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Remember the good old days when getting a job just required years of experience or a trusty education to nail you the best positions in your chosen industry? Things were simple then, with clearly defined skills that made sense to the average HR person, not to mention to the people applying for the jobs.

However, today’s digital influences and technologies are changing the way we look at skills. A new landscape now dictates a new set of skills affectionately referred to as “soft skills.” In fact, soft skills have become a more valued skill set when it comes to digital marketing professionals. So just what are these high demand soft skills and what is the ideal mindset employers value in the modern marketer? Let’s take a look.

1. Hard versus Soft Skills: Who Wins?

The truth of the matter is that hard and soft skills work alongside each other to create a completely symbiotic set of qualifications the modern marketer needs.

For a while, there was a strong pull towards technical skills as digital marketing began to grow. These skills included understanding how to work social media platforms, figuring out effective SEO tactics (white hat only please), and of course, understanding the cryptic world of PPC.

However, as content started to influence digital marketing more and more, the hard skills from the technical side of the industry became less important. Instead, a new string of skills began to dominate the most effective digital marketers’ talents including:
  • Creativity: It is no longer enough to know how to work technology, digital marketers are now required to have a more creative mindset that will allow them to contribute new ideas and effectively interpret situations to better overcome the many challenges of modern marketing. This also means having a creative spirit that can turn a phrase with a keen understanding of the power of the well-written word.
  • Resourcefulness: Analytic minds thrive when they are more creative. Resourcefulness adds to this creative mindset allowing people to become more forward-thinking in their approach to access and use accurate sources of data for in-depth analysis that is more informed and insightful.
  • Adaptability: Today’s marketer never knows what might be coming down the pike and therefore the ability to make quick changes and adapt to new demands is a must. This is both for marketing strategies and marketing tactics.
  • Collaboration: The new mindset of the marketer has to understand the importance of collaboration. Many departments now work together to gain revenue, market share and the almighty followers who help generate leads. From sales to R&D and advertising to high-level executives, buy-in, teamwork, and shared insight are the new name of the game.
  • Leadership: Thought leaders must exist within organizations to lead effectively and inspire peers with new insights, shared valuable experiences and a hunger for innovation.

2. Opportunities and Challenges

These changes to the industry offer opportunities for growth and learning. They also provide challenges to marketing professionals who find themselves lacking the skills required, but then don’t know how to improve.

As well, these soft skills are less tangible and cannot necessarily be learned, especially if it’s being an intuitive writer or having a more creative mind. This calls for people who are self-motivated learners with a hunger to adapt their skills to work more effectively in a changing environment.

The opportunity you must embrace today is learning itself, as it allows you to be better equipped to focus on developing your own soft skills. Developing appreciation for the creative process and learning to integrate this new way of thinking into your strategy will allow you to become more adaptable. This adaptability will, in turn, allow you to embrace out of the box thinking to attack digital marketing with a more curious view.
3. The Skill of Being Human

AI provides a valuable tool to marketers which is data. It can target data, collect data and sort data. However, no matter how sophisticated new technology becomes, it is human instinct and creative thinking by human minds that harness that information and use it to target customers. Humans come up with the content and digital marketing strategy that will create trust, nurture loyalty and earn brand love.

Emotion is needed to resonate with the prospects AI might send a sales team. Modern marketers have to learn to trust their instincts and find ways to leverage everything AI sends them. It is leveraging emotions to find value in data and personalize it to reach customers in meaningful ways.

Technical skills change too frequently to hold value any more. Instead, soft skills have a longer life cycle keeping adaptability and learning at the top of the soft skills list. 

4. Remaining Relevant

Most of us secretly wonder what the future will bring. How can we remain relevant in a world where technology changes at the drop of a hat? What will the skill set of tomorrow look like?

According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report of the 20 fastest growing jobs in 2018, the top skills required to fill them included Marketing, Management, Sales, and Communication. This might come as a surprise. However, although technology might make mundane tasks redundant, it cannot replace soft skills.

The ideal mindset of a modern marketer requires the soft skills that can’t be automated. This is supported by LinkedIn’s data which listed the same soft skills we have mentioned again and again including creativity, persuasion, and adaptability. These are human qualities that have transitioned into skills.

Although science has shown that machines can learn, they can't combine technical and emotional skills. This adaptability allows us to be empathetic, emotional, and logical, using each of these skills to be results driven by knowing when and how to use each. Learning in hand with human emotion and marketing instincts create a super marketer who will always remain relevant and never become redundant.


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