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Top Marketing Skills and Traits for 2022

7 minute read
Dom Nicastro avatar
What will be the marketing skills that marketing leaders prioritize in 2022? We asked some leaders that exact question.

Companies want marketers with digital skills as evidenced by LinkedIn data on top coveted marketing skills and jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic. Automation, AI and video continues to grow, and that’s reflected in the titles of the top 10 marketing jobs in highest demand. Three out of the top four jobs in demand have digital in them (no shocks here):

  • Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Digital Account Executive
  • Social Media Manager
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Copywriter

“We continue to navigate The Great Reshuffle, a pandemic-fueled talent migration unlike any other that has caused employees across the globe to reevaluate not just where they work, but why and how they work,” said Penry Price, VP, marketing solutions, for LinkedIn. “The Great Reshuffle is challenging marketers to rethink their strategies, maintain relationships, forge new connections and serve relevant messages to customers in the face of this massive talent migration.”

We caught up with some marketing leaders who shared what marketing skills matter to them for 2022 and beyond.

Diversity of Thought

Teresa Barreira, CMO at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient, looks for diversity of thought when hiring marketers. She encourages her team to approach hiring in a unique way and to look outside the industry and function.

“Our team brings greater innovation because of the amazingly diverse backgrounds and experiences our team members collectively bring to the table,” she said. “Hiring different career backgrounds with transferable skills who come from different types of organizations often lends new and different ways of thinking. It’s what makes us successful, collaborative, and brings creative, new, different ways to solve.”

Related Article: 10 Marketing Certifications That Can Help You Earn a Better Salary

Passion for Creativity

Andrew Baum, chief marketing officer of Screencast-O-Matic, said he looks for bright, resourceful, creative and hardworking marketing individuals who can think on their feet. Baum said he’s not looking for specific degrees from a specific institution or necessarily a specific background but rather passion and ability to be creative and the desire to continue to learn and grow.

“In some cases, I find winners who are only seedlings who need an opportunity and nurturing to find success while in other cases, they are mature healthy redwoods who are looking for a new change and environment for continued success,” Baum added.

Ability to Leverage Martech to Achieve Goals

Making marketing technology pay off will be a top priority for marketing skill sets in 2022, according to Tom Kaneshige, chief content officer at the CMO Council. Success, he said, depends highly on cross-functional marketing and IT teams.

“For marketers, this means having a better understanding of technology, such as a baseline knowledge of data, integration, AI, tools capabilities, etc.” Kaneshige said. “They can no longer afford to fall for a martech vendor’s inflated promises. Marketing needs an empowered director of marketing technology on its team.”

Related Article: Why Marketers Need to Obsess Over Net Revenue Retention

Ability to Drive Tangible Outcomes

Alicia Tillman, global chief marketing officer at Capitolis, said she's looking for marketers that can show they drive outcomes for the business. “When positioning your skill sets, make sure you focus on the outcomes you create,” Tillman said. “For example, you may be highly skilled in a variety of marketing technologies, but what goals did your work impact at your company? Did the tech stack drive more leads, improve brand awareness, reach more buyers? I want to hear about outcomes you drove that speak to the skills you possess.”

Soft Skills to Complement Experience

Tillman said she prioritizes the candidate's soft skills that are “super critical and are rarely represented on a resume,” she said. “You may have incredible experience, but if you are lazy or difficult to work with, for example, you won’t be successful,” Tillman said. “Really digging into style, work ethic, how others would describe them, etc., are areas I like to probe on to see how well they will deliver the accountabilities of the role.”

Related Article: I'm Not a Growth Marketer

Learning Opportunities

Understanding Business Objectives

Beyond the functional skillsets of marketing, it’s important that marketers seek to truly understand the business — the products, services, revenue model, competition, total addressable market — among other things, according to Tillman. “Note as a skill set your ‘business savviness’ or ‘financial acumen,’ as this will go a long way in building credibility within the workplace and around your work,” Tillman said.

Leveraging Decision Science and Analytics

The top skills of 2022 will be led by the superset of digital marketing and marketing automation skill sets and specifically include decision science and analytics for any and all digital marketing events and activities, according to Baum. Marketers, he added, need to be able to understand and analyze the data in a timely fashion so that they can make the best decisions for their desired goals at every step of the customer journey.

“In order to efficiently achieve this, they need to put the infrastructure in place to streamline and automate the processes for making the best decisions and properly execute in the most efficient ways,” Baum said. “Companies, both big and small, need to be able to search and discover to create the best ROI with limited marketing resources and continually work to optimize them day in and day out. Therefore the skills associated with these activities will continue to quickly grow in demand.”

Related Article: 4 Skills to Look for When Hiring a Marketing Manager

Technical Aptitude

Baum said he wants marketers to have technical aptitude and know-how to manage and utilize efficiently and effectively the tools needed for success. “I want people who can bring new ideas to fruition and have the data and wherewithal to make them happen and continue to optimize them through their life,” Baum said. “People don’t need to make conjectures when data is easily available. I look for people with technical aptitude and talent that can execute reliably in an organized and efficient manner with open communication, transparency and empathy. These are skills that I also demand of myself.”

Readiness for Hybrid Experiences

There’s been a lot of emphasis — rightly so, Kaneshige said — on digital marketing, especially over the last two years. However, he added, “As talk of a comeback with face-to-face interactions, marketers need to prepare for a hybrid customer experience. With events, for example, marketers may need to think about how their digital and demand teams work together.”

Looking Ahead

In the coming year, buyers will be less focused on buying a specific product and more focused on investing in a brand they trust and believe in, according to LinkedIn’s Price. Because only 5% of buyers are in-market to buy a product at any given time, marketers need to stay relevant with those buyers that are not looking to make a purchase. “Building community, elevating brand awareness, investing in digital marketing tools, and serving buyers with relevant, timely messages,” Price added, “will carry marketers into the New Year and beyond.”

Learning is not a “one-and-done” scenario, Barreira added. Today and in 2022, learning is a continuum. Accepting that, even as leaders, she said, means we all have more learning to do.

“So, the message is about constantly seeking new learnings, gaining new skillsets and taking it a step further to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones to gain new knowledge and skills,” Barreira said. “If we spend every day as ‘learn-it-alls’ versus ‘know-it-alls’ this will come easy. We’ll enter conversations knowing that we have more learning ahead of us and we’ll do it without fear or intimidation.”