Marketers who want to advance their careers need to take a proactive approach to boosting their skills and gaining valuable experience.
Instead of waiting for the employer to offer professional development, marketers should take action on their own volition. For starters, marketers can use the bevy of online resources to boost their career and, most likely, secure advanced placements.
Marketers that take a more aggressive approach to improving their skill sets will be rewarded with new opportunities since employeers are in desparate need for high-skill, go-getters. For those ready to move forward in the industry, here are a few realistic ways to boost a marketing career.
Continually Take Online Courses & Become Certified
There are many different marketing subcategories such as AdWords, analytics, SEO management, copywriting, PPC, content writing, etc. All marketers know what these are, but they are not experts in everything. Most marketers are content specialists or AdWords specialists who also can perform many of others tasks as well. So what are you good at? And what do you like? What channels and tactics drive success in your company? And, most importantly, what is lacking in your company?
From that information, you can start to understand what sort of expert you want to become. If your company does not have a PPC specialist, but clients are asking for PPC campaigns, become a certified PPC marketer. Dedicate a specific number of hours each day (this may have to be outside of work hours) to learn the task and gain any certifications available, and ask your company to run an internal campaign for practice. Running an internal campaign will show off your skills and prove you can take on clients, which means more money for your company, and likely a promotion for you. Set a study or certification schedule for yourself and spend time every day or every weekday to achieve it. Do not just rely on free time on weekends–you’ll never make progress fast enough.
- HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification – month 1 (better yet try to complete in one to two weeks)
- Content Marketing Certification by HubSpot – month 2
- Google Analytics – month 3
- HubSpot Contextual Marketing Certification – month 4
- Adwords Fundamentals by Google – month 5
- HTML and CSS coding basics by Treehouse (basic coding skills won’t hurt at all) – month 6
- Email Marketing Certification – month 7
You can find these certifications at:
Perform Your Own Tests
Perhaps your company does not want you to run internal campaigns — that’s fine. Instead, run your own campaigns on your own time to find out what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to start with PPC; you can start by launching your own blog or newsletter to find out what makes readers view the content, share it, and take action after reading. A/B test different subject lines, titles, and use your newfound knowledge on client campaigns at work.
When client campaigns improve because of your hard work, you can talk to your bosses about taking on more responsibilities.
Suggestions for a self-run test:
- Launch a small blog focusing on a subject you wish to learn
- Begin creating content for the blog
- Set up analytics
- Try to build traffic using SEO and social media (no paid influence yet)
- Set a goal. For example: try to build 50 visitors per day
- Set up email marketing (MailChimp, HubSpot free, etc)
- Set a goal. For example: 100 blog subscribers or 10 per week
- Optimize continuously and reset/update your goals. Begin to create SMART goals.
Stay on Top of New Trends
Marketing trends and technologies change often, so it’s important to remain on top of trends. Pay keen attention to advancements in your industry and not just marketing trends. Work hard to understand topics important to business strategy, sales strategy, customer experience, and industry news.
For example, in the technology space cloud, microservices, SaaS, machine learning, AI, and automation are all hot topics. If you work in the high tech space, spend time reading and understanding how these emerging technologies will impact your company’s competitiveness, delivery, and sales may be impacted by such advancements. Marketers must look outside their own practice and create knowledge bridges into related fields of study to generate a more profound impact.
Learn about Data
According to HubSpot, 40% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge. Most marketing teams do not include a data scientist, though they should, and clients want to know the ROI and metrics about their campaign. Gone are the days when marketers can send over reports with no numbers, now everything must include analytics and data-driven conclusions.
Many marketing teams do not understand data or how to measure a campaign, so if you can master this, you will certainly enjoy more attention on your team. Look at the courses offered by Google Analytics and HubSpot as well as the many online classes to learn how to lead a data-driven campaign.
- Identify metrics and analytics available to you now. Begin to dive deeper and put these metrics into practice.
- Complete certifications to gain a sense of proficiency with these analytic tools.
- Attend startup lectures, pitches, and tech talks to understand the metrics and analytics that drive other businesses forward.
- Practice using analytics in your day-to-day decision making.
- Build presentation decks using analytics within your current role and ask for feedback. Don’t expect success upon the first run.
- Question your premises. Run tests, experiment, and study analytics to gauge impact.
Connect with the Sales Team
Sales and marketing teams often run in silos, when they should work together. If both teams are aligned, this can help generate 209% more revenue from marketing and a 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads will close (Marketo).
If the sales team isn’t reaching out, then take the initial step and talk to the sales team about what happens with the market leads. Set up a short but regular meeting with sales and share marketing insights that may help sales.
Ask for feedback on marketing-contributed leads. Ask which leads convert in the funnel and which turn into clients. Then, track those leads back to see how they came in to replicate those marketing efforts. Continually work with the sales team to see how marketing leads do in the funnel and to help create content that helps prospects convert along the buyer journey. More clients mean more of a marketing budget and a more significant role for you.
Keep in mind, the sales may have many insights that could also benefit marketing. Interview them and try to build a strong, durable bridge between marketing and sales.
Build a Personal Brand
Building a personal brand does not mean you have to post on every social channel and build a blog; instead, try to use one or two social channels (whatever you have time for) and become an influencer on a certain topic. If that topic is marketing, then that’s great, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have other interests, then become an expert there. Try to become a micro-influencer and gain the attention of other experts in that space. By becoming an industry expert, you’ll show your employer and clients that you can do for them what you did for yourself.
Marketers who want more responsibility in their current position or to apply for a position that seems out of reach can use these tactics to achieve success. Taking a proactive approach is a great way to show employers that you are ready for new opportunities and can handle taking on more tasks. So if you want to boost your marketing career, keep these tips in mind.
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HubSpot, State of Inbound, 2017.
Marketo, Top 10 Findings from the Sales and Marketing Alignment Study, 2013.