Essential Traits for Successful Marketers
- Daring. Comfort and growth can’t coexist. We often have to push ourselves and dive in when there is no proven method or guaranteed outcome. Taking these kinds of risks leads to opportunity. We should regularly challenge the status quo, as well as test what is working and what is not. Through analysis we can adjust and ensure marketing is working for the target audiences.
Dove got very positive reactions when the company chose to use normal, average women to advertise their products rather than the overly-perfect models or actresses we have come to expect.
- Prepared. We’d all love to have a buttoned-up calendar of daily, weekly and monthly activities, editorial content, trade shows, sales presentations to support and more. That’s just not reality in marketing. We can work toward that goal that but news events happen, sales people get meetings, clients leave us, competitors emerge and so on. We have to plan thoroughly but develop all kinds of contingency plans because they will be needed sooner or later.
This is a marketing competition that was waged in outdoor advertising that demonstrates quick reactions between Audi and BMW.
- Focused. Marketers need to understand their target market and be completely committed to communicating in the methods and channels that work for them. Build detailed client personas to ensure you can meet their needs and desires.
In this ad, belVita speaks to the love (and heartbreaks) of the game that avid golfers have, showing how it provides all the energy needed to play a long round.
- Relationship-oriented. Marketing serves internal customers and is dependent on a wide variety of other departments, such as IT, finance, customer service, etc. We rely on people at all levels from the receptionist who is the face of our company to the CEO who speaks for it. Strong marketers leverage the best attributes of others and work with outside providers effectively. A collaborative style fuels brand growth.
- Attentive. When I’m trying to get feedback on my projects, I have found it is important to ask questions multiple ways because people don’t necessarily use the same terms or communicate so that I understand the first time. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to “talk about these features more digitally”. Not sure how to proceed, I supplied three different options and let my colleague choose. You also have to actively probe and make suggestions to come to agreement. When I proposed a new website design and messaging, I got a one line email back that did not make sense to me. A clarifying phone conversation worked wonders.
- Open-minded. Everybody thinks they can do marketing, so it’s been my experience that coworkers freely suggest all sorts of “improvements” to projects and branding. While we might not like what we hear all the time, the best marketers need to take feedback, evaluate it objectively and use whatever we can. Even a seemingly ridiculous comment can inspire brilliance. I have gotten a wealth of idea from new employees, who did not yet know much about our business but had fresh perspectives that provided valuable insight.
Starbucks realizes the power of ideas and invited people to share, vote, discuss and see.
- Fast-thinking. Effective marketers don’t freak out when something changes. They look for the opportunities in these situations. A treasured employee is leaving, a new product comes on the market that will be disruptive or an important supplier changes their offering—whatever happens, we draw on past experiences to handle difficult and/or high-pressure situations.
Recently, Google released Hummingbird. The new algorithm represents the biggest change to Google’s search functionality in ten years. This shift in focus comes as a result of some very clear trends. Mobile is the future, so Google should be attuned to answering search queries in the most mobile-friendly way. In addition, people tend to be conversational with their mobile searches (e.g., “Where can I buy cowboy boots in Elgin, Illinois?”). That’s why the future of Google search is mobile-focused and question-oriented.
Smart marketers responded by doing the following:
- Leading. There are times when we have the knowledge and experience to complete projects successfully and it is important to know when we should take the lead. Put focus and energy into being a leader people can feel proud of and want to follow. Lead with a combination of imagination and practical experience.
- Lucky. Not everything in marketing is scientific. There is a healthy dose of intuition and good timing involved (on top of a foundation of education, experience and hard work, of course). We can do everything possible to make a campaign successful but we can never know if or when it will go viral.
Evian had one of the first YouTube exclusive ad campaigns with “Roller Babies” in 2008 and could not have predicted the results. It featured babies doing tricks on roller skates in the park and was viewed 250 million times, making it the most viewed online ad ever.
Rather than figure out how we achieve an ideal state in our profession, marketers need to continually work to refine our ability to adapt to the current and future set of challenges. The best way to do this is to surround ourselves with people that have these qualities. We have to hire team members and providers with the right attitudes rather than specific experiences and skills. Marketing is dynamic and we must be able to both respond and lead.