How to become a superior marketing professional

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Your winning game plan requires you to be at your best every day.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/08/2019 (1212 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Your winning game plan requires you to be at your best every day.

Winning teams, whether in sports or business, must have top-tier talent. In business, every comment on hiring seems to indicate there is a war for talent. So how does a business find, develop and retain top-tier marketing talent? Successful teams understand how to do this with their current players as they train and coach them to keep improving. Successful businesses must also follow a structured approach in the development of their marketers.

Someone once told me that they had the perfect candidate for a marketing position I was hiring for because “they were good with people.” My dog is good with people, but that will not make him a great marketer. When searching for marketing talent for your business, you begin by finding people who are trained in marketing. This means acquiring talent through focused hiring, developing people through coaching and training, and building relationships with business schools and colleges to understand what students are learning and how that learning will align with your marketing needs.

Businesses must also identify the responsibilities of the marketer. Great marketers can create a marketing plan no matter what the product or service. As a marketer, you should believe in your product or service and be able to articulate the differentiation simply, concisely and memorably for your current and future customers. A marketing plan with this type of strong value proposition will help your product or service be the first one that customers have in mind.

Combining the organization’s marketing needs with personal development plans will help keep your marketers relevant as professionals and drive growth for the business. The top three areas I recommend marketers focus on are learning your customers’ needs very deeply, advocating for your customers throughout your organization, and creating inspiring and actionable plans.

First, learn about your customers, deeply. You must be curious to learn why you are different in the minds of your customers, not just why you think you are different. Look at where your product or service is being used to see how you are solving a problem or creating extra value. While learning how to create buyer personas can be helpful, not everyone in a demographic category exhibits all the same social and emotional patterns. Studying why people buy and looking for the emotional connection in your story will help you position the right message. The more complete your understanding of the customer’s needs and how you help solve those needs, the more impact you will have as a marketer.

Next, advocate within your company. Great marketing begins at home. Everyone in your company is an advocate for your product or service. Great marketers help ensure a consistent understanding of why you are selling what you are selling, why the price is the price and why the promotion is the promotion. You can go a step further in strengthening internal relationships by understanding the financial, IT and operational systems implications of the marketing strategies you employ, so everyone can see the effect on the business’ results. Understanding your internal customers’ needs and interests is as important in this calculation as the financial return from your external paying customers. Demonstrating value will avoid having marketing being viewed as a black hole of spending.

Finally, create inspiring and actionable plans. You must be able to invite your colleagues to join you in the excitement of your marketing plans. I am not speaking of “all sizzle and no steak” messaging — rather, a blend of these two elements. Launching your marketing plan internally helps everyone become an ambassador for your business. Then you take this plan to market in exciting and interesting ways to capture your customers’ attention to drive interest and action. Combining all these components takes confidence and bravery. On an individual basis, you can gain the confidence to become brave by becoming the best marketer in your role.

As you can see, a commitment to continuous learning is key to becoming a great marketer, and successful businesses play a role in creating the environment for growth and greatness through the training and coaching they offer. A great marketer seeks first to understand people and then apply this knowledge to provide solutions wanted by customers.

Tim’s bits: When you stand still because you think you are good — no matter what your vocation — you will be passed by those striving to get better. Marketers must continue to hone their skills through study and practice. The future is uncertain; therefore, you must take control and become adaptable. You are responsible for your own performance. If there is something you need, then you must create the case to support your needs. If you wait for someone else to tell you what to do, you may never become a truly great marketer.

Tim is a certified management consultant with more than two decades of experience in various marketing and sales leadership positions.

Tim Kist

Tim Kist
Columnist

Tim is a certified management consultant with more than two decades of experience in various marketing and sales leadership positions.

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