20 Things Required to Become a Great Marketer

Everyone claims to be a marketer – even those who hired you to do their marketing. It is one of unfortunate lines of work that is hard to distinguish who is good and who is bad unless they start executing. 

I have compiled 20 skills (some innate, some teachable) that I believe are important to make you a great marketer. You already have some of them. And you can work to improve the rest. Some of these skills are intertwined, meaning that mastering one will improve several others. Empathy, curiosity and constant testing are fundamental tenets of great marketing and great marketers. 

Whether you are just entering the marketing arena or have already established yourself as a marketer, it never hurts to brush up on the skills. If you want to ace your work as a marketer, here are 20 things you need:  

1.       EMPATHY

One of the essential things you need to be successful at marketing is empathy. It implies that you can see things from someone else’s perspective to understand how they think. You must be able to connect with your clients, their products or services, and the targeted audience as well. Only when you put yourself into the customer’s shoes you will be able to understand how they will react to the marketing efforts and determine if they will engage with it or not.

Bonus tip: Empathy is also an essential ingredient to be a great salesperson. 


2.       TESTING

There is no rule of thumb that can guarantee you results in your marketing efforts. Therefore, a marketer’s tool belt must have an openness to test new things. You must always be willing to experiment with new things, test innovative strategies, and figure out what works for you. On the basis of the results, you can increase your efforts in the strategies that work or reduce the time, money, and resources in areas where it doesn’t seem to work well. 


3.       CURIOSITY

Do you know any good marketer who isn’t curious? Given how popular the field is, the number of marketers is increasing by the day. But, the difference between a great marketer and any other marketer is the inherent curiosity and care with which they work. There are innumerable niches, aspects, and avenues of marketing. You must crave more knowledge about the behavior and habits of your consumer, observe the market trends, and constantly ask questions to become better at your role. If you’re not curious, you won’t care. If you don’t care, you can never be good at it. 

Marketing isn’t flipping burgers at McDonald’s. There isn’t always a step-by-step process of how to do things. Care and curiosity is a key to give you the edge. A small amount of care while doing your job will do the magic. 



With years of experience in the field, you may think that you are right. It is called arrogance and it is abundant. It is a losing formula. You must always operate with the notion that the market is right. When you are marketing a product or service, the market can either accept or reject it. In case the response you receive is not positive, you must respect it and try to adapt your strategies to do better. 

No one is more qualified to judge your marketing success than the market. 


5.       STAND OUT

Every chicken usually has 10-15 chicks, most of them yellow. Usually one or two of them come out black. They become everyone’s darling even though they are no different from their siblings. Everyone points to them. It is called standing out in the crowd.

Marketers all promote similar types of products and services, just like yours. If your strategy is something similar to the ones that your competitors are already using, you won’t be able to stand out from the crowd. 

Your ideas will become less attractive and get mixed in the crowd. You must focus on being creative in your approach and strive to incorporate one distinct thing, whether it is the product itself, callout, or value proposition, to leave a mark on the audience.



A highly underrated skill for marketers is simplicity. You must focus on being a good communicator who is able to express complex things in a simplified way which the audience can easily comprehend. 

Whether you are running a TV, designing a landing page or creating a social media creative your primary message will stay hidden if you try to say everything at once. Try to make a single callout or message that stands out.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Picasso famously said. The ability to express complex things in simple forms is only possible if you know the topic well. 



One misconception that is prevalent among budding marketers is the thinking that they will become consultants and teach their clients strategies. Nothing can be far from the truth. Marketing requires an extraordinary amount of legwork. Strategy is only 3-5 percent of what you do. The rest is boring, repetitive legwork. To be good at marketing strategy, executing in the trenches is key. 

Since marketing requires tons of work, it is important to avoid avoidable mistakes and automate the process to reduce the unavoidable problems. 

The changing circumstances in the world of marketing can make things complex, which can become even more draining. If you want to make things easier for you, try to make a process or system that helps you carry out tasks easily. It will not only reduce the chance of errors but also minimize your stress. You can even automate the tasks that are repetitive, and it will help you save time.   


8.       BUILD TRUST

The only way your clients will let you do your job in a creative fashion is when they trust you. They will have opinions – granted – but they will eventually give you some type of freedom to do your job. This is only possible if you build such a trust, which can only be built through past experience and success. 

