The world of Mad Men isn’t filled with cool characters who can spin a yarn anymore. Now it’s full of computer geeks.
Marketing automation has helped businesses reach more leads than ever before.
It has proven its worth, and now marketers have to prove their worth by adding those skills to their resumes and polishing their portfolios to prove they have marketing automation chops.
Think Like IT
There are two core personality traits that really help marketers who want to focus on automation skills, and both are strong in the IT field.
The first is curiosity. IT workers have to constantly update their skills in response to the changing technology landscape, but they also have such a strong sense of curiosity that, for some, it’s part of the fun.
Do you like exploring new trends and trying out tasks outside your comfort zone? It’s an asset if you want to focus your career on marketing’s bleeding edge.
Another skill to have, and this may come as a surprise, is a sense of laziness! Call it efficiency or whatever you want, but people in IT have been finding ways to automate a lot of tasks for decades.
If you’ve ever worked on a task and spent time wondering about ways you can make it faster or automatic, or have managed to pull it off, you have the right quality of laziness.
For instance, maybe you’ve worked in email marketing in the past and have had to write a lot of follow-up emails that said the same thing over and over again.
A programmer’s mind would look for a way to automate this task. For instance, they could find a follow up email extension or some other tool to speed up the tediousness.
Additionally, unlike a traditionally ‘lazy’ person, a good programmer will try to find ways to continually improve their automation workflows.
They’ll A/B test their ideas to see which ones work best. Today’s marketers should already be quite familiar with this concept.
Choosing A Skillset
One thing that may daunt newcomers to marketing automation is that there are so many kinds of technology in the market right now.
It’s a relatively new field and with so many forms of online marketing, there are a lot of niches.
There are literally thousands of pieces of software available for marketing automation professionals.
There’s no way to master them all, nor do you need to. Any program is a tool. What’s important is to know the skillsets behind the tools.
Then you can adapt those to any program your workplace prefers.
Three big areas in demand right now are email automation, online shopping automation, and CRM automation.
If you already have a specialty in one of these areas of marketing, deepen your knowledge of it by studying automation technologies related to those areas.
How do you do that? First, if your workplace already uses or is considering a particular automation package, you can see if that vendor offers any certification programs.
Many of the major companies like Hubspot and Marketo have programs that will teach you about automation for their particular tools, much like how IT vendors have their own product certifications.
These certifications will teach you more about marketing automation in a particular niche and show your workplace and recruiters that you’re taking marketing automation seriously.
Build A Portfolio
Having the necessary soft skills and certifications are good, but it’s also good to be able to show proof that your automation experience or ideas about how you would make it work are strong.
This is where building a portfolio of past work is helpful.
LinkedIn is an excellent place to put your portfolio. You can write up case studies of your successes and put them into your profile in PDF.
You could also write up sample emails or marketing automation workflows that you’ve designed.
Anything that can show others that you can make marketing automation deliver results is useful.
Learn Data, But Just Enough
Thanks to the data revolution, marketers are expected to show proof of their results, often against some metrics measuring.
If you’re further along in your career, you might be tasked with choosing the right combination of metrics and persuading management why they’re the best to track for a particular goal.
All this means that you need to be familiar with data and analytics.
This does NOT mean that you have to become a data scientist unless you’re deeply in love with math and data.
You just need to know enough to explain the metrics you choose, how they’re gathered, and how they’re derived so you can measure your success and explain the changes to others.
Combining these five things together will help direct you in the right way on your marketing automation journey.
Figure out if you have the necessary soft skills, then choose a discipline within marketing automation.
Then learn about that discipline through certifications and experiment with building portfolio pieces.
Figure out how analytics can show whether your work succeeds or not. Put it all together and your career will be on its way.
Author Bio: Michael Habiger is an experienced marketer and content writer, currently the content manager at FollowUpFred.