What are the skills needed by marketers to be succesful in the future?

In our research for the Skills of the Modern Marketer report, we asked senior level marketers that question and have come up with 15 essential skills - organised into three 'top five skills lists' for marketing.

Why three lists? When we asked respondents about the skills essential to marketing there was a surprising focus placed on the soft skills.

So in addition to the usual broad knowledge areas and vertical skills areas, marketers need the right soft skills to be able to work across the organisation. The best ideas will founder without buy-in across the organisation and support from multiple teams.

Marketers also need to be able to adapt quickly in response to the rapid pace of change all around us.

So that leaves us with three top five lists, one each for soft skills, broad skills and technical skills.   

We repeatedly heard that the challenge is in finding the right people - people with the right mix of technical or analytical skills and the soft skills to be successful in the organisation.

The most important soft skill was adaptability. Three quarters (75%) of respondents cited the ability to embrace change as "very important" to be an effective marketer, while 61% cited being passionate and keen to learn as "very important".

The willingness to adapt and the ability to change in response to external forces is critical for marketers, as they need to be agile in the face of shifting consumer expectations and the emergence of new digital channels.

We also need to be constantly learning and have to be able to collaborate across the organisation in order to get things done. This research confirms many of the skills that Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein defined in the Modern Marketing Manifesto.  

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the looming digital skills gap, and our research confirms that marketers are struggling to find people with the right data and analytics skills in particular. However, respondents continuously underscored the importance of softer skills.

There is no question that we are seeing the rise of the marketing technologist and that we are facing a skills gap in data and analytics. But the focus should be on hiring people with the right mix of skills, so-called t-shaped or pi-shaped marketers. 

Econsultancy subscribers can download a copy of the Skills of the Modern Marketer report. We also published an infographic summarising the findings and recently launched our digital skills index where you can see how your skills measure up. 


Published 29 May, 2014 by Heather Hopkins

Heather Hopkins is Senior Analyst on the research team at Econsultancy. You can follow Heather on Twitter.

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Comments (2)


zain ali, Marketing Executive at LiveAdmins JLT

Selection of target market is very important otherwise your marketing is useless. Moreover, if you have a business website then you can add live chat software to judge your visitor and targeting him according to his interest. You ask interest and business that your visitor is doing and provide best customer services in this regard that is more effective for your business growth. You can also select the people who are relevant to your business that is the main thing discussed in this post. I liked the writing.

about 4 years ago


Justin Belmont, Founder/CEO at Prose Media

This article has a wonderful list of skills marketers really need to be successful. It was interesting to see how certain skills ranked with marketing companies. Adaptability and the desire to constantly learn are two very highly valued traits at www.ProseMedia.com. Great article!

about 4 years ago

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