3 Skills For the Next Generation of Marketers

BBQAhhh, spring.

Sun’s starting to peak through more regularly. New Yorkers are shedding those winter coats. I even drove by a Queens BBQ last night. For those of you that didn’t grow up in Queens NY, it’s just like a regular BBQ, except it takes place on the sidewalk in front of your house with a portable grill and fold-up table and chairs.

Spring also marks the start of summer intern season. Offices across the world will soon be infiltrated by fresh-faced college grads and under-grads looking to validate their choice of major, obtain some ‘real-world’ experience, get a foot in the door for a long-term gig, make a little money to feed their drinking habits, or all of the above.

For the aspiring marketers within that group, the new reality of our chosen profession has had a profound impact on what’s required to be successful.

Here are three skills I believe the next generation of marketers need to possess.

1. Writing.

Marketers are now expected to engage regularly in social media. Contributing to internal communities helps introduce and sell in ideas. User-generated content will represent an increasingly greater portion of a company’s digital presence, and marketers must help moderate that conversation.

Despite this reality, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find people that know how to write effectively. Perhaps the current state of marketing has simply exposed deficiencies that were always there.

Whatever the reason, the ability to write well and in the context of the channel you’re engaging in will become the price of entry for any successful marketer. That means having the versatility to tell a compelling story through a 140-character tweet, 200 word email, 500-word blog, 12-slide PowerPoint, or 2-minute video.

2. Turning big data into big insights.

In late 2011, IDC estimated that that the amount of data in the world was equivalent to 250 billion HD movies, which would take someone 47 million years to watch (I think I could watch My Cousin Vinny for 47 million years and still find it funny…). YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video every minute. Walmart processes over 1 million customer transactions every hour. By 2020, IDC expects data to be growing 44 times faster than it was in 2009.

Point is, big data is BIG, and it’s getting bigger. Marketers who have the ability to turn this wealth of information into actionable insights will be incredibly successful. Those who can’t find the story amidst the data will find themselves paralyzed by it. Try not to be around these people when their head explodes. It can get messy.

3. Adaptability to change.

Predictions…pfft.  The only certainties are death, taxes, and change. No one can predict what marketing will look like in 5 years, much less in 10 or 20. Good marketing adapts to the world it inhabits. And that world is ever changing, at a pace never before seen.

Marketers must be comfortable with the discomfort that this uncertainty brings. We must constantly question ‘traditional’ approaches to reaching our market. And we must possess the willingness to transform ourselves to keep relevant as the world around us goes left or right.


Despite the introduction, this message isn’t just for the aspiring young marketers starting their careers. I too, would like to be included among the ‘next generation’ of marketers, and have worked hard to enhance my own proficiency in these skills. What it means to be a marketer today is very different from what it meant 10 years ago, or what it will mean in another 5 years.

In that respect, I too am an aspiring marketer. I’ll tell you what it feels like when I get there.

Follow the conversation @Adriel_S or #marketingpfft.

2 thoughts on “3 Skills For the Next Generation of Marketers

  1. Pingback: Listen Up! 5 Enablers for Social Listening Success. | Marketing…pfft!

  2. Pingback: Listen Up! 5 Enablers For Social Listening Success

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