What Makes Great Marketers Great?

The skills of great marketers are many, but are primarily rooted in an understanding of consumer or human behavior and all of its complexities. Marketing is a challenging field of endeavor because, while there are certain principles and tenets of practice that are widely accepted, there are also many exceptions that challenge the rules. I’ve been a marketer, I’ve worked with marketers, I’ve hired marketers–both as staff people and as external consultants or vendors. I’ve worked with both effective and not so effective marketers. What does it take to join the ranks of the effective marketers?  In my opinion, those who will be most effective in marketing-related positions are those who:

  • Welcome ambiguity. Things change. Often. Rules changes. Methods change. Needs change. Successful marketers, rather than becoming frustrated with a changing environment that can quickly make the successes of today irrelevant or outdated, embrace the challenges that such uncertainty involves.
  • Are consciously and constantly aware of the environment in which they operate, taking more of an external than internal, view. You, of course, know what you have to sell—intimately. But, that’s not enough. This knowledge is worthless without an equal or greater understanding of the competitive, social, economic and cultural environments that are changing around you every day. Successful marketers are well-read and well-informed. They watch the news. They read magazines and journals from a variety of fields and areas of interest. They interact with others –inside their organization and out; inside the industry in which they work and out; inside their age and demographic boundaries and out.
  • Are analytical. Successful marketers are comfortable – even enamored – with data. They peruse sales data, market share data, census data and draw conclusions from these various pieces of information that are pertinent to the organization’s marketing efforts. They don’t accept the “easy answers” or take statements at face value. They constantly question and challenge and search for “truth.”
  • Ask “why?” Why are we introducing this new service? Why does our billing cycle work this way? Why do we think clients will value these attributes of our firm’s services? Why do our prospective clients value what our competitors have to offer more than what we have to offer? And on and on. Marketers are curious.

Are marketers creative? Certainly. But creativity isn’t coming up with clever sales slogans, or developing eye-catching graphic design. Creativity involves drawing conclusions from a broad array of information sources and implementing strategies and tactics based on those conclusions that generate results. Marketing is about far more than simply “being creative.”

Look around you? Are you surrounded by great marketers?

Recommended Books:

All Marketers are Liars – Seth Godin

The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America – Marc Levinson

Related Blog Posts:

Markets Can’t Really Tell Us How They’re Influenced

Creating a Competitive Positioning Matrix

Are the 4 P’s Still Relevant?

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