Technology has rapidly transformed the marketing industry. Reuters reports that digital marketing spends in the US and UK alone is it 52 billion. That’s a 44% increase on the previous year.
And the 2018 marketing trends report by McKinley found that while all other marketing functions are saturated there is still a big gap between the demand for digital marketing at 59% with active supply at 19%.
So what does this all mean?
Digital marketing is still a really smart career choice and if you combine the right set of skills you can become one of the most in-demand business professionals in the world.
But remember, as technology is transforming the industry, the jobs to be done and skills required is constantly changing. Especially to stay in the top 1% and really t-shape your digital marketing skill set.
So, in 2020 what skills do you really need to master to stay at the top of your game? Let’s find out!
Just as a heads up, there is a ton of skills relevant to digital marketers, But this article is just going to focus on the ones where we see a real growing demand. And one final thing. The skills I mention in this article assume that you’re taking a best practice approach to data-driven full funnel marketing. As the skills I’ve outlined are really going to empower your growth strategies.
Now, we cover the principles of growth hacking and rapid experimentation in a ton of other articles on our site, so you can go and check them out.
Here’s five skills that are really going to help you up your digital marketing game into 2020 and beyond!
Skill to master number one: Digital Psychology.
Humans are complicated in emotional creatures. In fact, according to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman 95% of our purchase decisions are made subconsciously. So being able to compel and persuade the subconscious mind through online touch points is super powerful for digital marketers. And this is what having a firm grasp of digital psychology can really do.
This relatively new field combines psychology and behavioural economics to better examine our online behaviours. As marketers, we generally have a habit of focusing on what our customers are doing, and sometimes overlook why they’re doing it. That’s what digital psychology is all about. Even if you haven’t actively studied this discipline, you probably would have been exposed to some of its principles.
For example, Amazon uses price anchoring against the recommended retail price to make their prices seem relatively cheap and appealing.
Despite the fact that actually, most of the competition will sell lower than the RRP. Booking.com, who I see as a master of digital psychology, use the principles of loss aversion, social proof and urgency to increase bookings. You’ll also find the principle of need to complete used on most checkout pages and multi-step forms. According to DigitalPsychology.io, we, as humans, don’t like to leave things incomplete.
We’re motivated to finish a set of tasks even with no further reward other than the satisfaction of completing them. Looking to know more about digital psychology and its principles? And need some resources to help? As a start I would 100% check out DigitalPsychology.io. Curated by Daniel Stefanovic, it’s a free library covering digital psychology principles with examples that help you enhance the customer experience. I would also check out the book How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market by Gerald Zaltman. This promises to help you unlock the hidden 95% of your customer’s mind.
Finally, I would recommend diving into Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions. Digital psychology can help you enhance the customer experience and this is a term that’s being used more frequently by business and marketing professionals, and brings me nicely onto
Skill number 2: Customer Experience or CX for short.
This has been referred to as the only channel a business truly owns. As markets become more and more saturated and consumer choice becomes more abundant, it really is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. As this Oracle report found, 86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience and 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
Marketers in the digital age need to shift their focus from selling products to selling experiences, and ensuring that those experiences are great every touchpoint. Now, just to clarify, I know CX sounds a lot like UX, right?
There is overlap, but whereas UX focuses on the experience a user has with a specific product, service or tool, CX takes a holistic view of all the interactions that a user has with a brand. This means that every area of your business will impact the customer experience. from online adverts, to sales representatives, to suppliers, to delivery, to customer service and more.
But recently customer experience is being more frequently owned and championed by the marketing department as it’s so crucial to brand equity. In fact, according to Accenture 86% of B2B CMOS reported that they consider customer experience to be a very important parameter. So gaining a solid grasp of customer experience marketing is crucial to staying at the top of your digital marketing game. Your customer’s experience must be as consistent, as delightful and as frictionless as possible, at every stage of the buyer journey, and it should also be hyper-personalised. Hyper-personalisation is a technique that combines behavioural and real-time data extracted from multiple channels and touch points to deliver a highly relevant experience to your end user.
