The other day we had a call with a recent graduate. He’s decided that he wants to work in digital marketing, specifically in the strategy and creative side of things. Somebody introduced us and asked if I would mind having a call to help him go from where he is now to where he wants to be. This got me thinking about the traits of a good marketer. Especially in today’s digital world. 

The first thing I want to make clear is, in the last 5 years, I don’t think I’ve hired anyone based on their CV. In my opinion, hiring from a CV is a huge mistake in today’s world. Meeting someone who’s young, just out of university and whose CV says they have little to no experience, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a huge asset to an agency. Let me explain. 

I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve been working in social media marketing now for over 10 years. I’m a little set in my ways, I won’t lie, and I think it’s good that I recognise that. I trust the people I have around me. The people I depend upon to run the business in the best way possible. Having the opinion of someone who is far more in touch with the 20-25-year-old market is an asset, first and foremost. 

Secondly, just because someone doesn’t have a lot of “work experience”, especially in this day and age, doesn’t mean they don’t know the digital space. My godson creates videos on YouTube about video games and mountain biking. He has more subscribers than I have on my personal account. However, this doesn’t mean they could make it work for a brand straight away. Nevertheless, it’s one hell of an experience and skill set. Building a personal brand, a following, and a channel takes guts, learning, and execution. Pretty much everything I’m looking for in a new team member. 

Lastly, for me, who you’ve worked for, where, for how long, is less interesting than who you are, what you’re interested in, and why you want to be involved in this space. Have you been helping to build your family business on social media? That’s of interest to me. What did you do? How did you get on? What were the results? And most importantly, what did you learn from it? Experience comes in all shapes and sizes. 

So What Are The Traits Of A Good Marketer To Be? 

For me, I would say the three most important traits would be: 

  1. They’re not afraid to market themselves.
    This doesn’t mean they’re egotistical, or that they are branding themselves as some kind of expert online. It does mean they’re active online, on social media, on LinkedIn, for example, if they’re looking for a job. Asking people for a job in social media marketing and not being visible at all online, for me, is a slam dunk NO.

    Don’t worry about getting paid work, start creating free work. Even if it’s just for yourself. You have to be willing to showcase who you are, especially in the beginning when you’re just starting out.
  2.  They’re always learning.
    I don’t care if you’re just out of University, or you’ve been in a career for 20 years. If you think you’ve finished learning, you have nothing to offer me. Everyone in my team is continually learning, every day. We challenge ourselves. We read, we listen, we watch, and we learn. 

    In a space like digital marketing, where social media platforms are changing and evolving on a regular basis, video marketing is moving so fast it’s hard to keep up. And search engines like Google are continuously improving their search algorithms, how can you not be constantly learning? 
  3. They understand the whole ecosystem but want to be a specialist.
    No one can be all things to all men, or women. So, you need to have a holistic understanding of marketing. Not just digital. All of it. Why is branding important? What is SEO? Why is blogging important? How do PPC Ads work? Why is email marketing important? These are all questions you should be able to answer. But no one should expect you to be able to perform all of these tasks to a high-skill level. It’s just too much.

The traits of a good marketer (especially over the next 5 years, as the channels we use continue to evolve), are going to be the ability to understand the big picture, specialise in one or two areas, and be able to successfully execute in conjunction with all other parts. No matter if you want to work in-house, at an agency, or freelance, this will still apply. 

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Chris Bruno
Chris Bruno

Chris, founder and CEO of Social INK, has devised and consulted on more digital marketing and social media marketing campaigns than you can shake a stick at. He’s also got a bit of a thing for online advertising and social media advertising.