Marketing technologists walk a fine line between two mainstays of modern business: marketing and information technology (IT). It is a marketing technologist’s job to create, manage, and optimize a brand’s marketing technologies (MarTech). In a Harvard Business Review article, the authors describe the job as a combination of strategist, creative director, technology leader, and teacher. This may sound like a tall order, but it’s an accurate representation of everything a good MarTech professional must possess. The five most important soft skills of any marketing technologist can lend a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in this position.
1. Lifelong Learner
The MarTech industry is in a constant state of change. As such, professionals absolutely must engage in continuing education. Lifelong learners will excel as marketing technologists, as this job constantly challenges professionals and requires knowledge of the latest advances in technology and marketing. Marketing technologists should attend conferences, enroll in online courses, and stay savvy about the latest news in the field. Couple this with the need to have a deep understanding of data, marketing, and analytics and you have a profession which depends on lifelong learning.
If a marketing technology professional does not continuously build his or her skill set, the industry will leave that person behind. MarTech moves too quickly for people who aren’t self-starters or enthusiastic learners to keep up. That said, there are resources MarTech pros can use to learn new things and apply these skills to current projects. It is up to the professional to take control of his or her own learning and development. The most successful marketing technologists don’t wait for their employers to suggest learning a new skill – they proactively seek constant self-improvement and skill-building.
2. Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is one aspect of MarTech that should come naturally to marketing professionals. It goes hand-in-hand with the desire for lifelong learning and improvement. Professionals who are constantly identifying the latest trends, learning new skills, and gaining competencies should want to bring this knowledge back to their teams and companies. They should want their companies to stay on top of evolving trends, and not be left behind. Thought leadership is necessary to spark the need to progress within the company, not just within the individual.
Good marketing technologists are not lone wolves. They understand the importance of the pack. They use their skills and abilities to make a positive impact on the company’s bottom line, not just for personal gain. The task of translating new knowledge into a company wide change takes natural thought leadership skills. The professional must have the initiative to get out into the world, glean new information, and pass findings onto others within the company. Marketing technologists are integral parts of a modern business, but only if they participate as one member of a team, not as isolated entities.
3. Project Management Skills
When hiring a marketing technologist, look for experience overseeing projects from initial planning to fruition. Project management is going to be an extremely important skill for your MarTech professional to possess. This field depends on the ability to organize, plan, and execute highly complex digital projects. Marketing technologists must have the proven ability to complete a project from the visualization and brainstorming phases to the finished product. They must be able to manage multiple competing priorities simultaneously while adhering to a deadline. Projects this position might be in charge of include:
- Aligning marketing technology strategies with business goals
- Introducing new technologies into the marketing stack
- Changing the usage or configuration of existing marketing platforms
- Managing training and adoption of marketing technology solutions
- Supporting innovation in marketing and customer experience as part of larger digital business transformation
Digital initiatives are often large-scale projects that need strong, organized, confident leadership. MarTech professionals should have plenty of experience captaining major digital projects before taking the job; otherwise, they could find themselves in over their heads. There are often multiple MarTech projects underway at the same time – this could be a recipe for disaster if this employee doesn’t have exceptional project management and prioritization skills. They should be able to collaborate with other team members for optimal results.
4. Communication Skills
Project Management brings us to the next soft skill for marketing technologists – communication skills. This job position requires a significant amount of communicating with other people on the team, explaining highly complex digital and tech topics, presenting data and research to non-tech-oriented audiences, and describing the business benefits of a certain project in terms that everyone can understand. A marketing technologist will need strong writing, public speaking, and presentation skills.
5. Cross-Functional Partnerships
Finally, a MarTech professional must possess the ability to establish and maintain cross-functional partnerships with other departments within a company. Marketing technology is not a one-department endeavor. In fact, Marketing Technology sits in different teams depending on the organization and usually does not exist as a stand alone department at all. It requires seamless collaboration and an enormous team effort, at times from multiple departments. Several different areas of a single business will need to coordinate and buy into the project – all under the marketing technologist’s jurisdiction. In addition to the Marketing and IT departments, Creative Services, HR, Legal, and business unit leaders and executive-level stakeholders may all play a role in a single digital project.
Any marketing technologist who wishes to succeed in the industry must be adept at building relationships within and outside a company. They must collaborate with cross-functional teams to execute large and small projects. This is why the other soft skills – lifelong learning, thought leadership, project management, and communication – are so important.
Whether you’re looking to consult with a Marketing Technologist in your area, or in search of a full-time hire for your marketing department, we can help. Contact us or call (855) 848-8568 today.