Top 5 Essential Skills for Marketers

Top 5 Essential Skills for Marketers




The top priority skills that every person in marketing should be working on and improving to make themselves more valuable.

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison,” – Victor Hugo

From my experience there are five essential skills in the industry that can have the greatest impact on your overall value. I built this list from first-hand experience and from the opinions of recruiters. If you have an industry; find that industry version of the following skills.

step back into the classroom

Not in any specific order:

  1. Continuing Education
    • Dive into blogs, advanced education, marketing courses, conferences, and high quality books.
  2. Building Your Own Brand
    • Give back, share what you know, do the part of the job you love and find sell your services, and also try new things.
  3. Email Standards
    • Email deliverability is an overlooked asset – you need to be optimizing your emails with every send and deep dive into the smallest metrics, because they matter!
  4. Code Writing
    • Prioritized languages from recruiters and my own experience are as follows: JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and SQL. I would also consider looking into API based languages such as Ruby or PHP to get further niche.
  5. Customer Research
    • Humble yourself and realize that you may have a very clear idea of your target customer but there will always be more you can learn. Continually refine your customer and adapt your marketing to fit.
Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

These skills should help any marketer advance themselves – but it’s important to understand these are not a place anyone should start to learn marketing. Consider these advanced tips to keep marketers on the right path.

Careers in Marketing

Careers in Marketing




A look marketing careers in the industry and what kind of work is involved as a marketer.

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

Marketing careers can be broken down into the categories similar to the way I’ve organized my blog: acquisition, content, and monetization. As much one may want to lump sales into marketing I will not be including sales. What I will be including are modern careers from a snapshot of the jobs market that currently exists.

Plenty of business and news articles will tell you that marketing is a great career based on the earning potential, that it lends itself to entrepreneurship, and that anyone can do it. I want to stress a fact right here and now that although there is truth in those statements it is competitive, often upside down, and to succeed you need to know an important secret.

three categories of marketing
Acquisition Marketing Careers:
  • Paid Per Click/Search Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Digital/Local Marketing
  • Online/Web Marketing
  • Analysis/Research Marketing
Content Marketing Careers:
  • Search Engine Optimization Marketing
  • Email/Editor/Writer/Blog/Videographer/Photography/Graphic Arts Marketing
  • Event Marketing
  • Brand Marketing
  • Public Relations Marketing
Monetization Marketing Careers:
  • eCommerce Marketing
  • Product/Service Marketing
  • Customer Service Marketing
  • CRM Marketing
  • Business Intelligence Marketing

These careers each have their own individual career paths – some start as coordinators, some as associates, and others as titles unrelated to marketing. In the end most careers plateau at the manager stage and then you are required to move upward to director; overseeing multiple or various channels of marketing. Specialization is a route that many take to further dive into one of the categories.

If you are thinking about a career in marketing I would point out that you must be ready to tackle the competitiveness and skill floor required. Do it all! I would explore all the areas and see what suits you best. After you have a good idea of what you will like – specialize, take courses, get certified, educate, and learn everything you can to strengthen your resume.

Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

Finally the secret I mentioned at the beginning is this: Finding a career in marketing is similar to finding a career in entertainment. “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” if you’ve ever heard that adage it 100% applies to marketing.

If you know someone who can get you an interview with a marketing position you are way ahead of the pack. My first job took over 1000 resumes, over 300 phone interviews, 30 in person interviews, 6 second or third in-person level interviews, and multiple refusals from companies that turned out to be ‘sales’ pretending to be marketing.

With any job, be careful, be professional, take your time, and do your homework to prepare as best you can.

Marketing 101 – Create A Marketing Plan

Marketing 101 – Create A Marketing Plan



Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a detailed guide comprising the marketing activities for a company during a period of time in order to achieve specific goals.

Working together, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney.

The only pre-step in approaching the creation of your own marketing plan is to clearly define specific goals that your company wants to achieve by a specific time. I’ve said it many times here and I will keep saying it – you need to be specific. The marketing plan isn’t just for the marketing team, it’s for everyone within the company to consider and to identify their role in achieving the goals. One other final consideration before I outline the marketing plan is that every goal must be measurable.

