What's the Signature Skill You Need to Be a Great Marketer?
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I'm a major foodie. Not the cooking type, but definitely the eating and restaurant kind of guy. I did a small stint in the culinary industry years ago where I met dozens and dozens of amazing culinary professionals. While I was just a marketer, I was amazed at the mix of art and science when it comes to preparing food and serving it up. How food all comes together has elements of a scientific formula but with a whole bunch of creativity. How food is prepared on the plate and given to guests also has a combination of science jand creativity.
There is a simple, yet not so simple, test that every culinary student must master in order to become a chef . . . creating an incredible omelette. If you've ever made an omelette, and I have tried only a few times, then you know it's no easy feat. There's a science to the pan you use, the temperature you set, and when you fold in the ingredients with the slowly cooking eggs. Creativity comes with the set of ingredients you choose. Chefs say that making omelettes is one of the hardest things to master.
Marketing is also a mix of art and science. There is certainly a lot of creativity required to position a brand, develop marketing campaigns, and service customers. There is also a lot of science as well, where proven methodologies in data mining, targeting and testing (just to name a few) help insure a brand's success. Throw into the mix the need to manage and lead teams, and you suddenly have a complicated job ahead of you. Marketing is no easy feat.
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I was thinking about the omelette test the other day and tried to equate a similar situation in marketing. What's the one test you can give to someone to see if they can master the finely tuned set of skills required to be successful in marketing?
I'm not sure there is just one. Proficient marketers are highly analytical and are very adept with data, including what to do with it. They are also highly creative and are generally good writers with the ability to think outside the norm. They have the ability to evaluate visual cues that will motivate a customer to behave a certain way. They also know how to create communities around their brand with creative messaging that resonates and reinvent when campaigns aren't working the way they planned.
Not every analytical person is super creative and not every creative person is super analytical. Sure, the experts in the field come a bit closer, but in truth, that's where teamwork comes into play. We assemble marketing teams to make sure we get the perfect mix of art and science to deliver marketing results.
So, if individually it's hard for us marketers to have it all, then what's the one test we can apply to see if someone at least has the chance to be good at marketing with their own skills? What's our omelette?
If you're going to be good in marketing, then you need to possess the ability to understand people. You have to be able to listen to people and understand where they are coming from. You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand how they are living their lives or doing their jobs.
Good marketers can sit across the table from a data analyst and understand what the numbers are saying. They can listen to a creative person describe a campaign idea and understand if it'll connect with their customer. They can follow the lifestyles of their customers and understand how their brand can fit into their lives.
Good leaders can also understand their teams--the challenges that team members face and help them sort through them, even if the work is not within their specific expertise. They can understand team dynamics and sort out best scenarios. They know how to manage many different kinds of people all at the same time, solving conflicts all along the way.
That's the omelette for a career in marketing. That's the benchmark I use when interviewing new candidates for a role on my team. It's the measure I use when helping someone with their performance development and the technique I use when resolving a situation that seems unsolvable.
That's why understanding is the omelette for marketers.
What's the omelette for your business?