The top 3 skills every marketer needs in 2021 (and they’re not technical!)

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The top 3 skills every marketer needs in 2021 (and they’re not technical!)

Ever since digital marketing took the world by storm, the internet and budding marketers alike have become obsessed with things like SEO, PPC, copywriting, analytics and automation.

And with digital marketing continuing to increase in complexity, it’s no surprise that there is a significant demand for these technical skills.

As marketers, it’s our job to keep up to date with shifting trends and tactics. But with every man and his dog learning how to build a digital marketing campaign, what are the skills that will separate the best marketers from the rest?

The need for soft skills

What’s the use of learning how to write effective copy, if you can’t design a comprehensive content strategy?

Sure, you can build an email funnel, but can you explain how it fits into the wider marketing plan and is the most suitable channel for reaching this particular target audience?

How do these things deliver on the objectives of the business and cleverly communicate its value proposition?

And what’s the difference between a business objective, a marketing objective, and a KPI, anyway?

Those ‘technical’ digital marketing skills you’re reading about on the internet are limited if you can’t pair them with these 3 important soft skills that will get you thinking like a marketer and not just carrying out marketing activities.

top soft skills for a marketer

For instance, great technical skills will help you implement and maximize the results of a marketing campaign, but it’s your soft skills that will drive the most innovative ideas, dictate decisions and define your campaign direction in the first place.

Ironically, it’s the hard ones that are easy to learn and apply; whereas the soft ones are most difficult yet differentiating.

The 3 skills that take marketers from good to great

Marketing is about people – something that may easily be forgotten in a world obsessed with clicks and conversions.

While a good marketer can analyze and optimize, with all the qualifications and certifications to prove it; it’s the great marketers that can emphasize, strategize and persuade. Unfortunately, it’s these skills that are the toughest to measure.

So, if the difference between good and great cannot be quantified by a spreadsheet or qualified by a certification, how can great marketers separate themselves from the rest? And within the competitive digital marketing landscape, how can emerging creatives go about proving their worth?

This proof – of both hard and soft skills – is what we aim to provide at Experlio. For instance, when you graduate from The Marketing Experience Program, you’ll leave with a certificate as evidence of your technical skills AND, even more importantly, an entire portfolio of creative work that demonstrates the 3 soft skills separating you from other marketers.

These are the skills that will drive your creative career – and your campaigns – forward in the long run. If you’re after a sustainable competitive advantage (and what marketer isn’t?!) then these are the skills you need to develop and demonstrate.

1. Creativity

Creativity has been named the single most sought-after skill by both LinkedIn and Forbes. And in the words of Creativity & Communication Author, Warren Berger, it is “the competitive tool that’s going to make a difference. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a large company, or a solo creative person, it’s what makes you stand out.” But how?

Well, according to a global study by Adobe, creativity leads to:

  • 78% better employee productivity
  • 80% more satisfied customers
  • 83% more innovation
  • 73% more financial success

But how can one skill be responsible for such major shifts in business success?

Well, creativity is about solving problems in unique and relevant ways – and the only way to do this is to engage in limitless thinking. You start by broadening the question, rather than diving into the solution, allowing space for new possibilities to present themselves in the process.

So, when we embrace creativity, we redefine what’s possible. Rather than improving the effectiveness of our goal scoring, we move the goalposts entirely. And that is exactly what we seek to achieve at Experlio.

Through our Marketing Experience Program, we view everyone as creative, encouraging individuals to experiment and take ownership of their ideas. In doing so, we stretch the potential of both businesses and students – just like Joanna.

As a first-year university student, Joanna was unsure of how her lecture and theory material could be applied so early on in her career to solving a serious business problem. But having a creative mentor to guide her, Joanna was able to ask questions, make mistakes, find her strengths – all in a pressure-free environment.

And since creativity cannot be bound by limitations, it is this pressure-free environment that is crucial for allowing it to flourish.

Joanna Nava Orozco, Bachelor of Marketing Student at RMIT

“Experlio helped me unlock my creative potential, combining education with hands-on experience in a way that allowed me to try new things in a supportive and no-pressure environment when creating my strategy for a real-life business; a truly unique and real-world focused experience!”

