Written by: Samriddh Dasgupta
About the author: Ex-Vice President Marketing at Akiva | Ex-TIL | Ex-Aakash Digital | Ex-HCL Tech | 17 yrs in Advertising & Marketing
The core principle of Marketing comes from an intersection of science + art + human behaviour. As a lot of you will be starting or planning to accelerate your marketing careers, I am happy to share 5 essential skills that have helped me to be a successful marketer.
Spend time with people. Walk around a market. Talk to your cab driver. Sit silently in a marketplace and see what people buy. Read the comments on trending videos. Go to a movie hall and watch a Bollywood film. Ask teenagers what they are doing. Ask senior citizens what they do on their phones. If you want to be a marketer who solves problems for customers, then you must know your customers as human beings and not just cohorts or data sets. If you don’t know how people plan for festivals, expenses and entertainment in smaller towns – then how will you plan media plan for your next sale, or what product will work for an emerging digital-savvy India. Observe as much as you can. Ask questions. Be curious.
Write and Design
I have always found that the most effective method to get my idea across was to write and design it. Develop those skills. I had the privilege of sitting with some amazingly creative people in the initial parts of my career. I learnt the art of marketing communications by just observing what my art and copy partners were doing. I learnt the tools and skills by sitting next to people. Most importantly, please pick up a pen and paper and scribble your thoughts. I remember once I drew out a full campaign on a flight, took photos and sent it to my team for implementation. Nurture that skill set.
Be a Data-Driven Storyteller
Can you look at google analytics and figure out anomalies? Are you able to track where your marketing dollars are going? Do you know what your marketing funnels look like? Where do you have leakage? Where are you being able to maximise your returns? What are your customers saying? The impact that your actions have as a marketer needs to be told via stories. To be a successful marketer, you first need to be a storyteller. Ensure you are basing your decisions on human insights + data corroborations.
Build Your Tribe
As young marketers from wonderful institutes you have the privilege of leaning on your alumni – please do so. Learn from those in the industry. Don’t stop there. Reach out to people on various social networks – founders, creators, designers, marketers and strategists who are on top of their game. Make sure you ask them the right questions. Most importantly, ensure that you find a purpose, a value that you can provide the community around you, and drive that as a network builder. Marketers are not lonely creatures – if anything, it is left to us to bring organisations, consumers and sometimes nations together over amazing ideas. It is your tribe which helps you build that confidence and surge ahead.
Be a Revenue Driver
A marketer is there to ensure that revenue spikes. Don’t think that a marketing role is to enable sales – in fact, there is this age-old tussle between marketing and sales – and honestly, I find it silly. A marketer is a salesperson as much as someone who works the rigour of physical sales.