High-Potential Marketers Lead with Data

Blog-Post-Graphic_Marketing-Careers--Data-KnowledgeThis is Part 4 of a 4-part blog series highlighting key skills to advance your marketing career.

Which of the following would you rather have on your LinkedIn profile: 

“My team developed content and messaging for a nurture campaign that won industry awards for the quality of writing because the voice and messaging resonated so well with the target persona.”

Or this:

“My team developed content and messaging for a nurture campaign that moved 16% of leads to sales-qualified status – and created 48 new customers, an increase of 33% over the previous year.”

The answer should be obvious to marketers who recognize the evolution of our profession to be data-driven and performance-centric.

Yet you’d be surprised how many marketing orgs still talk in platitudes, relying on fuzzy (if any) metrics that give credence to the notion that the look and feel of a marketing campaign – often judged by perception and not data – is an indicator of success.

That’s an antiquated notion, and it’s dangerous for marketers looking to advance their careers.

Today’s marketers must measure critical campaign elements and put data into practice every day to make your team and individual performance better.

Measurement. Metrics. Whatever you choose to call it, data expertise is the last of four pre-requisite skills (the others are marketing automation, customer and communications expertise) for the Modern Marketing career. Without strong data knowledge, how can you hope to determine the effectiveness of your own work?

So what data knowledge do you need in your marketing portfolio, specifically?

  • The performance indicators that are most “key” to your company and market segment (B2B or B2C)

  • The dials (target audience, marketing channel, messaging, call to action) you can turn to drive and improve results

  • Detailed understanding of your business intelligence or automation systems and the data they provide

  • The ability to spot trends and performance indicators from the data housed in those systems, so you can execute, measure and iterate campaigns for performance

  • Cross-disciplinary performance data that measures pipeline impact, new customers and revenue

I’m not suggesting all marketers have to become data scientists. They don’t. That’s a distinctly different role – and, by the way, one that’s incredibly important to your company (which explains why data scientists are in such demand).

Here’s the difference between a data-savvy marketer and a data scientist: the scientist has the highest level of analytical skills and can crunch all manner of data. The data scientist is more narrowly focused – and doesn’t require the same customer or communications expertise that today’s marketer has in abundance.

The data knowledge that a broadly focused marketer requires supports all of the core Modern Marketing skills. Data knowledge:

  1. Enables marketers to understand the outcomes of marketing automation campaigns and how to use those outcomes to plan and optimize future campaigns

  2. Helps marketers accurately document buyer personas, understand buyer needs and perceptions, and analyze digital body language by personas

  3. Is essential to communications measurement: analyzing performance of messages and trends such as ideal time to deliver messages

  4. Is critical to demonstrate how marketing contributes to creating new customers and revenue streams 

To close out this marketing career blog series, I’ll leave you with this recommendation: when refreshing those LinkedIn profiles to highlight your Modern Marketing skills, lead with data. It’s the results you achieve, your command of the data behind those results and the ability to communicate those results in business terms that will set you apart. You can bet your career on it. 

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