The Outline

Step 1 – Goals and KPI’s

Write this down, swipe this template, and then start building your marketing plan:

before and after marketing goals

As depicted in the image above you will create a before state of your company, with specific metrics. What you do not want to be writing in the ‘Before’ state is metrics that are too broad for the final draft. The tendency is to write, “Increase Sales” but that doesn’t tell us enough and in most cases is not specific enough for the ‘After’ state especially for teams that are not in the sales/marketing teams. Instead of looking at profit as a metric it’s important to break down how sales and profits are created – then identify based on your company and industry what metrics highly correlate to sales/profits.

For example I worked with a client who makes 99% of their sales from emails – therefore breaking down the email metrics like opens/clicks/ctr’s/etc would be valuable goals to shoot for. If you aren’t sure how high your goals should be, consider the history of those metrics… in my example look at the past 6 months and see if your goals seem reasonable. Also sharing these goals with your teams should help clear up realistic and un-realistic expectations.

Step 2 – The Fine Details

Download the template for a basic marketing plan using the link provided (not my template):

Credit to BDC

There are elements to a marketing plan like the mission, vision, team lists, organization, structure, and other details that I consider fine details. I am not going to spend any time on these at this point because my focus for this article is on the marketing specifics. At some point I will likely cover these elements.

Step 3 – Ideal Customer

As equally important as goals if not more important is to have some understanding of the ideal customer. Who is your ideal customer? Likely someone who purchases every service or buys a large value worth of products, does not return them, and may even refer or offer repeat business. You do not have a magic ball so you cannot assume to know the ideal customer precisely. What you can do is use what you know, research the market, ask customers, and even look at your competitors to have some idea. I am being vague here on purpose – one company’s worst customer may be another’s ideal customer. The best strategy I know to better understand your ideal customer is to create an avatar – basically a dossier of the information as you understand who the ideal customer is over time. Be as specific as possible; simple demographic information is never enough. You want to tap into the niche market and therefore the niche target audience. You need to go as deep and specific as you can then ask what kind of person is this. How do we market to this person? Etc.

Digital Marketer has a great avatar worksheet that can help you identify the right avatar:

Credit to Digital Marketer

Step 4 – Threats

Before you outline your strategy in the final step you need to understand the resistances you will face in creating your strategy. Everyone wants to achieve their goals as quickly as possible but there are natural forces, and competitive forces that oppose you. Ask your teams what some of the problems they could be facing as you implement and evaluate the performance of your goals.

My favorite tool and a popular threat analysis tool is to create a detailed SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis stands for (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and apply to the company and industry both macro and micro. When compiling details for the analysis be totally honest as the difference between an accurate and inaccurate SWOT analysis is enormous. This tool is only for you anyway… and you are filling this out because you want to enhance the positive elements and diminish the negative elements if you can. Professional consultants will use tools such as these to diagnose you and your company like a sick patient.

Consider the following grid and create it in Excel:

SWOT Analysis Template
Step 5 – Finalize the Strategy

Finally you are ready. Take all the notes, details, elements, and goals with you into this stage. You will bullet a list with each actionable goal you defined in the ‘After’ state and then create a linear path to achieving it. For example if the ‘After’ goal is to increase the unique web visitors then you need to drive more traffic… that part is simple, but you need to describe how you will do this as specific as possible. Possible solutions include:

  • Increase Web Traffic Weekly to 600
    • Content Team: Create an additional content blog post by next month
      • Content Team: Wednesday, 3pm PST, releases
    • Content Team: Tailor blog posts to new (more relevant) categories asap
      • Content Team: New Categories Approved
    • Acquisition Team: Share blog posts to new private group in Facebook asap
      • John will setup, invite to our exist members via email (3x over 3 weeks), ad spot on website to promote
    • Director: Weekly reporting meeting to evaluate
    • Monetization/Content Teams: Purchase one affiliate space for advertising our website each week
      • Monetization Team: Relevant partner offers space in 5k emails for $1400, trackable clicks – PPC.
      • Director: Review of material

As you can see the general ideas are followed by more specific ones. The point of these is to show the linear path that will happen, who will help, when it occurs by, and what it will take or cost. I wrote these as a general overview but feel free to be more specific and to drill down many more layers down to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing. The strategy should be actionable by everyone or most everyone. What is expected should be clearly laid out and if training or meetings are required they should be listed.

Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

Completing this stage should feel pretty good. With the outline done you are ready to clean up all the information and present it in a professional format.

Marketing plans are very useful – if your company does not already have one consider creating one to give yourself a better understanding of what you can do to help your company succeed. Information is power. Feel free to leave comments.