How can you become an inbound marketing champion and improve your marketing agency client...
Marketing requires more than just technical knowledge. Learn about how to be a better marketer with our list of 7 essential soft skills every digital marketer needs.
Being a successful marketer is about having more than just technical skills and practical knowledge; we also need a set of nuanced soft skills. Spitfire’s Lead Inbound Success Strategist, Jayde Troskie, shares her knowledge about the 7 essential soft skills every marketer needs
As a marketer, I’ve found that it's easy to get caught up in learning new, innovative digital marketing tools and mastering the latest techniques. While these hard skills are important, they are not the only skills that define a successful marketer. In fact, it's the soft skills—those intangible personal attributes and interpersonal abilities—that have set me apart in my marketing career.
I have put together, from my experience, the 7 key soft skills that have made me a better marketer:
Being a good communicator is possibly the most crucial soft skill. On the surface, we need to be responsive and let our clients and team know we’re on top of things. Quality communication has helped me build strong relationships with both clients and colleagues. Building relationships is vital because as marketers, we’re constantly attracting people to what we're selling. Being able to communicate to different types of people and create an environment where people feel comfortable approaching and speaking to us is crucial.
Part of creating that space is understanding that communication is a two-way street. As much as we need to be able to communicate and get our point across, we also need to be able to listen. This is where I’ve found it important to practice Active Listening: the concept of listening to understand rather than to respond.
Asking for advice around communication strategies has helped me grow and learn from the more experienced members of my team. It has also helped me keep an open-mind and remain teachable. The easiest way to achieve this is by using the resources both around us, and internally.
Communication is something that we can always improve upon and the more we learn, the more confident we become.
Confidence is something I’ve built over time, but has been crucial for me to build stable relationships with clients. I’ve watched how my confidence has inspired their confidence in me, and in Spitfire as a whole. This comes from knowing what I’m doing and being able to offer clients the best advice based on their individual needs.
This is especially important when it comes to working with an array of clients. We need to be confident in knowing the questions to ask, to get the clarity needed, to ultimately provide the client with the best possible solution.
3) Conflict resolution
When I’ve been faced with conflict, the most important thing I’ve learned is to never take things personally. Conflict can be caused by miscommunication, stress, pressure, and so on. When this happens, it’s helpful for me to take a step back and ask myself, “Where is this conflict coming from?” From there I’ve been able to brainstorm solutions together with my team and the client.
For example, if I’m in a meeting with my team and things are getting heated, I excuse myself for 2 minutes and then come back once I’ve gathered my thoughts. I find it incredibly helpful to stop/pause the conversation, take a few deep breaths, and then tackle the situation. This gives everyone involved a moment to assess and process the conflict.
I like to remind myself to always remain approachable. If the team or any other stakeholders are frustrated, I do my best to offer sound advice and tackle the situation from a positive and constructive standpoint.
When addressing potential conflict with clients, it’s a good idea to communicate and set out the expectations with them upfront. This is why we use SLAs (Service Level Agreements). Having an SLA in place helps build trust between us and our clients; and helps navigate conversations about timelines, scope, costing, etc. later on down the line. It’s also a great way to inspire and maintain confidence around performance on the account by measuring delivery against the agreed upon expectations.
Digital landscapes are constantly shifting and advancing so as marketers, we need to be able to adapt and thrive alongside new technology rather than fight against it. We experience these shifts often in the world of HubSpot. This can be changes in how the tools work, shifting trends, system updates, and so on. The world of HubSpot (and digital marketing in general) moves at a rapid pace and it’s easy to get left behind.
That being said, something I learned very quickly was that I wasn’t meant to know everything all at once. Adaptability is a constant learning and growth process.
5) Taking initiative
I’ve needed to be a self motivator and a self-starter, since I became part of the marketing industry.
In my experience, my success as a marketer is dependent on the opportunities that I’m able to identify and take advantage of. Most of the time, I’ve been responsible for my own learning and I’ve needed to be proactive about upskilling, working with more experienced team members (such as a mentor), and learning as much as I could about my area of expertise and the tools I use. This has also helped me remain up-to-date and aware of the market in which I operate, and continuously identify opportunities and gaps that I can fill.
6) Time management
Time management is about more than planners and scheduling meetings. It often has less to do with scheduling the day and more to do with looking at how time is being used. Skills like prioritisation, forward planning, and being diligent about writing things down has helped me use my time productively. Having a key visual and overarching view of the project, the individual targets I need to reach, and the associated deadlines has also been extremely helpful for me.
7) Critical thinking & problem solving skills
Critical thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. They facilitate our ability to think deeply about things or situations, understand those situations, and then apply the knowledge and judgement we have in order to find a solution.
As marketers, we need to analyse everything. When I see that something is working, I want to analyse why it works so that I can replicate it in the future. If it’s not working then I know I need to think on my feet and come up with an alternative solution, using my problem solving skills. Remember, it’s not just about finding a solution quickly. It’s about finding the best solution.
In the end, I’ve seen time and again that being a good marketer comes down to how well I can use my soft skills in my everyday professional life. It comes down to being honest with what I don't know, taking a collaborative approach, and being open to listening and asking for help.
We’re here to give our clients the best advice and get them the best results we can, which is only possible through applying these essential soft skills. Go into every day (and every situation) with an open mind, curiosity, and a collaborative mindset.
Do better, be better!