enhance their skills.

  • Attention to detail
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Demonstrating products
  • Educating sales staff regarding brand viability
  • Facilitating focus groups
  • Facilitating meetings and discussions
  • Leadership
  • Pitching marketing plans to groups
  • Presenting to groups

Analytical Thinking

Marketing requires a great deal of research-based analysis to determine what the audience wants and needs, and a lot of careful strategy crafted around that analysis. You must be able to anticipate the potential impact of several alternative strategies or approaches, using your own judgment.

Marketers often have to change course to accommodate new information, and should be able to draw logical conclusions based on data and other information received. Problem-solving skills are essential in order to dissect underperforming campaigns and propose enhancements, to generate better results.

  • Analyzing consumer survey data
  • Analyzing consumer demographics and preference
  • Applying principles of differentiation to marketing plans
  • Applying the principle of segmentation to marketing cases
  • Applying strategies for targeting to marketing projects 
  • Calculating appropriate retail pricing for products
  • Completing analyses of competitors / competitive analysis
  • Conducting market research
  • Conducting media research
  • Conducting SWOT analyses
  • Critical thinking
  • Defining target audiences
  • Devising marketing plans
  • Evaluating the validity of research
  • Financial analysis
  • Monitoring industry trends
  • Planning promotional events
  • Planning the distribution of products
  • Problem solving
  • Quantitative skills
  • Researching and selecting media outlets for advertising / promotion
  • Selecting retail sites
  • Solving marketing problems using qualitative analysis
  • Statistical skills

Creativity

To avoid becoming stale, marketers need to be able to think of new and exciting ideas to appeal to their clients or to the target demographic. From having an eye for design, to coming up with amusing concepts, the ability to think outside the box is crucial.

Grabbing the attention of an audience is critical for success with any communication. Telling a compelling story is often the best way to engage an audience and draw them into your message.

  • Aesthetic sensibility
  • Brainstorming themes for advertisements
  • Developing concepts for new products
  • Devising press releases
  • Devising rewards and loyalty programs
  • Evaluating product packaging options
  • Event planning
  • Storytelling
  • Writing advertising copy

Negotiation

Negotiation is an undervalued skill in marketing. From negotiating with clients on budgets, timelines, and expectations, to working with designers and vendors, the ability to drive a hard bargain is a big part of success as a professional marketer.

Success with negotiation requires you to take on the mindset of your counterpart and to consider how you can present a win-win proposal that achieves your goals but also meets the needs of the other party.

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Persuasion
  • Influencing others
  • Knowing your competition
  • Negotiating rates and terms
  • Identifying compelling product features
  • Setting realistic prices
  • Remaining calm

Stress Management

Marketing initiatives can be very stressful, deadlines are demanding, and many things can go wrong at the last minute. To be a good marketer, you need to be able to handle stress without panicking.

Learn techniques for stress reduction such as meditation, calming self talk, physical exercise, and breathing techniques to help manage stress. Seek counseling or take stress management workshops if stress related behaviors are interfering with your success.

  • Conforming to deadlines
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem solving
  • Processing criticism about campaigns
  • Resiliency
  • Responding to threats to brands
  • Time management
  • Avoiding procrastination

Technology

Finally, technology skills are essential for your success. From using project management software to track the progress of a key campaign, to using analytic programs to measure the success of social media campaigns, it's important that you can work with complicated suites of varying programs. You'll also likely be required to use certain systems to create marketing campaigns, depending on how digital and/or mobile your marketing will be.

Learn which technology tools are being used by highly effective professionals in your field. Take workshops or complete online tutorials to develop your skills. Comfort with technology requires continued learning to keep up to date with any new developments.

  • Determining keywords for search engine optimization strategies
  • Developing social media strategies
  • Generating marketing emails
  • Ability to handle customer relations management software
  • Manipulating statistical packages
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel
  • Reviewing websites for examples of products / services being promoted
  • Utilizing presentation software

More Marketing Skills

Here are more marketing skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and job interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.

  • Aesthetic sensibility
  • Analyzing consumer survey data
  • Collaborating with designers to create logos
  • Completing analyses of competitors
  • Composing concise promotional copy for Twitter
  • Composing marketing emails
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Conforming to deadlines
  • Constructing consumer surveys
  • Creative
  • Critical thinking
  • Cutting costs
  • Defining target audiences
  • Demonstrating products
  • Detail oriented
  • Determining keywords for search engine optimization strategies
  • Developing social media strategy
  • Developing concepts for new products
  • Devising press releases
  • Devising rewards and loyalty programs
  • Educating sales staff regarding brand viability
  • Evaluating advertising proposals
  • Evaluating the performance of agencies and contractors
  • Evaluating product packaging options
  • Facilitating meetings and discussions
  • Facility with customer relations management software
  • Financial analysis
  • Influencing others
  • Interviewing sales staff to gauge customer responses to brands
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Managing budgets
  • Manipulating statistical packages
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Monitoring industry trends
  • Negotiating rates and terms
  • Organizational
  • Planning promotional events
  • Planning distribution of products
  • Problem Solving
  • Processing criticism about campaigns
  • Presenting to groups
  • Quantitative
  • Researching and Selecting media outlets for advertising/promotion
  • Resiliency
  • Responding to threats to brands
  • Results oriented
  • Retail site selection
  • Reviewing website models for promoting products/services
  • Sales
  • Selecting and training brand ambassadors
  • Setting prices to maximize profit and sales volume
  • Soliciting feedback from customers
  • Statistical
  • Stress management
  • SWOT analysis
  • Storytelling
  • Time management
  • Utilizing presentation software
  • Writing reports
  • Writing advertising copy

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: Whenever possible, emphasize results that you helped achieve in order to prove your ability to execute a promotional idea or marketing campaign. Quantify results whenever you can to show increases in sales volume, donations, compliance with proposals, and other bottom-line measures of success.

HIGHLIGHT SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Emphasize how you used marketing skills to create value in various roles. Incorporate short statements pointing to key marketing skills and the results produced.

USE SKILL WORDS DURING YOUR JOB INTERVIEWS: Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer. Prepare stories and anecdotes that demonstrate how you have applied marketing skills to benefit affiliated organizations.