Marketing isn’t always something that can be learned in school and some of the best marketers and content specialists come equipped with communications or journalism backgrounds or no writing background at all. Regardless of how you got started as a marketer, there are five essential must-have’s in order to be successful. If you’re lucky you could end up one of the best paid 10-percent in the field, averaging $160,810 per year.
How well do we really know our customers? According to a study by Ayaz Nanji, 64-percent of B2B marketers surveyed say they understand customers’ past purchase behaviors, but less than half have a strong knowledge of their customers’ demographic makeup. The study goes on to show that in truth most B2B marketers really don’t understand their customers like they should.
So how do we fix this?
In B2B marketing one of the biggest issues marketers face when dealing with clients is not having a good understanding of the client: who the client is, what the client does and the tone or message the client wishes to use. To be successful both as a marketer and in your clients’ marketing strategies, it’s essential to take the time to communicate and learn everything you can about the client and their company or industry.
Discovery meetings, first meetings with clients, should be face-to-face and unrushed. Take the time to talk with your client. Get to know who they are, what they like and what they don’t like. Before the meeting, research a client’s website, current social, content and advertising strategies and take notes with what works, what doesn’t work, why and suggestions for going forward. Not only will your client appreciate you taking the time to learn who they are and what they currently have in place, but they will feel much more confident in your ability to jump on board as captain of their content ship.
Technology is constantly changing and for marketers that means learning new software and programs on a rolling basis. Marketers need to be up-to-date with the latest tools for analytics, SEO, keyword research, content analysis, PPC and content creation. Different clients have different needs. A marketer that is able to adapt to changing tides and different vessels is a well-desired and highly successful individual.
The greatest fault a marketer can have is to be resilient to the future, for in stubbornly sticking to the ye-olde-fashioned ways of whitepapers and ignoring the versatile worlds of Twitter and Instagram, the client gets hurt and analytical results begin to sink. Some clients obviously will do better on certain outlets than others and whitepapers may still produce results for some, but the key here is adapting content to what’s trending for each client’s demographic. Sites like Forbes or MarketingProfs are great ways to stay aware of what’s new in marketing and SEO.
And finally, clients needs change just like the technology marketers use, so being able to chart a new course for changing demographics, products, tone, style and messages or goals is essential. A good marketer is one who can craft content for anyone and anything without uncertainty or pause. Again, communication is key, so if you take the time to know your client, there should be no issue altering the strategy.
I think we can all agree that if you aren’t creative, your clients’ traffic is destined to drown. Marketing doesn’t work if all you know is the business side, for SEO is a key player in just about every business goal these days. SEO is what propels your sales, ROIs, web presence and customer awareness.
Content needs to always be fresh, and having a marketer that is creative, unique and able to brainstorm at a moments notice gives clients a leg up on their competitors. And fresh doesn’t always have to mean new, so creativity can also mean updating, reformatting or innovating. Google scores content, and the fresher it is, the better your score. Cyrus Shepard, Senior Content Astronaut at MOZ in Seattle, WA, takes a look at 10 ways fresh content can influence rankings in “Freshness Factor”.
New or updated, content needs to exciting, informative and useful. In the end, creativity is a must!
Confidence & Humility
As a marketer, you will eventually in your career encounter some rocky waters, a.k.a. a client that makes your job difficult. They will complain, yell, fight you on strategies and decisions, until finally, you look at the dark circles under your eyes in the mirror and ask yourself “Do I even know what I’m doing?”
Yes, you do! Marketers need to remember that they get hired for a reason, for their expertise in using content and SEO to drive sales and results for all types of businesses. If our clients knew how to market their products and services, we would all be out of job and marketing would be as inconsequential as a degree in liberal arts (Don’t believe us? Check out the Forbes link to see their Top 10 Worst College Majors). Be confident in your abilities, but know when to respect when someone else has a better point and humbly step back.
In the end, there will always be difficult clients, so finding a happy middle ground where you can both work amicably and successfully together is key. But, if clients’ comments and decisions begin to make you doubt yourself, stop, take a breath and look at what’s really going on. Often times a client may simply not understand why you do something one way when they think another is better. Take the time to put together a clear explanation. Tell or show the client what you do, why you do it and the results that will hopefully or have already come about. Practice patience, but keep your self-confidence. Simply arguing with a client about why their way isn’t the right way for marketing purposes doesn’t do anything more than build animosity and distrust, and down the line, a canceled contract.