It’s amazing how often I’m asked the question, “What makes a great marketer”? Whether it’s a new employee, students looking for career advice, fellow entrepreneurs or even clients, the question is asked because marketing is a tough position to pin down. There are no regulations to govern the field and every marketing professional seems to be quite unique in their own right.
I’ve boiled it down to 5 traits that I look for when hiring future marketers as well as the traits I admire in great marketing professionals.
1. Strong business acumen.
We tell all our marketers at CREW that they are business professionals first and then marketers. Marketing is about creating value in the market for both the organization and target audience through manipulating the levers of product, place, price, promotion, and people (5 P’s vs. the standard 4). There is no way to do this credibly without a deep understanding of business models and best practices.
2. Strategic creativity.
Good marketing is the ability to analyze research, new trends, and changing markets in order to recommend clear courses of action. That’s a big undertaking and requires creativity as it relates to strategic direction. Marketers who “can’t play in the grey” often rely on what’s worked in the past and that is the fastest route to mediocrity.
3. Great Empathy.
Great Marketers need to get into the minds, lives, and decisions of their target audience. They need to feel what their audience feels when they make a purchase decision or tell a neighbour about the service they just experienced, or why they just posted that pic on Facebook about their shoes. That ability only comes from empathy. A marketer doesn’t have to use the product themselves but they better love trying to understand what and why other people use it.
4. Organizational quarterback.
Coming up with a great strategy is one thing, but organizing a team, stakeholders, and the organization to execute on it is a whole other ball game. This is where many adequate marketers fail. They don’t follow through with the discipline required to execute. They take on too many initiatives and therefore can’t see it through to the end or just don’t have the skill set or influence to organize people around what’s required. Success in marketing is determined by execution not solely by the idea.
5. Brilliant Communicator.
Brilliant may be a strong word here but in my experience, great marketers are actually brilliant communicators. They can clearly articulate the issue, the rationale, the strategy to move to the next level and the action steps required to make it happen. They do it in a motivating way that inspires people to action. Whether it’s their interpersonal communication, email writing, facilitation, reports, or presentations – they know how to move people through communication to a given goal.
As you look over this list, you can probably see that the traits of a great marketer are actually traits of a great leader. That’s what I believe marketing is and should be for an organization – the leadership hub. Marketing helps guide and direct the other functions of an organization in order to create value and achieve its ultimate mission.
Have a great day!