What does it take to be a successful marketer today?
Is it a knack for humour? Is it the ability to come up with memorable tag lines? Or are technical skills what we really need as marketers today?
The answer, of course, is all of the above.
Businesses expect marketers to be able to do it all. Today, we’re not just about slogans and gimmicks. We have to be jacks and janes of all trades, able to write an awesome blog post but also be technical enough to figure out the latest marketing software available.
When it comes to becoming an effective marketer, however, there’s one skill that’s often underestimated: curiosity.
Yes, marketers need to be creative, smart and hardworking. And yes, increasingly, we do need technical skills to be effective marketers. But in the long term, the desire to uncover something new—curiosity—is the single most important skill we need to thrive in this practice.
Here’s why effective marketers are also curious.
- Marketing keeps on changing.
From account-based marketing to conversion rate optimization, new fields always pop up in marketing. Every month or so, a new trend comes along—and marketers need to constantly evaluate their tactics to make sure they are effective.
Technology keeps our practice dynamic. The 2016 edition of the Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, an infographic on the martech space, featured TK companies. Software is eating marketing.
More importantly, customer behavior and attitudes keep on changing. Marketing today is still about understanding your customers. But mobile tech is shaping new customer expectations like never before. People’s changing attitudes towards many social issues have a profound effect on how we should engage with them. We also have to consider customer perception of different marketing practices.
In order to navigate the dynamic marketing landscape, we have to be willing to admit that we don’t know everything. We have to be open to new ideas, to discovering something new and learning new skills and software. All of these requires curiosity.
- Curiosity keeps you interested.
The CMO at the company I work for once told our team this insightful nugget: Marketing is a pie-eating contest where the prize for winning is more pie.
That insight is brilliant because it captures the fact that marketing is often a thankless job. Oh, you got 1,000 leads? Maybe your goal should have been 1,500. You increased page views by 10%? Why is it not 25%?
Marketing is not easy. It’s a stressful gig, with stakeholders usually asking for more. You have to love marketing in order to thrive in it. But it’s hard to love this job if you don’t find it interesting, if you don’t find that you’re discovering something new.
Keeping our minds open and always being curious is the best way to remain interested in your role.
- Curiosity keeps you agile.
Many marketers have adopted the principle of “fail fast” from the software development practice. It’s a concept that theoretically makes sense in marketing: try something new, experiment with new tactics and abandon those that don’t work while doubling down on those that are effective.
To pull off that type of agile marketing, you have to be naturally curious. You have to wonder if a new tactic will actually work, and then you have to find out whether you’re right or wrong. You have to be fearless and accept the fact that your assumption could be wrong and that you have to try something new. But first, you have to be curious enough to take action.
I believe in the power of curiosity so much that I’ve named this site The Curious Marketer. My intention: explore and dissect the topics that matters the most to marketers who want to discover new and better ways of being amazing at their job. I hope you’ll join my journey.
I think that there is always something new to learn in marketing. That’s what makes marketing such an exciting practice. And that’s why in order to thrive, we need to practice curiosity.
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