21 Aug 2020

Top 3 Skills for Junior Marketers in 2020

Learn the skillsets required to excel in your role and progress your career in marketing during an unprecedented time.

Early career marketers in 2020 are working in strange times - pandemics, lockdowns and economic uncertainty have escalated consumers’ love of contactless digital channels, accelerating the changes wrought across the marketing industry over the last five years.

So what skills will be in demand for marketers as the industry continues escalating data-driven marketing channels, tactics and strategies?

Salesforce Australia Area Vice President Cloud Sales Jo Gaines says there’s no longer talk about digital-first marketing - it’s well and truly here, and the best marketers will be using customer insights to create great customer experience online and offline.

“Whether people are junior or senior doesn’t matter - the same thing is needed for both, and that is curiosity. Curiosity is my key term for 2020 and beyond,” she says.

Artificial intelligence has arrived - those skills will matter

In 2020, Salesforce found 84% of marketers are now using artificial intelligence, up from 29% in 2018 – a whopping 186% increase in adoption.

Artificial intelligence tends to be a catch-all term for machine learning and the deep learning of neural networks. UTS Data Science lecturer - and now NSW Government senior data scientist - Alex Scriven says most people use the term AI, regardless of whether they are talking about machine learning, robotics or optimisation algorithms.

“What you see in the media noted as 'AI' is actually often deep learning. This is because it generally is doing something really cool – see deep fakes, fake people, computer vision,” he says.

But aside from all the AI hype, the reality is that the skills to understand the capabilities around AI and apply it to marketing will remain in hot demand.

“The ability to manage new platforms, and the skills to delve into the data accumulated and use that to create insights is likely to be a more generalised requirement across the market,” says Zuni managing director and ADMA lecturer Mike Zeederberg.

Privacy and compliance officers could be the new black

As governments call Google and Facebook to account, the role of compliance around ever-stricter privacy regulations is likely to become more specialised.

It’s already a separate role in larger businesses, but specialists and consultants who look after regulation compliance around privacy could become a new opportunity around marketing data.

“It is definitely a 'watch this space' kind of area,” Scriven says.

“I see a lot of work will be in making things clearer and more easily understood in the near future, before we get to the utopia many have described around total data portability and control.”

Putting storytelling front and centre in brand-building and marketing

Filtered Media CEO and Beliefonomics author Mark Jones says the quest to continue mining data to get the best insights into customers will continue.

He believes the real advantage won’t just come from finding new insights, but in telling better stories - likely across more channels - to connect consumers to brands.

“Research into behavioural economics shows us that companies which combine customer-centric storytelling with psychological insights outperform peers by 85% in sales and 25% in gross margin,” Jones says.

It’s no secret that the buyer journey for bricks and mortar stores - particularly struggling big brands like Myer or David Jones – so the opportunity is for these brands to establish an emotional connection online.

“That’s where brand salience comes into play. If your brand has established an emotional collection with a brand online - via stories which capture hearts and minds - your product is in a better position,” Jones says.

The Filtered Media CEO says online-only brands are often better positioned to move fast and take more risks with storytelling.

“A brand story will quickly translate to tactical activities and we start to see results flowing through in months, not years,” he says.

Govcom Group head Alun Probert says copywriting - particularly short form copywriting - will be a skill in hot demand over the short term.

“There’s no greater destroyer of trust for any business than going to a website from Google and finding information that is poorly explained or too difficult to follow,” he says.

“Research shows that people seeking answers just give up and pick up the phone, putting more burden on call centres.”

He says the best content designers and websites are using step by step approaches to break complex issues into digestible chunks, supporting text with illustrations, flow charts and videos to help solve queries or complete transactions.

“We’re way too focused on short-term behaviour change and ‘nudge’ strategies in marketing,” Mark Jones says.

“Those approaches are good, but if we want long-term, sustainable businesses with loyal customers, you have to map your storytelling to (people’s) belief systems.”

He argues documented storytelling strategies that inform marketing plans and tactics will become more important as data offers up more detail on customer preferences.

Marketing - like many other industries - is rapidly changing due to technology and economic forces, but for those who are curious and adaptable, it has plenty of opportunities.

“When you talk about the future, you look at possibilities - and the possibilities are endless,” says futurist Dr Richard Hames, founder of The Centre for the Future.

Salesforce’s Gaines says it’s vital that people test out new ideas and processes. “The technology and information exists,” she says. “Find the areas you want to improve in and test and learn to evolve.”

ADMA IQ offers a comprehensive range of courses suitable for entry level marketers. All courses and certificates at ADMA are taught by practicing industry professionals, applying real-world examples. The practical nature of the courses ensure learnings can be applied to the workplace immediately and will equip you with the skills you need to gain a competitive edge in our demanding and progressive industry. 

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