– Joanna Nava Orozco, Bachelor of Marketing Student at RMIT

So, next time you’re trying to raise your own potential, try to experience creativity without limits as we do at Experlio.

2. Empathy

If solving problems in unique and relevant ways – in other words, creativity – is the most important skill, where does one even begin?

Well, there’s a prerequisite for creativity – and it’s called empathy. In fact, according to Yoram Solomon, Founder of Large Scale Creativity and columnist at Inc., empathy forms the basis for success in every other soft skill.

And that’s because great solutions start with a great understanding of the struggle. Ultimately, every business problem boils down to some human struggle – and empathy is about understanding that human and their struggle.

To design a great user experience, you need to know what the user wants.

To sell a product, you need to reference the buyer’s emotional benefit.

To drive the outcome of a meeting, you need to know what motivates the people in the room.

To get the most out of a team, you need to recognize everyone’s perspectives.

To win a negotiation, you need to know how your opponent thinks.

To influence audiences at scale, you need to know their values, attitudes, and behaviors.

Empathy is key to solving every business problem and thus the starting point for the creative process. Without empathy, marketers cannot strategize accordingly, predict the effects of their decisions, inspire followers nor elicit loyalty. 

That’s why, at Experlio, we spend a significant amount of time getting into the consumer’s head. Then when it comes to building a marketing strategy, the solutions flow naturally.

Even as an experienced content creator, The Marketing Experience Program helped Felicia improve significantly by developing her ability to recognize, read and respond to people’s wants and needs.

Felicia Suwignjo, Master of Marketing

“The Marketing Experience Program reminded me that every single strategy should always be based on a deep understanding of consumer behavior and how we can help them realize we can solve their unfulfilled needs. So when I’m forming an integrated marketing strategy, I’m not just fulfilling the business’ objective – I’m also fulfilling the consumer.”

– Felicia Suwignjo, Master of Marketing Graduate at Monash University

So, next time you’re stuck on how to solve an important business problem, remember to go back to the beginning and break down the struggle where it all starts: with a human being.

3. Communication

OK, so you understand the customer. You’re confident you have the best idea. But what’s the use if you can’t communicate it properly?

A great idea ineffectively communicated is just about as useful as no idea at all. So if you’re working in the business of communication, you need to have this down pat.

But all too often, we come across the most talented, brilliant budding marketers – with the best analytical skills and most innovative ideas, but no idea how to pitch them.

How can any business have faith in you selling their brand, when you can’t even sell your own?

While a good marketer may know how to persuade people into buying a product, a great marketer knows how to persuade a business into pursuing their strategy. And most of the time, it is this internal battle that poses the biggest challenge for marketers.

communication skills for marketers

So how do we persuade people into choosing us – whether it be our product, our pitch or our personal brand? Well, this is where we need to combine our knowledge of the audience and our offering into a message that influences decision making.

We need to form our unique value proposition – one of the most transformative topics we cover as part of The Marketing Experience Program. Because when we ask students to apply this concept, we don’t simply cause them to consider the business’ value proposition, but also their own.

Marissa found this to be a great way of getting to know herself as a marketer and decide on her area of expertise.

Marissa Nguygen, Bachelor of Marketing Student at Macquarie University

“Marketing is a broad field, where a newbie like me needs to explore to truly understand who I am and where I want to be. After the program, I knew myself more, learnt how to communicate my personal branding and even made a marketing strategy for myself to join the workforce.”

– Marissa Nguygen, Bachelor of Marketing Student at Macquarie University

This is perhaps the most valuable takeaway that creatives get from completing The Marketing Experience Program: learning not just how to pitch professional brands, but also their own.

Apply these skills today with Experlio

If you’re looking to elevate your marketing skill set and differentiate yourself as one of the great marketers out there, then The Marketing Experience Program is one to consider.

In addition to gaining highly sought-after digital marketing skills, The Program is aimed at developing these soft skills that will be useful for the rest of your career, no matter what field you enter into.

To find out more, visit

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