5 Essential Hybrid Digital Marketing Skills to Develop Now
Date : January 4, 2018
One of the biggest mistakes brands can make is keeping their various marketing efforts siloed and expecting those in each department to perform their jobs and bring in leads without collaboration. Effectively reaching customers requires a unique voice and a consistent brand. It has become increasingly obvious in recent years how interconnected the various aspects of marketing and media are, which is changing how marketers do their jobs – and even those jobs themselves.
The Convergence Impacting All Marketers
Take the collision of search, social, and content. Although Google has indicated that it does not directly measure social signals from social media in its algorithm, you must leverage this trifecta together if you want to drive your content towards success. Strong content will first form the building blocks of your campaign. Selecting topics based upon what is trending or popular on social media can help you tap into customer interests and create pieces that are more likely to resonate with your intended audience. It will also help you to gain the social signals you want. However, the only way to maximize this impact is to thoroughly engage the topic and leave your readers feeling as though they have learned something.
When you further leverage the power of social media by promoting your material across your own platforms, you will increase the audience for your pieces and drive traffic towards your content. This contributes to more readers and more backlinks.
As social media helps to drive the audience for your content, it will also raise your search rank. Google’s monitoring of engagement data, such as the number of people reading the article and the backlink profile of the piece, means that the impact of social media stretches beyond social signals. As your content rises in search rankings, its exposure will also increase for those entering queries. High-quality pieces will then be more likely to be shared once again on social media. These three marketing aspects have converged to create a three-prong wheel that works together to increase content exposure.
A similar phenomenon can be viewed in the convergence of paid, owned, and earned media. For these three to be successful, they must work towards a common goal, such as using paid and owned media to increase traffic. You can also use both earned and paid media to point towards owned media and boost the number of visitors and your brand reach. When you raise the quality of your owned media and the customer experience you provide on your website, you will also increase the chances of receiving more reviews and positive earned media.
The Impact of These Trends on Job Roles
As the different silos of marketing continue to converge, the roles of marketers are following a similar path. Brands interested in successfully merging the different types of marketing must also find professionals who have the skills necessary to integrate these different tasks. Highly specialized marketers who do not know how to work in a more holistic environment, will struggle to operate and successfully engage audiences as the silos and barriers come crashing down.
Unfortunately this places many employers in a difficult position. Universities continue to churn out marketing graduates who are ill-equipped to handle the demands of modern, evolving marketing. Even among those already in the industry, as many as 40 percent of marketers want to reinvent themselves, but only 14 percent know how. Learning the skill needed to succeed in a more hybrid marketing world requires a little creativity and using the resources available to move beyond your specialty.
5 Modern Day Digital Hybrid Skills
There are particular skills that stand out as being helpful for marketers who want to succeed in the new industry space. Here are key areas for marketers to focus on as they begin to reform themselves into hybrid marketers.
1. Cross-Channel Knowledge
Marketing professionals who demonstrate cross-channel knowledge have a good understanding and helpful insight about the different digital channels. They will be able to guide their team to develop integrated strategies and campaigns. With their contributions, the brand’s presence on the different platforms will be more consistent and more successful.
Cultivating these important skills can be done by spending time with different departments. Go on lunches with members of other marketing silos and get to know their goals and objectives as well as the methods they use to reach them. Host ‘lunch and learn’ sessions with different teams such as the PR team or the social media team. Encourage communication among the different members and open the door to see how everyone’s efforts fit together to create the brand’s presence.
2. Marketing and Business Acumen
Marketing skills are responsible for getting the brand out and in front of potential customers. They encourage consumers to see how your company can help solve their problems. Marketers who can combine this knowledge with business acumen can make very valuable employees. These professionals will be able to see not only how to effectively reach customers, but also how what is going on the marketing department impacts the rest of the company as a whole.
Those who want to learn and improve their business acumen should focus on understanding the gears that churn the business forward. Attend company meetings that discuss the future of the company. Use department meetings to explore not only how the latest marketing efforts have improved ROI, but also how that positive ROI impacts the rest of business. For example, discuss how expansion and innovation in the product development sector has responded to insights gathered by those in the marketing department. Look at how increased revenue has impacted growth within the company, as well as ways to integrate marketing with the growth of the rest of the brand.
3. Technical Skills
Technical skills can be very valuable for marketers. If you have an understanding of coding, for example, you can make basic changes to your sites without having to involve the IT department. You will also have the tools you need to push your creativity to the limit since you will have greater insight into what the web is capable of producing.
You should also be familiar with the basics of analytics and know how to judge progress within your marketing campaigns. You will be able to execute your efforts with more insight and data to back your decisions, thereby being more efficient and more productive.
Learning the more technical skills can often be done largely on your own. There are a variety of resources available both in-person and online that can help you learn the basics of HTML. Search Engine Watch provides a great introductory resource that can help you understand the basics of analytics as well.
4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Interpersonal and communication skills will help you work more productively with those in other departments. As you remove the silos and barriers that traditionally separate these groups, such as those working in content development from the search department, more holistic marketing efforts can be pursued. The more you understand the power of psychology and how that can influence people and relationships, the more you will be able to promote cooperation.
Source: Search Engine Watch
To improve your interpersonal and communication skills, consider doing team-building exercises. Encourage people to reach across departments to work on different projects together. Drafting agreements that outline consistent language throughout the different departments can also help improve communication and help everyone understand each other.
5. Passion for Your Product, Market, and Industry
It does not matter how experienced and skillful you are at marketing, if you do not have passion about your brand and your product, your efforts will not span as far as they could. The passion also needs to be emotionally intelligent. You need to be able to identify your drive and funnel it towards making your work successful.
To inspire passion about the products and services you work with, make sure you are intimately familiar with them. You should know more about how to use them than what you can watch in on boarding introductory videos. Spend time using the product the way a customer would. It can also be helpful to review case studies that show how the company has helped customers with their goals.
Since its birth, the online marketing space has been continually evolving – especially within the past two decades. As the industry and consumers become more sophisticated, the world of different silos and barriers between particular types of marketing are quickly breaking down. Not only does this mean changes for how brands seek to engage their customers, but it also changes the roles of the professionals working in the industry.
Learning to become a hybrid professional requires marketers to cultivate skills outside their specialties and become equipped to handle the challenges of more integrated campaigns. However, taking the time to learn these skills can help professionals advance within their career and guide their brands through the changing digital atmosphere.
Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge.