The 10 Best Skills of a Marketing Professional

Whether you’re a hiring manager or a marketing job seeker, you’ll find this article of high value. You’ll learn the top 10 best traits for a marketing professional to have, and you’ll also gain a better understanding of what each of them entails.

Marketing Professional: quote

I’ll admit. I’m slightly biased in writing about this subject because I, myself, am a marketing professional. I’ve been in the field for over 7 years, and my current situation as a job seeker has made me truly aware of what I need to know, have, and do to succeed in this industry.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1) Human

It may seem pretty obvious, but the fact is not all marketers act human when they’re representing a company or even themselves. There are many ways one can be more human online, but the best ways are to show:

  • Humor
  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Vulnerability

In today’s social world, marketers should be keeping in mind that customers and prospects don’t want to speak to a robot or a digital broadcasting wall. Social media is not PR. Instead of a 100% broadcasting strategy, marketers should know how to balance that approach and real-time engagement.

When you’re looking for a marketing candidate, they should not only know how to interact with people as a brand representative. They should also have their own active presence as themselves. Check to see how they’re using social media.

  • What are they sharing?
  • How are they expressing themselves?
  • Do they talk with others or just broadcast their own content?

These are all key questions you should research an answer to before moving forward with a candidate. If they don’t express themselves well on their own, how will they do so for you?

2) Outgoing

Marketing your business requires an outgoing personality. There will be plenty of outreach and conversations on the job, and only someone who feels comfortable in that environment will produce positive results. Without an outgoing mentality, a marketer simply won’t be able to build the necessary relationships for your business.

Another key part of this is that it’s not enough to just be outgoing online or offline. A marketer needs to be comfortable socially in both environments. On social media and in emails, tone of voice plays an integral role in how your business is perceived. If a marketer is hesitant or nervous, it’ll show one way or another.

The good news is I don’t believe an outgoing personality is innate. People who were originally shy or introverted can learn to be outgoing or extroverted. I’m living proof of that. Even if a candidate  seems like she or he is a little timid during the interview process, keep in mind that the potential may still be there.

3) Confident

Another important personality trait is confidence. As Jayson DeMers of Inc. points out, it’s not just like any other trait:

Confidence might seem like a trait, but it can be gained, honed, and developed just like a skill. You can increase your confidence in some areas through sheer practice; the more often you do something, the more confident you’ll be in doing it.

Source: The Muse

As with being outgoing, marketers can learn to be confident in both themselves and your business with a little time and practice. It’s not something to rule a candidate out for, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re struggling to choose between candidates.

Keep in mind: writing content for your social media accounts and blog requires confidence. This is because people, such as your prospects, are attracted to other people who feel confident in themselves and their purpose. If prospects feel they are being contacted by someone who does not feel confident in themselves or your business, they might feel less inclined to buy from you.

4) Exceptional writer

Marketing involves a heavy amount of writing, and it comes in many different forms:

  • Blog articles
  • Tweets and other social media content
  • Presentations for SlideShare and/or events
  • eBooks and whitepapers
  • Infographics…

The list can go on, but you get the idea. Neil Patel makes this point in his Quick Sprout article, called The 6 Key Skills of a Brilliant Content Marketer. Content marketing may be only part of what marketing is as a whole, but it’s a huge player these days. It’s gotten to the point where businesses with a content marketing program are more likely to succeed than businesses without one. Just take a look at some of the findings provided by Content Marketing Institute. They annually update their findings with the latest research on content marketing and its effectiveness.

Back to writing itself, the quest to find a marketing professional who can write persuasively in any industry is not an easy road. As mentioned before, marketing involves many forms of writing, so a marketer will need to be able to handle each one effectively. When qualifying candidates, I recommend asking for a writing sample both from previous experience and during the interview process. Give them a prompt and see what angle they take with it. See if their writing flows well while also maintaining proper grammar and spelling.

Paying attention to a candidate’s writing, during their application and follow up, will help you distinguish between the vast number of candidates and give you a more manageable number to work with. You can start with 100 applications and only have to proceed with 10, for example.

5) Adaptable

As Neil Patel puts it:

The people you see who stay consistently at the top of their fields are always looking to learn about the “next thing.” They adapt no matter what the circumstances are.

