Update: 2017 has arrived and there is additional information available to enhance your marketing skills.
2017’s right around the corner. The past year has been a chaotic one for marketers; a trend that has no signs of letting up.
Many marketing professionals will have the opportunity to secure their place at their current company, grow their careers, or move to another high-paying job in the coming year. As marketing and advertising recruiters, we recommend you keep your current skills sharp–and add a few new ones that are in high demand but low supply.
Make a resolution in the coming year to round out your marketing stack and make yourself even more desirable to employers. Need somewhere to start? Try one of these hot emerging skills that employers want but the marketing workforce hasn’t yet fully adopted:
1. Data Presentation
Data collection, management and analytics have been some of the hottest topics in marketing for some time, though as marketing analytics recruiters we know there remains a huge talent gap in this field.
But everyone knows that already, and marketers in all fields are slowly acquiring the relevant skills to process and interpret data.
Make the Leap: How to Exploit the Talent Gap to Grow Your Marketing Career
The next step is the ability to translate that information and display it in a way that makes immediate, meaningful sense to peers, management, and others.
For the first time ever, data presentation has broken LinkedIn’s list of skills in highest demand, coming in just a few spots behind actual data mining and statistical analysis skills.
As marketing has become more and more collaborative, it’s never been more important to be able to share information in a clear, concise manner with other business pillars it relies on: product, R&D, sales, customer service, etc. And accountability for ROI is at an all-time high; marketers are increasingly expected to prove their value and demonstrate their productivity. In both cases, strong data visualization skills are incredibly valuable.
The good news here is that this is something that should come fairly naturally to many marketers. Conveying a key point in a concise, aesthetically appealing and compelling manner is marketing 101. You just need to apply those classic marketing principles to your new analytics skills.
2. Omnichannel Native: What Advertising Recruiters Want
General ad blindness is growing, and adoption of ad blockers online continues at a steady pace. It’s getting harder and harder to get the attention of consumers through traditional advertising channels. Native advertising has proven to be one avenue to a way to consistently share a message with a target audience.
The job of a native advertiser was once (very briefly) straightforward: work with publications (mostly online) to place advertisements that are relevant to the readers and resemble the content typically published by that organization.
It has since gotten much more complex as more and more media have emerged and more channels for native placements have become standardized. Native advertising is now available on nearly any channel imaginable, from traditional radio and print media to social networks, podcasts, and influencer outlets. Advertising recruiters want professionals comfortable with chasing native ROI through any channel necessary.
Finding the best bang for your buck is a challenging, but essential, part of this skill. Publishers have gotten wise to how valuable native advertising can be, and many of have their own unique process and offerings available. Comfort with content development and optimization is also extremely important in finding success in the native environment of the near future.
Finally, developing relationships with influencers, who often don’t have a formal ad placement process like major publishers do, is key for a holistic native strategy. That requires a unique mix of people skills, social media savviness, endorsement deal best practices, and a healthy understanding of moral and legal disclosure guidelines.
Update: Your Digital Talent Formula for Tackling Ad Blocking Head-On
Ad blocking has created challenges for marketers but still there are ways to actively reach your audience.
Some 38% of global internet users employ ad blocking of some kind, taking proactive steps to put a barrier between themselves and the businesses trying to reach them through online advertising. This is a momentous trend that’s gaining steam with users on desktop and mobile alike, blocking $22 billion in ads last year and showing no signs of slowing down soon. This popular tech is threatening the ROI of traditional web advertising strategies and making consumer engagement and e-commerce more difficult. But innovative businesses with the right talent available should be able to endure this trend and even find new opportunities to capture customers’ attention and get ahead of the competition. Check out our posts to learn what you can do to tackle ad blocking.
3. Site Speed Tuner
SEO is back with a vengeance. SEO staffing should now operate with a particular focus on page load times and overall site speed. A fast, responsive site is becoming more and more appealing to search engines and users alike, especially as more and more web traffic goes mobile–where bandwidth and data are at a premium.
A fast-loading site not only improves rankings but improves bounce rate and conversions. There are a lot of factors that influence it, from your CMS and back-end plugins to the foundational code base of your site to the quantity and quality of the content on it. Trimming load times requires a combination of web design understanding, mobile development skills, coding aptitude, and more.
You need to ensure that if your site serves ads, they’re light and unintrusive–not bandwidth hogs. Adopting Accelerated Mobile Pages and lazy loading capabilities, while difficult, can be massively helpful on mobile SERPs. And you may want to look into enabling implementing lazy loading when appropriate.
Update: 3 Quick SEO Wins You Can Earn In 2017 with Search Marketing Staffing
A fast loading site is essential to your website but mobile is also equally significant to your SEO efforts.
Early last year Google announced an open-source initiative that allows site managers to serve super-light versions of web pages on mobile devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) use about 1/8th the data of their full desktop counterparts, which not only makes them kinder to those with limited cell plans, but also helps them load much faster. That provides a better user experience for mobile customers and favorable positions in the SERPs. Click here for 3 quick wins you can gain from SEO.
4. Chat Bot Development
While not a brand new technology, modern chat bots have recently caught the eye of marketing departments thanks to new developments in AI that have dramatically improved their sophistication and capabilities. A well-designed and supported chat bot has numerous potential marketing applications: customer service and support, placing orders and walking users them through your ecommerce process, collecting valuable data and proving an always-on line for consumer feedback resource. An entertaining or useful bot can be an incredibly engaging piece of content that keeps your audience coming back again and again to engage directly with your brand.
Beep Boop! What Marketers Need to Know about Chat Bots
You don’t have to be a coding wizard to work on refining a great chat bot (though that certainly helps). Instead, you can focus on aspects that have traditionally been more under the marketer’s domain: creative communication, user experience design, social integration, etc.
Update: When, Why and How to Add Chat Bot Developers to Your Marketing Team
The marketing world is experiencing a robot invasion. Forward-looking brands with access to the right marketing technology staffing have the opportunity to take advantage of their entry to engage consumers and reap tremendous ROI. It’s understandable why businesses of all kinds are taking a closer look at this evolving technology. But before you consider adding a chat bot to your suite of marketing tools, it’s important to understand their potential value for your business, and what you’ll need to do to get one. Click here to see if chat bots will be a benefit to your business.
5. Social Pioneer
The social landscape is constantly evolving, and the preferred networks for consumers to seek out engagement and stories is changing fast.
Video-sharing network Vine, which enjoyed a brief but immensely powerful period of popularity, died off this year. The influence of social juggernaut Twitter, once the darling of marketers and the online community as a whole, may be fading. Facebook is going strong, but also making drastic changes to its advertising options and the way it shared published content.
While some networks are seeing tepid growth, others are rising to take their place. Right now, and perhaps through much of 2017, the image-focused networks of Instagram and Snapchat are rising to prominence. Marketers would be wise to turn their focus there for the time being and adapt their story-telling strategy accordingly. But more importantly, you should learn from their lesson; no social network is bulletproof, and you never know when “the next big thing” will come along to capture the hearts and imaginations of web users. Don’t get complacent; look forward, and reap the benefits of being an early adopter of the next social disruptor.