As many countries slowly but surely ease out of COVID-related lockdown restrictions, one of the best things that businesses can do right now, for those that can afford it, is to increase their marketing budgets. As counterintuitive as this might sound, it is backed up by science. Research shows that companies that increased their marketing budgets during the recession grew sales at a much faster rate than their rivals — not only during the downturn but beyond as well. In fact, companies that decreased their ad spend saw their sales decline both during the recession and the following three years. 

So, for marketing to succeed, you need the right marketers to go along with it. If you are looking to revamp your marketing strategy in light of business recovery, here are the essential skills you need to hire for in 2020. 

1. Customer insights

Professionals who are skilled in analysing customer insights are becoming an integral part of the marketing function. Having the ability to understand, translate and manipulate customer insights can help to build a comprehensive customer strategy, as well as provide actionable insights to boost your business offering. Further to this, category analysis and in-depth knowledge of the market ensures that everyone across your business understands their stakeholders better, which makes for a more efficient approach.          

2. Clearly communicating ROI

ROI is a crucial metric in the marketing department, where results and reporting are key. Professionals with the skills to analyse marketing metrics and report on trends, help drive business growth and development. This not only means being able to decipher results, but also knowing which tools are the best to use. Once the results are in, communicating back to senior leaders to get buy-in on any new ventures is critical to maintaining momentum. The delivery of ROI communications is essential to ensure marketing teams can develop their strategies successfully.

3. Brand management

Brand managers are responsible for the management of your company brand, or your clients' brands. In today's market, where competition is fierce, these professionals can make or break a brand's reputation through the management of and speed at which they move the brand forward. Brand managers should be proficient across a variety of functions, including running campaigns (sometimes multiple at once), new product development, and social media management. Brand managers are becoming increasingly important in 2020, as they affect brand performance and success.          

4. PR and social media

The way your company is represented in both the media and on social media platforms has become a core focus for most businesses. As brand reputation becomes ever more crucial in today's competitive market, professionals who can manage your brand image are key. Those who possess the skills to support brand messaging across social media and PR channels are important in ensuring that your company voice is delivered correctly and that your messaging resonates with your target audience. A combination of these professionals in your teams will help to identify new opportunities for your business.           

5. Copywriting

Content teams in the marketing department help bring ideas to life, can develop engaging campaigns, and create thought-provoking designs. You should be looking for skilled copywriters to refresh your old copy, and create new content for your website and advertising materials. It's also important to hire skilled designers who can produce different types of content suited to your project or campaign in the form of eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, and more. Talented copywriters and content professionals pride themselves on creating collateral that stands out in the market and beats the competition.           

6. Stakeholder relations

Working with others is integral in most business functions. However, in marketing, it could be argued that it is even more pertinent to be able to work effectively with stakeholders as there is so much cross-collaboration within teams — both internally and externally. Indeed, effective stakeholder management can be the difference between the success and failure of a multi-faceted project. Professionals skilled in stakeholder relations will enable your organisation to communicate more effectively, which will facilitate better working practices, now and in the future.

7. E-commerce analytics

E-commerce is now the primary battleground in the world of retail. With the online retail sector growing substantially, skills in e-commerce are becoming ever more sought after. Given that e-commerce is a multi-channel operation, it is important that professionals are versatile and have a solid understanding of the digital marketing mix. They should also have a keen eye for spotting trends in data and devising action plans to drive further growth.

8. UX development

Creating a unique user experience that is easy to follow and satisfying for your customers is the key to repeat business and a happy client. Not only should you look for skills in UX development, but combining this with integrated design and digital skills will mean that you have a professional that can take your processes to the next level. Consistency in your user experience and brand representation in this space will keep up conversion rates and encourage completions.

9. SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process by which the visibility of a website or webpage is improved in the rankings of search engines like Google, to increase traffic. Broadly, there are three key areas of SEO: technical/onsite, content, and link building. Professionals with a proven track record in one, or ideally all, of these areas have been in ever-increasing demand over the past decade or so. As Google's rules on best practice change regularly, SEO professionals need to be adaptable and ready to find new strategies to improve website visibility.           

10. CRM strategy & execution

CRM continues to be a key skill in any marketing function. Not only to ensure you are communicating with your customers effectively, but also ensuring that you are making the most out of your audiences and targeting them correctly with your communications. CRM involves the management of many systems. However, CRM professionals must be able to analyse this data across multiple channels and use their findings to implement positive change across the organisation.          

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