Curious. Dedicated. Creative. Maybe you’ve used these words to describe yourself in a cover letter or during a “tell us about yourself” icebreaker at a professional seminar. In addition to correlating to workplace success, many of these soft skills often empower professionals to reach new heights in their careers. This is especially true in the case of successful digital marketers, whose work blends art and science on a daily basis.
In this post, we’ve identified some of the primary characteristics that most successful digital marketers possess. Some marketing professionals come by these traits naturally and others have put in the work to cultivate them later in life. The great thing about these characteristics? Both current marketing professionals and those interested in a career change into marketing can begin to build these marketing strengths at any time.
Setting the Stage: A Look at the Digital Marketing Industry
The digital marketing industry is continually evolving with the power and potential of technology. Companies across all industries are looking for forward-thinking professionals with the skills needed for marketing that will take their businesses to the next level of success.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that marketing research analysts and marketing specialists will see an 18% increase in employment between 2019–2029. This is remarkably larger than the national projection of 4% for all occupations. For those interested in management positions in the marketing space, the BLS projects that marketing manager roles will increase by 7% between 2019–2029.
Rising to the Role: 8 Qualities to Develop if You Want to Join the Ranks of Successful Digital Marketers
Opportunities are endless for marketing professionals who have the traits, skills, and acumen necessary to be part of driving companies forward in a rapidly moving world. Let’s dive into these eight characteristics of marketing professionals that are essential to the skill sets of successful digital marketers.
Clear planning and goal-setting matters more than ever. Particularly in 2021, the ability to notice new trends, suss out their meaning, and adapt accordingly has to be prioritized as well. This fact has been repeatedly underscored during the pandemic, as companies that relied on brick-and-mortar patronage had to maneuver a wholly digital landscape and customer base.
A mindset that values agility empowers digital marketers to:
Leverage new data and respond to it with a measured, confident approach
Identify flaws in earlier plans and seek new solutions with creativity and without defensiveness
Value and incorporate customer feedback into current and future campaigns
In an era when new technological advances happen every day and the cultural conversation takes place rapid-fire style on social media, successful digital marketers develop their agility, positioning themselves to observe, interpret, and apply new information smoothly and successfully.
With each passing day, the public has more access to information and data. The ability to be analytical about that data and the public’s response to it is one of the key skills needed for marketing in the 21st century. Consider these examples of analysis leading to greater marketing success:
Upserve, a company that makes restaurant point-of-sale and management software, realized a 54% win rate when they implemented competitive intelligence software.
Kroger leverages customer data to send the right coupons to the right customers at the right times, which has resulted in their company outperforming the average coupon return rate by over 60%.
Amazon tracks user data to determine the interests and desires of each user, leading to product recommendations that account for 35% of the company’s annual sales.
The ability to collect, systematize, and employ data in strategic applications sets successful digital marketers apart.
Highly developed communication skills are a critical asset to successful digital marketers. Expert digital marketer Adam Proehl, Partner & Co-Founder at NordicClick Interactive, lists 15 imperative communication skills that those who want to be successful digital marketers should begin to cultivate. They include:
The ability to listen
The art of brevity
The ability to guide others to find the answers
When combined with the characteristics we’ve observed thus far—agility and analysis—communication skills help marketing professionals put the data they’ve collected and brilliant ideas they have into messages that allow their coworkers, business leaders, customers, and the public to grab hold of their vision and participate in it.
If you work as a marketer or are interested in joining the field, it’s likely that you have a strong creative streak. Successful digital marketers hone their creative skills to shape compelling marketing campaigns that encourage customer loyalty and drive new sales. Check out these three ways that creativity was one of the marketing strengths that led to company success:
AirBnB shows up on Facebook with paid ads that pair beautiful imagery of vacation homes with rich descriptions of what a stay there would feel like, nudging the person scrolling through social media to explore the possibilities of escaping for a break in the physical world and not just the digital.
Shutterstock created a creative trends report in the form of a free infographic that can easily be shared on social media. The interactive resource includes images, video, and music and drew more than 6 billion visits to Shutterstock’s website.
Glossier has created a joyful, full-of-fun community on social media by engaging Twitter in a personal way. They retweet customers who are enjoying their Glossier products and reply to them in a charming, conversational manner.
Successful digital marketers aren’t just data informed, they are driven by it. A data-driven approach doesn’t mean that creativity and personality don’t matter. In fact, the opposite is true. A data-driven approach empowers digital marketers to channel their creativity and vision into campaigns that reach the customers and potential customers who are most likely to resonate with them.
Campaign Monitor identifies ten signs that marketers are data driven including:
You’re driven by analytics.
You track everything.
You create content based on evidence.
Digital marketers who are hungry for insightful data and consider it an asset in developing creative, successful campaigns will position themselves as desirable hires for companies that want to heighten brand awareness and increase revenue.
Successful digital marketers strive to achieve goals and display a strong work ethic that are reflected in the quality of their marketing campaigns and ideas. Dedication in the day-to-day helps successful digital marketers develop a habit of dedication that will be reflected in their approach to customers. Especially for marketing managers, dedication is key as employees are looking to them to set the tone and establish the culture of the marketing team.
Dedication to high-quality marketing work can be demonstrated starting with simple ways like:
Valuing educational opportunities like trainings and workshops
Celebrating workplace diversity through everyday conversations, special events, opportunities for personal expression in the workplace
Involving team members or employees in goal-setting and decision-making processes, providing coworkers the opportunity to commit to a desired outcome and bond with one another
Successful digital marketers are skilled in fusing art and science. Intuition is an important component of this combination, particularly on the artistic side. Intuition-based marketing is often discussed in opposition to data-driven marketing, but they don’t have to be at odds with one another. Instead, merging data with intuition can lead to brilliant campaigns that reach the right audience with the right message.
The Agency Partnership recommends several steps for simultaneously prioritizing data and intuition, including:
Set out to develop empathy for your target audiences
Use the data available to you while recognizing that it is fallible, as is intuition
Encourage a balanced approach on your team by bringing people who are naturally inclined toward data and those who are naturally inclined toward intuition together
Strategic thinkers don’t just think ahead, they think about what it will take to keep moving ahead in a long-term, sustainable way.
The Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness recommends several steps for improving strategic thinking skills, such as:
Learning from subject matter experts and opinion leaders
Prioritizing high-quality sources of information
Considering the potential outcomes of several responses to a problem
For digital marketing professionals, strategic thinking may look like studying marketplace trends in order to forecast, identifying gaps in productivity and determining ways to address them, and envisioning campaigns that don’t just lead to one-time sales but encourage customer loyalty.
Hone Your Skills with the DMDA from Emerson College
Are you ready to cultivate these eight key qualities of successful digital marketers? The 100% online Master of Arts in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA) program exemplifies Emerson College’s U.S. News & World Report Ranking as one of the 2021 Most Innovative Schools.
The DMDA program enhances careers and broadens horizons as it:
Combines digital marketing practices and analytics knowledge
Builds professional certifications into the curriculum
Offers networking and mentoring opportunities during the academic experience
Become a stand-out marketer in as little as one year. Speak with an admissions counselor to discover how you can get started.