The 5 Most Important Marketing Skills You Need In 2014

Want to be at the top of your marketing game in 2014? If you’re serious about taking business to the next level, you’re going to have to commit to mastering a range of vital skills. Times have changed, and as a marketer, you have to evolve or get left behind.

Hopefully, this list will help you identify the areas you need to work on so you can overcome your talent shortfalls and become the ultimate marketer. Here are 5 of the most important marketing skills you’ll need to thrive in 2014.

  1. Social media—Social media isn’t going anywhere. Whether you love Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest or hate them, the fact remains that your customers are likely active on one or more of those sites. Brands that know how to leverage social media to connect with their customers can experience a range of benefits, from improved customer loyalty to increased sales. And let’s not forget that many marketers believe that social signals will soon have a significant influence over search engine rankings. So if you haven’t already started mastering social media marketing, now is the time to get serious about it.
  2. Mobile—Forget the idea that mobile marketing is the future. Mobile marketing is the now. With 1 billion smartphones shipped globally last year and 75 percent of Americans admitting to bringing their phones into the bathroom, it’s clear that the people have gone mobile and they love it. Heck, 15 percent of people have even admitted to answering their phones when they’re…well…getting “close” with their significant other. Mobile traffic currently makes up a large percentage of all global internet traffic, and the number of sales made via mobile devices continues to go up by the day. As a marketer, it’s critical that you learn how to market to a mobile audience. You need to find ways to connect with mobile users and meet their expectations.
  3. SEO—Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the face of SEO has changed greatly in recent years. Long gone are the days where you could stuff a bunch of keywords on your page and get top rankings. Long gone are the days where you could acquire mass amounts of back links to your website and soar up the search results. Google continues to tweak its algorithm to make it more and more difficult for marketers to manipulate their rankings. But search engine optimization is still important to having a successful online presence. Mastering SEO needs to be a priority in 2014. Focus on creating great content and better user experiences. And most importantly, stay updated on the latest happenings in the SEO industry as things change very quickly.
  4. Email—It might not be as trendy and sexy as other marketing channels, but email still has a lot to offer. A recent survey found that email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. 40 times! There’s a reason your inbox always seems to have marketing emails from various companies. Those emails work. In part, email marketing is still so effective because of mobile technologies. Nearly 45 percent of all marketing emails are opened on a marketing device these days. Let 2014 be the year that you become a true master of email marketing.
  5. Storytelling—When it comes down to it, great marketing is about telling stories. Whether you’re sending an email, spreading your message on Facebook, or building up your blog, your success will largely depend on your ability to tell a story your target audience can connect with. People remember stories. They add context to your main message.

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Want to tell a great story? Be authentic, entertaining, consistent, incorporate your brand values, and follow the basic formula of storytelling by having a beginning, middle, and end. Find the stories that inspire you and determine what it is that makes them so appealing to you. Find ways to work that into your marketing.

2014 could be your best year yet…that is, if you’re willing to sharpen your skills as a marketer. By focusing on these key areas, you’ll be able to better connect with your target audience to start getting the kind of positive results you’ve always wanted.

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