Marketing is a popular sector for bright graduates looking for a creative and exciting role after university. Regardless of sector, companies must market their products or services to a target audience and this requires a dedicated team. All employers are looking for graduates who are driven and good communicators, however; there are a further six skills you will need to be a stand out marketer.
When you think about marketing, creativity is often the first thing that springs to mind. You need to have creative solutions to business problems and new ways of communicating with your customers and clients. Generating ideas is all very well, but the best marketers can put these ideas into action and deliver results.
People have so much access today, and brands can connect with them in many ways, making it more difficult to stand out. Having the creativity and organisation skills to implement a marketing campaign that's a bit different could give the product or service you’re marketing the edge. When you’re looking at promotional campaigns from big companies, always think about what they are trying to achieve and how you could improve them.
PR is about communication. Not only will you need to be a confident speaker but you will also have to be an excellent listener. Luckily, these skills are not solely the remit of English or modern language graduates.
Even if your background is more tech/science based, if you have the ability to communicate complex theories clearly and without confusion then you already have a core skill. Communication is also about responding to the reactions and needs of different people, through different mediums potentially across different territories. Understanding the subtleties of language is crucial. What may work for one client may not suit another.
Analytical and critical thinking skills
A lot of marketing is problem solving. You will need to employ strong analytical skills to understand the desires of your existing market and identify the barriers to extending your service or product to a larger audience. Marketers often rely on behavioral information gathered through focus groups, interviews and the work of other researchers. Most companies now also montior online behavior through software such as google analytics.
Improving your understanding of your existing and potential market is a crucial starting point for the launch of any successful business strategy. You will therefore be required to not only recognise the problems, but use your understanding of the market, alongside your creativity to find solutions.
In this way critical thinking actually leads to creativity - only after understanding something fully, can you start to offer solutions.
Every industry is becoming increasingly technology based and marketing is no different. To be an excellent marketer of the future you are going to need to have core digital skills . Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), analytical tools and email campaigns are four key parts of modern marketing. It’s essential to have computer competencies but having basic coding, graphic design, video production skills can really help you stand out.
It’s all about “big data” nowadays as you have so much information on your customer base. The difficult bit is working out what data is important, analysing it and implementing changes which achieve your goals. Good marketing is data driven.
Whether it’s writing for social media posts, emails or hard copy marketing material, it’s essential you possess excellent written communication skills. In recent years, content marketing has often replaced traditional advertising channels, so your ability to write engaging and interesting articles is increasingly important.
At university you could write for a newspaper or magazine, or even start your own blog to help you practice writing for a specific audience.
A keen eye for detail is essential in marketing. Whether you’re creating content for a website, an article or an advert, you’ve got to get it right. What could have been an excellent marketing campaign will lose its impact due to a typo or an ill-thought out colour scheme.
Being good at proofing is an underestimated skill which can help you stand out - spotting errors and improving other’s copy is essential for a marketing team.
Good proofreading is often a skill that does not come hand in hand with those who find spelling and grammar easy. Do not assume you have done it right - check, check and check again. It is important that you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to properly look over your work.
Commercial awareness is discussed a lot in relation to finance and banking roles, but it’s very important in marketing too. You have to know the industry that the firm you’re applying to (or working for) operates in and the commercial implications of certain actions. Staying up to date with the news, key business stories and leading marketing blogs is essential.
A great place to stay is to sign up for our weekly Commercial Awareness updates. We summarise and analyse the key stories across a wide range of sectors.