The evolution of data adoption and usage will continue to drive the marketing sector forward this year. The proper utilisation and analysis of this information allow businesses to create more specific and better targeted marketing campaigns. Professionals with a talent for turning vast swathes of data into meaningful and actionable insights will be in huge demand this year.

Our specialist consultants speak to both employers and professionals working in the marketing field every day. This insight has allowed us to identify the top 10 skills expected to drive businesses forward.

1.  Creating data driven customer insights

Comprehensive, data-driven customer insights are crucial to any strategy. There has been a big focus on this throughout 2018 and is only expected to increase in 2019. Experts that are not only able to translate, manipulate, and understand customer insights but are also able to use this to help create a strong commercial strategy, are key.

Achieving a sustainable ROI is the heartbeat of any business. With marketing driving forward business growth and strategy, the ROI for all marketing activity is now more important than it ever has been. Budgets are being scrutinised and organisations are expecting more from marketing activity. It is vital that tools are in place to ensure that key metrics are identified, tracked, and reported on. Professionals that have a firm understanding of which metrics need to be highlighted, how to measure them, and which tools can help the team to do so, can add real value to any marketing department.

2. Online marketing

Online marketing uses all web-based channels to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers. It includes for example  email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimisation to reach potential customers through the channels where they spend their time reading, searching, shopping, and socialising online.

3. Communicating ROI

Amplifying your success stories and keeping staff informed helps fuel positive morale. Companies of all sizes are now tracking ROI to ensure that marketing activities and budgets are maximised. The ability to communicate successes and key learnings is therefore highly valued. With more senior marketing professionals sitting on the board and attending key business meetings, the delivery of ROI communications is essential to ensure marketing has a strategic voice in the business. “Not everything that the marketing department does can be easily quantified in terms of revenue,” explains Stefania Duijzer, senior manager of Michael Page Sales & Marketing. “But the added value of the modern marketing techniques is that it became much easier to identify, measure and predict sales opportunities.”

4. Market development

For many businesses, bid management provides the opportunity to get the first foot in the door to an organisation. Upon winning a contract, this provides the springboard for communication and relationship building, along with the chance to cross/upsell and develop long-term partnerships. The bid process is also becoming more creative, with companies choosing to use personalised touches to stand out from the crowd and make the document a more engaging read.

5. Internal communications

Due to the current political and economic climate, businesses are faced with a market of uncertainty in regards to what the next couple of years will bring. As a result, we’re seeing an increasing demand for strong internal communications and change communications professionals. We are especially finding this on the interim side of the market as there is an increasing need for strong change comms contractors for specific projects, and to roll out new programmes. Internal and change communications professionals drive organisational strategy and share key messages with the wider business to ensure top talent is motivated, engaged, and focused on the prize.

6. Brand management

Brand managers are responsible for 360-degree management of a brand/portfolio of brands, focussing on the five pillars of brand management, which is key in a market of constant change and increasing competition. These professionals drive the pace at which a brand moves and the speed at which they react to consumer demands. This will ultimately influence the brand's performance and determine its success. As the remit of a brand manager extends across a wider variety of specialist marketing functions, including ATL/BTL campaigns, social media, and new product/brand development, this skill set is key.

7. PR

Throughout 2018, there was a real focus, for the more regulated industries in particular, on PR campaigns. This could be partly as businesses are being forced to move away from traditional direct marketing methods and need to become more creative. However, strong, cost-effective PR campaigns allow business to reach a new and more passive audience. They are also important in getting a company’s brand ‘out there’. Ultimately, it is the relationship-building skills of a great PR professional that enables a brand to build stronger engagement with journalists, influencers and consumers.

9. Product management

The development of a new product or service that has more value for the customer. While product management can vary in its function and the roles related to it, according to the size of the company, there is always a product manager to make certain that the objectives of the product are met.

8. Category management

With discounters dominating the retail market space, analysing shopper trends and streamlining category management is more important than ever. Retailers need to maximise the use of category data to ensure that they are competitive in this ever-changing digital e-commerce landscape, where consumers are far more value driven. Competition is high and continues to grow, meaning that the diligent management of the category for manufacturers is highly critical.

10. Stakeholder management

Effective stakeholder relationship management helps to facilitate complete alignment within an organisation. For example, as more companies adopt a flexible working model, regular and effective communication around what this means in practice is key. Put simply, good stakeholder management facilitates success.

As leading recruiters with a global network, we have an extensive database of top talented professionals to take your business to the next level, helping you to stay ahead of the competition.

If you are looking to recruit for top talent in your sector please get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

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