Marketers of any kind, whether they be focused on SEO, email, social, content or otherwise, must have the flexibility and adaptability to stay properly informed and ready for whatever comes. If a marketing professional is rigid in how they approach their job, they’ll fall behind, hurting the business’ results.

Marketing is an increasingly fast-paced industry, and those who want to take part in it need to keep that in mind. It is not the occupation for traditions but rather innovations. If you’re looking for a marketing professional, I recommend looking at their contributions to their passions, even if it’s unrelated to marketing. Do they show their ability to adapt to new ideas? An example of this:

Jane loves to sew pillows and wall hangings for family and friends. While creating her own projects, she maintains a related website blog and social media accounts. She shares tips and ideas with her audience on a regular basis, giving her own input on what works best. Although sewing is not as fast-changing as marketing, new techniques and types do appear from time to time. The best way for them to appear is for someone to introduce them to the world. That is what Jane does with her sewing advice, and marketers can do the same, even if they aren’t yet considered an influencer (thought leader).

6) Continuous education advocate

Along the same lines as adaptability, marketing professionals should always be eager learners. They should want to get the certifications and degrees necessary to do their job in the best way possible. Not only this, they should enjoy reading what others are saying in the marketing industry. This will help them stay up-to-date and informed of trends that have a proven track record.

I collect and read eBooks about all types of marketing to stay informed, and I use blog articles to both learn and curate for my own audiences. You can find my ever-changing collection of top marketing articles within my Dropmark dashboard, and maybe it’ll help your marketers with their continuous education efforts.

Marketers should be willing to take the time to read about their field. This will help them get the job at the office done in the best way, and it’ll help them grow as well.

7) Trend-savvy

Your business has an audience with interests, and you can reach this target group by staying on top of trending topics. On Facebook and Twitter, the platforms help you out by listing some of the leading trends. Marketers should be able to take advantage of this opportunity to appeal to your business’ audience in a more powerful manner.

It is an alternative to cold contact or broadcasting without knowing your audience. Marketers should know how to use the available tools out there to find the trends that matter to your audience, using them effectively on social, in email, and on your blog.

8) Data-driven

Data is what will teach marketers what’s working and what needs improvement – what can be added or removed from your campaigns. Data-driven marketers know how to use its power to bring better results and demonstrate effectiveness to other people.

Marketers should always be familiar with the KPIs relevant to your business needs, as well as how to measure and learn from these metrics. One of the biggest hurdles here is finding someone who understands how to use analytics software, such as Google Analytics. Marketers need to be able to find the metrics that matter, analyze them properly, and apply what they learn effectively.

9) Creative

Just like how data is essential to measuring success, creativity is essential to creating content. Today’s content market is overwhelmed with new ideas and their copies, with emphasis on the copies. Original, creative content is not as common and often doesn’t make it through the crowd.

Writing is an essential part of being a marketer, and that writing needs to be creative enough to draw in attention from the right people.

Marketers who cannot create original content are not going to bring as much success to your business. You want to get in front of your audience when so many other businesses are trying as well. This requires a good amount of strategic creativity from your marketing staff. When you’re trying to narrow down your list of marketing candidates, check their blog, which they should have, for any creativity you think could be applied to your business.

10) Jack of all trades / chameleon

Marketing involves so much more than just one or two tasks, especially if someone is doing all the marketing for a company. If you hire a marketing professional to do it all, you need to find a “jack of all trades” or chameleon who can handle words and numbers for all platforms:

  • Social media
  • Advertising
  • Email
  • Content creation….

On the other hand, if you just need a writer for your blog, you still need someone who is at least somewhat savvy with other areas. Marketing tasks blend when the final ROI is measured, so marketers will need to work together, knowing how each area is run, in order to see the best results.

Marketing professionals should be most passionate about one area but still have a strong appreciation and background in other functions. When you hire someone, you’re going to want to find the chameleon, not the one-and-done act.


Those are the 10 best traits you should look for in a marketing professional. They each play an integral role in how a marketer will handle the job at your business. If you want to select the best marketer for your open position, check their background and potential against each of these traits. It will help you dramatically reduce the pool of candidates into a more manageable number.

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Human
  2. Outgoing
  3. Confident
  4. Exceptional writer
  5. Adaptable
  6. Continuous education advocate
  7. Trend-savvy
  8. Data-driven
  9. Creative
  10. Jack of all trades / chameleon

If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact me privately by email. I also recommend referring to The Muse for other hiring advice.