Graduation Season – Marketing Skills for New Hires
Skills Required for New Marketers
Graduation season is upon us. It’s a time to celebrate great accomplishments. Whether your graduate is the valedictorian or salutatorian, or a member of any graduating class from kindergarten to MBA, commencement day reminds us that these students learned plenty and are ready to unleash their knowledge on the world.
The question is, are you ready to accept that gift?
The education industry has been undergoing tremendous change over the past several years as teachers, administrators, parents and politicians weigh in on the best ways to convey skills and knowledge that will help graduates fulfill their promise. Likewise, the marketing profession continues to change rapidly, and many of the skills required today — made up of part art and part science — could vary dramatically among graduates of the same class.
Previously we’ve talked about going beyond the traditional 4 P’s of marketing and about soft skills required in the workplace. If you are hiring a marketing person this year, here are some skills to look for in new hires.
Everybody in marketing today must recognize the important role educational content plays in today’s environment. It doesn’t matter to whom you sell — businesses, consumers or non-profit organizations — in the age of information overload, onlyeducational content stands out.
As Sy Syms said in 1974, “An educated consumer is our best customer.”
Why is educational content important?
Educational content positions you as a knowledgeable source in your industry and it differentiates you from your competitors. Educational content shows your audience you understand their issues. Providers of educational content build trust quickly. Educational content that your prospects relate to is more likely to be shared by your audience and their community. Finally, educational content helps prospects self-select or qualify as sales-ready leads.
The ability to generate educational content in any format is a skill that will be sought after for years to come. The best marketers know how to tell a story. It might be through writing, or pictures, or Infographics, but storytelling remains a powerful method of conveying meaningful information. In an age when we are overloaded with information, those who can communicate in a way that engages will always be in high demand.
Attract and Convert a Community
The concept, skills and tools associated with building an audience are the essence of marketing. Care must be taken to identify your ideal customer. New hires along with everybody else in your company (and outside of it, too) should have a thorough understanding of the type of customer you serve. It is the job of marketing to take that message and put it in front of those most likely to buy from you.
A deep understanding of your target audience helps you focus your messaging and puts you in a position to best determine which format will connect with your audience and where they are most likely to find and engage with it.
Once you identify where to connect with your audience, ensure you are communicating to them in a format that they are most comfortable with. Demographics can often help reveal which formats work best for your audience: white papers, articles, blogs, video, newsletters, email, snail mail, print, e-books, etc.
Businesses are too busy to constantly stay on the cutting edge of marketing technology. Finding a new hire with social media experience may be easy. Finding one with the desire to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape and how that affects your ability to connect with your audience is a key consideration when looking for a new marketer.
In addition to identifying prospects that will buy from you, one of your marketing goals is to identify and locate influencers of your target audience. By doing this you’ll find websites to link to, potential sites for advertising, blogs to comment on, and possible partners to collaborate and share guest posts with (all can boost search results). Don’t forget trade associations and their publications and trade shows. Being in the right place offline and online raises your profile with groups your prospects already respect and trust.
Another skill to look for when discussing audience building with potential marketers is their ability to identify keywords that your audience uses to conduct searches. If they can optimize your online efforts for humans, not search engines, you’re more likely to get the desired results.
Creating content and distributing it to the right audience can be time consuming and if you’re not careful, costly (even more costly than not doing it). However, all this tedious work isn’t worth much unless you can get your community to engage with you and your content.
Converting viewers to followers, followers to prospects, and prospects to customers is the ultimate goal of your efforts. Make sure your new marketing hire has the skills to conduct a campaign that converts. Are they familiar with Calls-to-Action and landing pages? Do they follow a checklist to ensure they have covered all the basics of running a campaign?
Measurement has always been important part of marketing. Today’s graduates are tech-savvy. However, not all have the ability to analyze and make decisions based on data. With the massive amount of marketing data that is collected, the skills associated with sorting and analyzing to identify trends is in high demand and a valuable commodity in today’s market.
You will have some homework, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing jobs (and their starting salaries) are expected to grow consistently over the next six years. And even though they graduated, the learning never ends. Demonstrating mastery in the above skills may or may not be requirement for you, but communicating your overall marketing strategy and the goals of your organization are. Have you communicated your goals clearly?
Commencement Marks a Beginning
In addition to all the things that can be learned while sitting in front of a computer screen, knowing how to communicate, listen, show empathy, and solve problems are key skills for any position. The challenge for all businesses is staying up-to-date with the rapid changes in marketing tools and technology. Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to find employees who want to learn and continue to improve.
And if you are lucky enough to be invited to a commencement sometime in the next couple of weeks, enjoy it. The speeches will be long and likely filled with platitudes. Traffic will be miserable. The restaurant will be crowded. But you will be happy, and you will remember the day forever, because you witnessed the very moment when your graduate was set free to create the future.
Will you be hiring a marketer in 2016? What skills do you require? Let us know in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
Want help with your marketing hires? Contact Crest for a free 30-minute, no obligation, risk-free, consultation today.
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At Crest, we help companies:
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists