Eight critical skills for modern marketers


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Sure, there’s competence with marketing automation platforms, paid search and other tactical tools. But scalable success as a modern B2B marketer across industries and companies requires a cross-functional set of skills. Here are a few we find particularly important:

1. Excel
If you can’t manage a spreadsheet, you can’t be the kind of modern, math marketer that today’s B2B environments demand. This doesn’t mean you need an MBA or a statistics degree, but you need to be comfortable with formulas, pivot tables and synthesis of more data than ever before.

2. Google Analytics
Can you read the basics of what Google Analytics can tell you about a web site’s performance? Where its traffic comes from, which natural keywords are most prominent, which pathways are generating the most conversion events, etc? There isn’t a single B2B business that doesn’t require some form of Web analytics to be successful now.

3. Copywriting
I’d say “communication” here as a generic form of multi-channel communication, but much of that comes down to effective writing. Can you succinctly communicate a message and offer? Can you connect directly with a target audience and direct action? Can you get your point across in a tight, persuasive manner?

4. Copyediting
Similar but very different skill. It’s one thing to edit for spelling errors and grammar. It’s quite another thing to take a step back, review the intent of the work, and ensure it’s doing the right job effectively. That’s the kind of copyediting that modern marketing organizations require.

5. Email inbox rules & discipline
The volume of email we receive is only going to keep increasing. Your ability to cut through the clutter, capture the important and urgent items first, and spend the majority of time OUTSIDE of email and working (vs. responding to other people’s priorities) is key to productivity and success. Using auto-sorting rules in Outlook or Gmail can be incredibly useful, as can turning email off on a more regular basis and simply being disciplined about focusing on the real work required, vs. looking for more.

6. A formal task management system/process
What should you be doing right now? What will you focus on tomorrow? Once the plan is set, objectives agreed upon and strategy developed, how will you execute? There are as many productivity and task management systems out there as there are successful people. Find your own system and stick with it.

7. Tolerance for chaos & change
This may be less of a skill, and more of a state of mind. But whatever you call it, modern marketing is forever changing. What works, what doesn’t, your organization or department’s priorities, etc. Your ability to adjust, move quickly, and get productive again quickly, will define how well you succeed and grow.

8. Precision questioning
How quickly and effectively can you get to the heart of the matter with a couple well-placed questions? How well does the other party understand the true objectives, and how correctly have they mapped their own efforts in that direction? The better your ability to ask the right questions, the faster you’ll be able to create alignment, consensus and forward progress towards what really matters.

What would be on your list of required skills for modern marketers?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


  1. I would add story-telling as a critical skill. I see an enormous amount of broadcasting and ‘telling’ (like a PR announcement), but being able to lead a reader through a story engages interest like few things can.

    “The shortest distance between a human being and the truth is a story.” – Anthony de Mello.


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