It’s already the second month of the new year, how have your resolutions been?
But seriously, let’s talk about what our resolutions should be, as someone in the marketing business, or soon to be.
Every single year we tell ourselves that we’ll get healthier, leaner, work hard, and etc. What about improving ourselves for work? What and how should we be improving anyway? In the marketing business, we know that everything can change in a week.
Social platforms update, programs and websites change, new algorithms introduced. All these things can subtly and drastically change how we do our work, but there are certain skills that we can build upon to help us through the tough times.
So, these are 8 skills you should improve or master in 2018
1- Talent Management
For those in HR, this may be a familiar term, but we want to take a deeper look at the most important part of its job.
Talent Management is the ongoing process of developing and retaining employees throughout a company. It is also coined as an organization’s commitment to recruit, hire, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market, and so much more.
Mainly, it is all about ensuring your company has enough of the right employees to keep your company functioning correctly, and developing them.
For entrepreneurs and marketers, Talent Management means an important skill, in which they must be able to understand the skills and talent of their team members to assign the right tasks for the best efficiency.
Knowing exactly what your team members can and cannot do, as well as their potential, is a crucial skill that we continue to see rise in importance throughout the year.
2- Design Thinking
Design Thinking may not be a new concept for some, but for many it still is an important yet misunderstood ideology.
You don’t need to be a designer, or know all the principles of design, to learn and develop this growingly important skill.
Design thinking is a problem-solving thinking process that focuses on the user/consumer, integrating user needs, possibilities of technology, and the requirements needed for success. It is a method for practical and creative solutions for problems that was inspired by designers, but one that ultimately can provide a lot of help in the marketing business.
The focus on users really help in targeting your audience with even more relevant solutions to their issues, or more relevant content to capture their eye.
While the chart above isn’t set in stone, it is a great set of guidelines that you could use to help zero in on your problem’s solution. You can learn more about Design thinking here and here.
3- Omnichannel Communications
Don’t get lost with the word’s “Omnichannel,” no, it’s not the same as Multichannel marketing/communications.
Omnichannel communications is ensuring that all communication platforms are working so seamlessly that there is no difference between them, allow customers to choose the right communications method/platform that is right for them at this exact moment. Their experience continues the exact same way when they switch to another platform is another example of good Omnichannel communication.
This means that there must be a flexible yet ironclad set of communication rules attached to your overall communication plan. Unfortunately, it takes time, and a lot of effort, to get the experience as seamless as possible.
But in a world where people expect rapid answers, and a great experience that continues whenever they switch devices or channels, it is definitely one skill you should be improving.
There isn’t much to explain when it comes to why our storytelling skills need to be upgraded. Storytelling has become an integral part of any branding, marketing or content marketing strategy and planning.
As Rachel Gillett wrote in Fast Company, “when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well.”
The way we tell our brand stories have to keep evolving, to keep entertaining and capturing the attention we want. We must continue developing this skill to catch up to memes, viral content, whatever else we have to fight against to capture attention.
5- Content Creation
Content Creation is such a broad term, which makes it such an impressive addition to anyone’s list of skills.
A content creator is someone who creates and publishes original content, content can be created for both online and offline platforms. They are the jack of all trades, able to use most creation software and capable at photography and videography.
For the everyday marketer, the basics of creating any original content will help tremendously. You can now control the narrative; through writing blogs, posting images and short phone-filmed videos, and etc.
Knowing these skills will also provide you with a wide range of applications, as well as a better understanding of the skills and jobs your team does.
6- Data and Metrics
Want to future-proof your resume and career? A deep understanding of data and metrics will ensure you are ready for whatever comes your way.
Currently, we have access to a ton of data, from online data providers to accessible APIs by companies. Because of this, there are prime opportunities to get deeper and more meaningful insights on customers and the marketplace.
Marketers who are able to understand, collect and analyze this data will be able to create better decisions, think up relevant and enticing campaigns and better optimize running campaigns.
Just remember; although creative thinking maintains itself as one of the most important things when creating a campaign, data-backed decisions and optimization will ensure a great campaign.
7- Understanding the Principles of Design
You may think that the principles of Design, just like with Design Thinking, is something that only designers and artistic types should be thinking about. It’s not.
A sense of what looks good and what feels strange can only get any marketer so far. Sometimes, it is up to us to improve designs, videos or photographs. There is also a lot of psychology that goes behind design, and how it can be seen or felt by viewers.
Learning some of the basics, including the psychology behind certain popular colors, can help you not only understand what your designers are trying to explain to you, and they’ll be ever grateful, but also know what to say to improve something.
You can easily find a lot of free source material on Pinterest if you get interested.
Add-on: Understanding Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality, new social platforms and updates, IoT, social selling, Artificial Intelligence, a new loved ad that “makes” a new trend, and etc. We are bombarded everyday with things that distract us from our goals, and keeping a narrow focus on what we can do to improve ourselves and our work.
Distinguishing what is hype vs trends and what can actually provide us with new knowledge, techniques, or technology that will enable us to improve is a skill in and of itself.
Being able to prioritize what can benefit us, as well as filter our distractions, is a skill that will help any serious marketer out.