Are you a natural at highlighting the positive? Do you think about the best way to communicate what you have to say? Do your friends all think you are the creative one?
These abilities all seem to play a substantial role in a marketing career for the casual observer. But with any big decision, it would be foolish to make a commitment based on a best guess. If you’re thinking of working in marketing, it helps to hear from those already “in the know”.
Lucky for you, we asked marketing professionals to share their perspective on what qualities are truly needed to work in marketing.
You should consider working in marketing if …
Gleaned from marketing professionals, the following are traits and characteristics that the best marketing professionals share:
1. You’re naturally curious
Did you drive your parents up a wall by asking “Why?” as a child? Has that spirit of curiosity stuck with you as you’ve grown older? If you love figuring out how things work and why people do the things they do, you might be well-suited for a marketing career.
In their words: The world of marketing is constantly evolving, with new tools, features and platforms becoming available on a constant basis, according to Howie Zisser, Digital Marketing Associate at Matchnode. “What you learned last year may or may not be the most efficient practice today,” he explains. “Curiosity enables a person to continually learn, execute and iterate these new techniques.”
2. You’ve got plans for everything
Are you the type to have a back-up plan for nearly any situation? This can come in handy in this profession. You may assume those who work in marketing just come up with creative ideas on a whim and rush to execute them. But in reality, it takes a significant amount of thoughtful planning and strategizing to ensure their message lands with the most impact. That requires a skill for looking ahead and understanding what could go wrong—as well as how to fix issues if they do arise.
In their words: “Marketers must be able to ask the right questions and identify and understand cause and effect connections in order to make effective strategic decisions,” says Robin Salter, chief marketing officer, KWIPPED. She explains that while marketing tools and tactics are easy to learn, knowing which ones to implement and when to use them requires you to understand context. “Proactive thinkers are like detectives searching through clues and asking questions to reveal trigger points for positive and negative marketing and sales results,” she adds.
3. You’re comfortable with change
For some, there’s a sense of comfort that comes from a consistent routine. Marketing is not the field for these people. Marketers, particularly those who work for agencies with multiple clients, are constantly in a state of flux. This means you’ll need to be adaptable and comfortable working with different audiences, tactics and tools on regular basis.
In their words: In marketing agencies, you’ll often work for a number of different clients who target varying audiences, explains Lisa-Sophie Kupfer, Digital Marketing Specialist Seoplus+. “You might be creating a press release for a new airline hub in one minute and tweeting away for a cheeky teen fashion brand in the other,” she says. “To be good at your job you need to be versatile.”
4. You’re analytical
If something goes wrong in your life, are you typically able to quickly pinpoint the cause and correct it? Failure, when properly analyzed, can provide incredibly useful information if you know how to approach it. Every marketing professional will have their fair share of failures but the best know how to grow from their mistakes.
In their words: “Being strong at analytics and reporting helps make sure you know what is working and what is not,” says Michael Shearer, Director of Marketing Operations at SelectHub. Knowing this information means you can identify what to continue doing and what to stop. With so many digital marketing channels and tactics now, these type of analytical skills are necessary for success, according to Shearer.
“Marketing is not just art and creative try-and-fail,” Kupfer adds. “There’s a science to it if done right. In order to grow and develop, you need to measure every step of everything you do.”
5. You’re creative
There’s a ton of competition for people’s attention out there. One of the best ways for marketers to catch the eye of their audience is to provide them with something they’ve never seen before. That’s where creativity kicks in. While not every innovative idea you’ll come up with will be put to use, the ability to conjure up innovative or unexpected ideas or approaches is incredibly valuable.
In their words: “Marketing is a creative industry,” Kupfer says. “Do you still remember that boring, average billboard campaign from last summer? No? My point exactly. If you feel that overwhelming wish to share your out-of-the-box ideas with the world and see it bringing great results for your clients, you’re on the right path in marketing.”
6. You’re empathetic
Do you have an innate ability to feel what others are feeling? That’s a good sign if you intend to work in marketing. You’re not going to sell much of anything if you make your personal needs the focus of a marketing campaign. Marketers spend a lot of time and energy trying to get into the minds of their potential customers. A strong sense of empathy is a valuable asset for anyone looking to work in this field.
In their words: You have to be able to step outside your own mind and view your product or service from the perspective of who’s buying it, according to Brent Shedd, Founder and CEO of Record Integrity. “There’s a common saying in marketing: ‘You are not the target audience,’” he shares. “Even if you’re the same demographic and psychographic as whom you're selling to, you're still not the target audience because you’re too familiar with the product or service.” Because of this fact, having empathy for the end user is paramount to successfully selling to them.
Do you have what it takes to work in marketing?
After learning more about the essential qualities of a successful marketer, do you think you’re a natural fit for the field? If you can relate to the traits above, you already have a great start.
But you owe it to yourself to do your due diligence and learn as much as possible about what it’s really like to work in marketing. Get a sneak peek in our article, “11 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Pursuing a Career in Marketing.”