You know you need an array of technical skills to advance your marketing career, but have you given the same attention to cultivating your digital marketing soft skills?
Soft skills are your power skills — they influence how you interact with others and impact the efficacy of your marketing.
As your career progresses, your marketing soft skills become increasingly important. That’s because, as digital transformation disrupts entire industries, the technical hard skills you need to succeed will continue to evolve.
But your soft skills? Those are timeless and transferable.
Now, digital marketing soft skills are notoriously difficult to teach because they are not an exact science — they require awareness, patience, and practice to cultivate. And yet, master these skills, and you will become a better marketer.
With that in mind, I’d like to review eight soft skills crucial for success in today’s digital marketing landscape. Carve out time to practise these skills daily and you will become a more exceptional marketer.
8 digital marketing soft skills for a wildly successful career
“Soft skills get little respect but will make or break your career” Peggy Klaus
Influence is your ability to persuade others to think or act a certain way. Influence extends past giving commands. Truly influential leaders inspire and encourage their teams to rally together — they ethically use the principles of persuasion to achieve aligned goals.
If you want to understand the psychology of persuasion, begin with Robert B. Cialdini’s famous book Influence. The most recent expanded edition includes new insights for digital businesses, and it’s a game changer for anyone who wants to uplevel their influencing skills.
2. Simplifying complexity
You will face complicated and confusing problems as your marketing career progresses. Sometimes, your hard skills will help you solve these puzzling scenarios, but often, they won’t.
Learning how to solve complex problems requires changing the way you think.
It means halting repetitive thought loops so you can approach marketing dilemmas from a unique viewpoint.
It means asking the right questions to arrive at the right answers.
And it means embracing humility as you work alongside your team so that you solve complex problems effectively and efficiently.
No matter your business role, sometimes, you’re going to have to ask for what you want: more marketing spend, new acquisition channels, investor pitches, and more.
So, if you want to be more successful in business, learn how to pitch your ideas with confidence and finesse.
Consider that the best marketing pitches are custom-crafted for their audience. They use data to tell a story and hook their listeners from start to finish.
Can you easily adjust to new conditions? You don’t have a choice in digital marketing: adaptability is crucial to brand longevity.
Consider companies like Uber and Airbnb. Businesses that embraced new technologies and, as a result, totally rocked the transportation and hotel industries.
Now think of those brands that didn’t learn to adapt quickly. Blockbuster and Blackberry are two that immediately come to mind.
Embracing digital transformation isn’t just about leveraging the hard skills to use new technologies. The best digital marketers have an agile mindset and know when and how to adapt for efficient results.
Creativity is often defined as thinking up new ideas or applying unique perspectives. I prefer the way Albert Einstein described it:
“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought”
Every entrepreneur and marketer I know wants to become more creative. While it might seem like an elusive digital marketing soft skill at first glance, here are a few specific steps you can take to cultivate creativity today:
- Designate time every day just to think
- Try an artistic outlet
- Get outdoors
- Meditate, walk: find a way to clear your mind
Expert digital marketers are resilient. They are not intimidated by failure because they recognise that failure is simply information that will guide them on their path to success.
And because resilient marketers realise failure is a learning tool, they retain a future-oriented outlook. They persist through setbacks — even when those setbacks are frustrating and overwhelming and stressful.
As technology continues to create a paradigm shift in marketing, cultivating resilience in digital marketing will help you weather any storm.
7. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to manage emotions and relate to others effectively and empathetically. Some experts claim EQ could be more important than IQ; regardless, it is a soft skill that pays big rewards both in and outside the workplace.
Do you actively listen to your employees and team members? Can you accept when you make a mistake — and let go of the mistakes of others? Do you respond with care (rather than react impulsively) in stressful situations?
These are just a few questions that can help you cultivate your EQ. You can learn more about how to improve your EQ here.
Culminating our list of digital marketing soft skills is perhaps one of the most important: communication.
Strategic communication is your bridge to career success and includes much more than daily correspondence or basic small talk.
Master communicators practise engaged listening to build trust and relationships. They observe body language and unspoken cues to understand personalities and situations better. And they respond to constructive criticism with an open mind.
If you want to build better teams, improve your customer service, and advance your marketing career, then improving your communication skills is non-negotiable. Here’s how:
Read: How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. A timeless classic (and one of the bestselling books of all time), it makes a sensible place to begin your communication education.
Listen: The Communication Guys Podcast. The hosts say it best: “Your ultimate level of success depends on your ability to express yourself in a creative, confident, and compelling way.” Learn how to do precisely that in this thought-provoking podcast.
Watch: How to speak so that people want to listen, a TED talk by Julian Treasure. Treasure is a communication expert, award-winning author, and five-time TED speaker. In this short clip, he reveals powerful tips to speak and listen effectively.
If you want to advance your career, don’t neglect your digital marketing soft skills. Even just a few minutes a day can make you a better leader — which means better results for you and your organisation.