Skilling-up: Marketing and Digital Marketing

Last week, we spoke about the need for skilling, and followed that up with starter resources on how to know which skills are relevant for you. You can read this article here. This week we are going to break it down into different functions, and also touch upon how to go about acquiring these skills.
Why Marketing needs skilling-up?
This time our subject is Marketing, which is nothing but the science to creating and communicating products and ideas to your consumers. The consumer of today is not the same as the consumer of even 5 years ago - if you are a marketer in India, it is likely that your target audience has a higher proportion of women today, with a lower average age than used to be 5 years ago, with a tendency to spend more, but also closely evaluate every purchase given the vast amounts of information they have available at the click of a button. And even more than the consumer herself, the route to getting to that consumer has completely transformed, and is still, as we speak, evolving. As the share of time spent on the smartphone gets higher, the digital route to marketing gets more intricate and personalised.
What are the skill-sets needed for new-age Marketing?
We found a couple of good articles for the Marketing folks here and here. The first one highlights the broad areas of expertise a marketing professional must have going forward whereas the second one talks specifically of Digital Marketing. Also bolster your information about Digital Marketing via this article, which though a 2016 one, is extremely well written and brings to light the different options one has in order to excel at new-age Digital Marketing.
Broad trends that have changed Marketing
As with many other functions, there are three broad trends here -
  • Digital first: even if you are an excellent marketer with solid skills such as consumer mapping, market segmentation, insight mining and crafting a promise that is compelling and creative - you would do well to apply a digital lens to these activities - especially to get an understanding of your consumer and the routes to communicate with them
  • Measurable marketing: The onset of Digital Marketing has also made it possible to measure everything in marketing, from the effectiveness of a campaign, to long-term brand objectives and how your advertising impacts those - it’s all down to traffic, viewership, time spent, clicks etc. This is a huge area since brands want to optimise their spends and are hungry for insights and information that tell them where and who to spend on in order to do that
  • Specialisation: Marketing to the new-age audience is so complex that there are well-defined sub-fields today that are distinct from each other. From SEO Specialists to SEM professionals to UX Designers to Content Marketers, the skillsets are diverse - with something for everyone - whether they are data-driven, consumer-driven, or design-driven
These trends unlock a variety of skill-sets, that were not needed a mere 5 years ago, but are extremely critical today. And therein lies the upskilling goal.
How to skill-up in Marketing
Now we come to the most critical part - how should you go about skilling-up in marketing and its new-age progeny, Digital Marketing. Here we will guide you to a few tried and tested techniques to enhance your knowledge as well as a few resources that are available. You must do your own research though which not only includes online search but also asking around and tuning into word of mouth recommendations for the best options to skill-up.
Read this article here, to get started on your skilling journey. It has useful references to people you can start following and tools you can start using. And this one here to understand the challenges you may encounter. This latter article also implies that the demand for digital marketing far outstrips the supply, hence it’s an extremely useful skill to have. To understand what some of the avenues are to get yourself enrolled into a course for Digital Marketing, read this article here. It’s an extremely comprehensive article that talks of courses offered by online platforms/MOOCs and offline institutes as well as executive programs and the like; it also gives some criteria on how to choose between and within these different options.
From our own reading and speaking with some of the women we know who have undergone this skilling journey, we can summarise the various routes to skilling in Digital Marketing as below.
  • Have digital mentors: Identify people who are thought leaders in this space and follow them and their blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc. You can find some starter links here and here.
  • Specialist publications: Subscribe to specialist publications that further enhance your growing understanding of where the industry is going, and will have case studies and such. You can start your search here
  • Online Tutorials: Take baby steps into your skilling journey by looking up online tutorials that might be available for free on platforms like You-Tube. This content spans beginner and advanced courses, 15 minute ones as well as 2 hour long ones, and regional languages.
  • Courses: There are so many good options today whether it be online, offline or executive programs, that it makes 100% sense to enroll yourself for one that suits your needs and budget. Doing a course also gives you the platform to network with practitioners, ask questions to your peer network, and find support groups
  • Workshops, add-on courses: As we mentioned, marketing and digital marketing and constantly evolving, with new technologies and ways to reach your consumers giving birth to new sub-skills. You would do well to have an ALWAYS ON mentality, and be on the lookout for new tools and capabilities you can add to yourself through workshops and add-on courses.  
  • Support groups: Apart from the support network that some MOOCs provide, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn also have many groups and pages for like-minded individuals to interact and share knowledge and best practices on. Make the best use of these resources by participating and in time, maybe even disseminating the knowledge you have build up
  • Practice: Nothing in this whole list is as critical as practising what you learn to gain practitioner knowledge and credibility. Start a blog, create your own website, or your social media pages; impress your interviewers with your content marketing skills if you are marketing professional, or with your hold on data and analytics if you aim to be digital marketer or an SEM professional 
We hope all of this was useful. Take your time to go through this material and more that you yourself dig out, chart out your strategy and then break it down into realistic goals. Even if you spend the next 3 to 6 months understanding, assimilating and skilling yourself to reach a point where you can start applying, that’s great. And remember, in marketing and especially in digital marketing, keep yourself Always On.
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