The only constant about marketing is that it’s always changing. B2C marketing strategies and tactics change at break-neck speed, whereas B2B marketing changes at a more manageable pace. What works in B2C marketing, doesn’t always translate well for B2B marketing – regardless of what generations the target market includes.
While we can’t always predict what is right around the corner for B2B marketing, we can take an educated guess at what critical skills marketing professionals need to have to continue to be successful. Here, we take a look at 5 critical skills B2B marketing professionals need to master for the future.
Data Analysis & Interpretation
It’s only going to become more and more crucial for marketers to not only collect data from campaign and channel performance, but to also be able to analyze the data and properly interpret the data. For example, if your marketing team manages your firm’s website and other digital assets, you need to have a solid understanding of website metrics, whether it’s from Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Optimizely, or another web analytics tool. You do not need to understand every single thing in the data reports, but you need to master the data that is critical to tracking the performance of your marketing strategy.
Ever get stuck next to a person at a party who insists on telling you a long, boring story about something that you don’t care about? While you may have been bored, that person probably thought they were telling you a gripping story full of twists and turns.
Storytelling is a natural ability for very few people, but it’s also a skill that can be learned. Learning how to tell a compelling story is an essential skill for B2B marketers as we move towards a world with more and more “noise” and more and more competition everywhere. What makes a brand or marketing strategy successful is an engaging story or storyline.
As mentioned before, we are moving into a more cluttered and noisy world where competition is only getting more dense. Surprisingly, many professionals suffer or fail as we are tasked with more and more responsibilities and tools. While staffing resources may be an issue, for the majority of people, poor time management is also a major problem. We all get the same hours in the day, it’s what you do with them.
Automation is a great tool to improve time management as it takes time away from tedious tasks and enables you to spend it on tasks that have a better return. There are a million time management tools out there, so if you struggle with time management, you can either use a tool to help you or you can learn techniques for better allocating your time.
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As a B2B marketing professional, you likely value content marketing but may or may not have a solid grip on what it actually entails. As our target markets continually lean on self-education and online research before making contact with a company or a brand, it’s important to really understand content marketing. You don’t need to carry out the execution of a content strategy, but you need to know it and be able to educate your colleagues about it.
A lot of people tend to get into marketing because they are creative or strong writers or like design. While these are all great reasons to get into marketing, they won’t necessarily make you successful. A key skill for successful marketers, now and in the future, is the ability to build rapport. This includes building rapport with departments within your company, other marketing professionals, other industry professionals, and most importantly, your prospects and clients.
Even if closing sales is not part of your job description, you need to be able to connect with others and build rapport. It may seem like we are moving to a world with less and less inter-personal communication, but the truth is that while it might not be face to face communication, we are becoming hyper-connected.