Jan 21, 2019

Read Time IconRead time: 3 mins

5 Must-Have Skills to Thrive in the Modern Marketing Environment

Marketing is a vital part of business, and the numbers reflect this: global advertising spending is projected to reach 557.99 billion US dollars in 2018.1 Of that amount, 40.2% is expected to be spent on digital marketing alone.2

Success in the digital landscape means you need skills that traditional marketers are able to do without. It’s worth exploring the skills that the modern digital marketer should always have at the ready.

These marketing skills are applicable to anyone with an interest or stake in marketing…

These marketing skills are applicable to anyone with an interest or stake in marketing, including those moving into the industry for the first time, those looking to fill gaps in their marketing knowledge, or management interested in gaining a better understanding of the marketing function in their organisation.


Digital marketing presents a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, success does still require a strong creative flair; this has always been true of marketing and advertising. But today, with our ability to gather vast amounts of data and apply them to our marketing efforts, it has become necessary to develop your knowledge of analytics as well. Investing time in platforms such as Google Analytics or Tableau can provide rich rewards in the future.

The ability to make good use of analytics comes with several benefits:

  • Properly used, analytics can inform marketing strategy to make it more effective
  • They provide insights into customer behaviour, allowing for better targeting and engagement
  • They allow the marketing team to quantify the effect of their efforts, and adjust where necessary3

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The search bar is one of the primary ways we interact with information in the modern age – even on social media.4 SEO – done properly – gives you the best chance of ensuring that you rank above your competitors.

The search bar is one of the primary ways we interact with information in the modern age – even on social media.

Why is this important? More than 90% of people never stray beyond the first page of results when they search for something. Indeed, capturing the number one position on a search results page has been shown to get nearly 30% of all traffic on the search page,5 making it an important spot to fight for.

There are several ways to do this (including writing high-quality content), but all these methods are unified and given force by SEO, which allows you to determine which search terms to target, to ensure you get the best bang for your marketing buck.

And, speaking of writing content:

Content Strategy

Marketers tend to target Google fairly heavily in their efforts, and there’s a good reason for this – the venerable search engine has consistently held a global share of searches that hovers near, and often above, 90%.6 This means that marketers pay very close attention to what Google does.”

In recent years, the search engine giant has made a concerted push to make content more organically relevant to searchers. This means businesses need to avoid things like keyword stuffing – which refers to placing search terms into digital content in ways that don’t sound natural – and duplicate content.7

Instead, it’s important to understand and be able to create a content strategy that emphasises the organisation’s authority, by providing value to your consumers.8


Globally, mobile phones accounted for close to half of all internet usage by April 2018; in Asia and Africa, this number was even higher, settling a little above 60%.9 And this number is likely to continue its growth, thanks to the increasing rates of mobile internet penetration across the world.10

This makes mobile users a vital cog in the digital marketing landscape, and it further follows that understanding the particular nuances of mobile marketing is a useful skill for the ambitious marketer about town.

And it is a skill: mobile devices present several challenges to marketers, from smaller screens to data caps, that make it necessary to heavily adapt marketing techniques in order to be successful.


Soft skills are as important as hard, technical skills, and when it comes to digital marketing, few soft skills are more important than adaptability.

Soft skills are as important as hard, technical skills…

This is because the internet evolves, and it does so rapidly: Google is reported to make changes to its search algorithm between 500 and 600 times a year – nearly twice day.11 This is an enormous amount, and even if not every update makes major changes, you’ll still need to be aware of the fact that what worked yesterday in digital marketing might not work today. You need to be able to roll with the punches.

The expertise outlined above certainly aren’t the only useful skills for those interested in, or involved with digital marketing today. But they’ll go a long way towards ensuring your success. If you’re interested in finding out what else there is to master, consider learning more about digital marketing online.

  • 1 (Dec 2017). ‘Global advertising spending from 2010 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)’. Retrieved from Statista.
  • 2 Tan, J. (Mar 2018). ‘Online advertising to account for 44.6% of global ad spend’. Retrieved from Marketing.
  • 3 Bhandari, R, Singer, M, and Van Der Scheer, H. (Jun, 2014). ‘Using marketing analytics to drive superior growth’. Retrieved from McKinsey & Company.
  • 4 DeMers, J. (Jun, 2015). ‘Is Facebook Going To Become The New Google?’ Retrieved from Forbes.
  • 5 Hodgdon, M. (Jul 2015). ‘Value of Organic First-Page Results’. Retrieved from Infront Webworks.
  • 6 (Aug, 2018). ‘Worldwide desktop market share of leading search engines from January 2010 to July 2018’. Retrieved from Statista.
  • 7 Hall, SH. (Jul, 2018). ‘The 10 Essential SEO Ranking Factors You Need to Rank #1 (2018)’. Retrieved from Optinmonster.
  • 8 Steimle, J. (Sep, 2014). ‘What Is Content Marketing?’. Retrieved from Forbes.
  • 9 (Jun, 2018). ‘Mobile internet traffic as percentage of total web traffic in April 2018, by region’. Retrieved from Statista.
  • 10 (Aug, 2015). ‘Mobile phone internet user penetration worldwide from 2014 to 2019’. Retrieved from Statista.
  • 11 Shelley, R. (Oct, 2016). ‘3 things to do after a major Google algorithm update’. Retrieved from Search Engine Land.

Filed under: Career adviceMarketing