If you keep listening to the opinions, executing the marketing plans might become a daunting task for you. It is imperative to continuously work on building your team and client’s trust. Once you have their confidence, they will listen to your ideas, trust them, and let you make a real deal of marketing. 


9.       EXECUTE 

Marketing is not a theoretical avenue that you can master by tutorials or managing a team. It is an art that you can only master by actually doing things. You must be ready to get out in the field, execute your ideas, test them in the open market, learn from the failures, and then improvise and improve. Execution is at the core of a marketer, and you cannot succeed at your role unless you are executing, at least to some degree. At least you must have a fundamental understanding of the practical aspects of marketing to run a team. 



Prioritizing tasks in a marketing work is a lot more important than executing a structured mechanism that you are blindly following. Some fundamental aspects of your marketing legwork should be structured — but each company is unique in its own way and will require different prioritizations at different times. Failing to detect this will eventually hurt your marketing efforts. 

Marketing isn’t a streamlined process like manufacturing a product where you can follow one step right after the next. It is a dynamic field where the variables involved can keep changing. A strategy that worked for a brand of a particular field in the same geographical area may not work for another under similar circumstances. 80 percent of your marketing work should be structured mechanisms and 20 percent should be strategy. Always prioritize, adapt, test, change and prioritize again until you find the perfect solution. 



Most creative people forget a key part of the process: Distribution. 

While you might be creating exceptional content, it will not serve its purpose until it reaches the audience. Content creation is important but distributing it to the right people through optimum channels is even more crucial.

Writing a great piece of content without being able to generate a good deal of traffic is a waste of time. 



Act like your customer. Be in their shoes. Make searches online and see where you end up going. Would you choose the product you’re marketing? Would you choose your own company? 

You must be able to identify the target audience clearly and then delve deeper into their psychology. Use empathy to understand and act as your customer and then see if they would like to purchase the particular product or service you are selling. 

Once you are able to understand your customer better than the competitor, you will be able to target them better, and half the battle is already won.     



It is natural that your clients will disagree with your ideas or even criticize your marketing approach at some point. Always assume that their criticism might be spot on and then do your research and see if you can disprove it (or accept it). 

If you adopt a defensive language, or don’t take their views into consideration, it will hamper your rapport with the client. It is wise to stay grounded and assume that the criticism is correct. Only then will you be able to handle your clients well and maintain long-term relations with them.



When you are leading a marketing team, you need to tolerate their mistakes and ‘’forgive’’ them. If they are not allowed to experiment or make mistakes, your team will not have the freedom to be creative in their endeavors. It will hamper their productivity and make them insecure about taking the initiative.

It goes without saying that a marketing team that isn’t creative isn’t a good marketing team. Only then they feel safe and secure and free that they will be creative at the risk of making mistakes. 



One bad employee will pollute the team culture. Just like that, one bad can drain all your energy and reduce your efficiency. If you are having trouble while dealing with a client, communicate the ground rules clearly to them. Be prepared to drop them if it doesn’t adversely affect your finances in a big way. 



Doing the same things over and over again because ‘’they worked in the past’’ is a losing strategy. Innovation is a recipe for a long term survival in a changing marketing environment. Hardly is there another industry that is copying from each other as much as marketers. Being the first will put you one step ahead, but failing to innovate will push you behind. 



Stories are not only the easiest way to convey an idea, but they also ensure that the message is imprinted in the minds of the audience. You must be a good storyteller to ace the job of marketing. 

Try to read screenplays and follow brands that are experts at spreading their message through stories. It will help you express your ideas in a creative way that leaves an impression and help you connect with the audience. There is no such thing as too much storytelling. The market is never fully satisfied with a good story. 



One thing that you must avoid is romanticizing things that you are good at or the ones that have yielded positive results in the past. When you keep revering or praising it, it will become harder for you to adapt to changes. 



The marketing field is a highly subjective one, and hence it is quite common to have differing opinions. While you might like a particular ad copy, your colleague might not consider it good. Ultimately, it is not up to you or your colleague to decide, but only the market decides whether the content is good or not. For that reason, learn how to tolerate your fellow team members when they want to go in another direction. Marketing teams are breeding ground for internecine conflicts. Avoid that. 



No matter how much information and data you consume, you should learn how to decide with your gut. Sticking too much to data will be misleading. Act with your gut. If it is wrong, adapt and change.