In the past, a marketer was more likely to be described as “creative” than a “number cruncher.” That may not be the case in the future.

In the digital era, the skills marketers need to succeed are rapidly changing. Businesses are increasingly looking for marketers who can use big data and digital channels to make marketing more effective and increase ROI on marketing campaigns.

However, more than 90% of businesses believe their employees don’t have the skills they need in fields related to digital marketing, including social media, mobile, internal social networks and performance monitoring and analysis, according to a Capgemini Consulting report.

So what skills do marketers need for the future? Here are some of the top areas marketers will need to master.

1. Data Analytics

Big data presents a great opportunity for marketers. Companies that make marketing and sales decisions based on data improve marketing ROI 15-20%, according to a McKinsey analysis. Marketers will need to be able to analyze data to produce more sophisticated customer segmentation and develop more accurate customer personas. Familiarity with data analytics platforms like Google Analytics are increasingly cited as critical for marketers.

Data analytics blog

2. Content Development

Marketers shouldn’t disregard their creative, storytelling skills just yet. Content still counts in the digital era – the ability to develop relevant content might be even more important as the amount of marketing content increases rapidly.

According to the learning technology platform Grovo, the “future-proof marketer” needs to combine technical and soft skills to create relevant, compelling content that reaches customers. On the technical side, marketers need to have a solid understanding of search engine optimization and customer personas developed through research and testing. On the “soft side,” good old-fashioned aesthetic and creative skills are necessary for developing great articles and infographics.

Content creation blog

3. Data Visualization

The abundance of data and content available makes data visualization skills increasingly important for marketers. As digital media shrinks the average attention span to 8 seconds, data visualization techniques have the potential to communicate lots of information quickly through charts, graphs or other illustrations. Marketers who know data visualization principles and can use tools like Tableau,, and Google Charts will be prepared for the future.

Data visualization blog

4. Social Media

Social media isn’t new for most marketers, but many may have to upgrade their skills in this area. In a survey of companies with more than 50,000 employees, only 13% said their social media skills were advanced, according to Capgemini Consulting. Social media skills include “soft skills” like brand building, content development and customer service, as well as technical skills required to use social media platforms and analyze social media engagement. And as social networks become saturated with users, marketers may need to develop effective social media advertising strategies.

Social media blog

5. Mobile Technology

With 60% of digital media time spent on mobile devices, it’s not surprising that companies see mobile as one of the most important aspects of digital transformation, according to Capgemini Consulting.The move to mobile technology means marketers need to be able to optimize website, email and social media content to be viewed on mobile devices. Skills or knowledge about design, gamification and app development may also be valuable. For more tips on mobile marketing, check out 6 Steps for Getting Started With Mobile Marketing.

Mobile marketing blog

Some Skills Are Timeless

Although marketers need to adopt new skills to prepare for the digital era, the basics still apply. Marketers will need to be able to understand their audience and communicate with them clearly without using jargon.

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