Great customer experience is going to fuel your growth engine as it helps increase customer loyalty, repeat purchase, word-of-mouth and positive social proof. Any growth strategies you put in place could be doomed to fail if CX is not a major part of it. Want to learn more? Hotjar actually has a really nice guide on customer experience, as well as a trends and stats report for 2019. To empower your digital customer experience, I would also encourage you to check out Google’s research into micro moments. As they found, today’s battle for hearts, minds and dollars is won or lost in micro moments. These are intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire customer journey.
Described as an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need-to-know, go, do, or buy. You can also check out these books: Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer, and The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi. Time to get a bit more technical with
Skill number 3: Front-End Code.
The DIY t-shaped marketer should really understand some of the languages that run our digital world and a great place to start is by learning front-end code. For sure, we can get away without knowing to code with the abundance of code-free tooling options, but it definitely helps. I look at it a bit like this: you can use Google Translate to get by in different countries with a language, but it’s going to be much more effective if you actually know the language. I know in my own experience, and I’m sure some of you would have faced the same challenges, a big blocker to some digital projects can be when requests have to be made with the development team. They’re often super busy and you’re small alignment changes or changes to form design will probably be way down on the priority list.
It’s a highly attractive skill to have on a digital marketing resume because it means you can be more agile and work faster on digital projects. It’s great for things like making bespoke changes to landing pages built with builders, gaining a better understanding of how things like tracking codes and pixels work, not becoming a slave to templates, by that I mean you can make custom changes to things like email campaigns, and it’s also going to allow you to start testing faster and explore more tools-based marketing options.
You can even do a bit of competitive intelligence with the Inspect tool on Google Chrome. You can have a look at how your competitors’ websites are set up and even do a bit of keyword snooping by running a meta data inspection.
Coding schools are abundant, but some of my favourites are W3Schools, Code Academy and Treehouse, which is actually where I learnt front-end code, myself. Okay, moving on to digital marketing
Skill number 4: Video Marketing.
Video marketing is fast becoming the most powerful content marketing format.
According to HubSpot, 87% of businesses are now using video for marketing. And Social Media Today found that 90% of consumers claim that a video will help them make a purchasing decision. To stay at the top of your digital marketing game you really should gain a solid understanding of how to utilise video and implement a solid video marketing strategy.
Video marketing is great for things like increasing social engagement, reach and shares, building authority and thought leadership, improving SEO and converting and increasing sales.
Video marketing tools are becoming increasingly abundant accessible and powerful. Tools like Vidyard, Vimeo and 23 help add powerful features to videos and improve your tracking and analysis. Think things like embedded forms for direct lead-gen, Personalisation of video content and interactive videos.
HubSpot and Vidyard also have some nice video marketing guides and I’d also highly recommend you follow 23 and check out their blog and video marketing resources. Ok, rounding off with digital marketing
Skill number 5: Digital Analytics.
In an age of data-driven marketing, digital marketers without experience of digital analytics will soon become irrelevant.
Avinash Kaushik, author and digital marketing evangelist for Google defines digital analytics as the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and the competition to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers and potential customers have which translates to your desired outcomes. We talked about the “why” of customer behaviour earlier and the importance of digital psychology, but digital analytics is about the “what”, and you really need to understand both.
It helps you make more effective and data-driven decisions and make predictions on when and where your customers might appear in the buying journey. It drives continuous improvement.
Digital analytics can help you identify things like which digital touchpoints are effective and which can be improved, the customer acquisition cost achieved for different online channels and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and content. Now, the most common, popular and powerful tool for digital analytics is Google Analytics
So I’d start by ensuring you master that. Now there’s a million and one courses on Google Analytics out there, all promising different things, but I’d maybe encourage you to actually do the ones by Google themselves. The Google Analytics Academy offers courses on Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Data Studio, and 360 for all experience levels.
And through Coursera, the University of Illinois is also offering courses in digital analytics for marketing professionals both in theory and in practice.
So there you have it, five digital marketing skills you should learn in order to stay at the top of your digital marketing game in 2020 and beyond. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.