In any profession, there are countless opportunities for continuing education. And rightfully so — every industry is constantly evolving and requires new things from those that work in them. For this reason, it’s important to stay on top of new developments in your industry as well as seek new ways to improve your existing workflow and processes. After all, there is almost always someone aiming higher, to do better, so it’s up to us to stay ahead of the competition.
As professionals, developing our skills never stops. There will always be someone better at our jobs than us, always more to learn, always something to improve. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong and needs an ego check.
What skills should marketers focus on continuing to develop? Let’s take a look:
Knowing how to interpret data
Interpreting data is a skill that every marketer should hone in on. It’s no longer sufficient to operate purely off of instinct — though that is a useful skill, too. With the availability of so many tools that make data accessible it’s easier than ever to improve. Make it a point to learn how to properly use analytics to determine trends and patterns in consumer behavior. The artificial intelligence that has come to rule industries such as marketing won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s important to keep up with this side of the industry.
Knowing how to think like a consumer
On the flip side, data only tells a portion (albeit, a large portion) of the story. Knowing how to also think like a consumer to find new opportunities to reach users is also a key skill to cultivate. Get more comfortable observing consumer behaviors while out and about at the store or running errands. Look at other advertising efforts or marketing campaigns as a consumer, finding the elements you like and don’t like about each one. Having the ability to think like a consumer will provide more insight into future marketing endeavors, making those interactions more engaging.
Knowing how to collaborate
Now, more than ever, marketing is becoming a collaborative environment. Why so? Because consumers are becoming warier and mistrusting, craving authentic interactions with brands, collaborations can help position a product or service’s value.
Consider this: a retail brand that sells environmentally-conscious footwear partners with a recycling company to bring more awareness to consumers and reducing our environmental footprint. This collaboration can be more effective and accomplishes multiple goals. It brings awareness to a social issue that impacts everyone, it encourages consumers to align with an environmentally-conscious brand, and it puts recycling more into the forefront of consumers’ minds. All of these can generate more revenue for the brand, but this is done in a more genuine way that is more than just an exchange of money for goods.
Continuing to cultivate our skills as marketing professionals helps us stay informed and ahead of the curve in a competitive industry. It may be easy to be lured into complacency once you’ve climbed the corporate marketing ladder, but be aware that there is never a lack of information to learn and absorb. Spend time reading, studying, and observing and it will be easy to find ways to continue your own marketing education.