As an agency, we see this all too often when working with our contacts, who are typically in-house marketers. They’re smart, hard-working and great at their jobs, but they can struggle to secure a voice at the table when the big business decisions are being made.
As both a marketer and a business owner, this frustrates me enormously. When an organisation has a high-performing marketing team, everything becomes easier. At the business level, great marketing translates into more opportunities to successfully drive growth, profit, strategic decision-making or a combination of all three. Making the marketing team more valuable should be an obsession shared at all levels of an organisation.
I aim to give you, the smart and motivated marketer, a range of ways to be more valuable (and more valued). This is not a checklist, you shouldn’t aim to be great at everything. But you should find the ones that excite you and where you have natural ability, and improve in these areas.
My Co-founder, James Lawrence, hosts our Smarter Marketer podcast. To close out each episode, he asks his guest for their one piece of marketing or career advice. Some of these quotes are featured below. Each and every guest is successful, but their advice is often unique and sometimes contradicts another guest. I believe this is because you become most valuable by spending time developing those things you love and have a natural ability in.
Ask yourself, what gets you out of bed in the morning? Which parts of your marketing role give you energy? In which areas does improvement feel almost effortless?
There might not be a single path to pursue when it comes to being more valuable, but some marketing activities are more impactful than others. Here are what I consider to be the most valuable traits of a marketer.
“Marketers, no matter how creative they want to be, have to come from a place of understanding data.”
Ashton Bishop, CEO, Step Change
You need to get really good at data, but not in the genius-level mathematician-type way you might think. Despite what you may have read or assumed, data never contains all the answers. It’ll have some valuable insights, some costly distractions, a bunch of misleading or outright incorrect answers, and most importantly, it will almost certainly be completely silent on some of the most important things you need to make decisions on, especially when it comes to building out a well-rounded marketing strategy.
I like the term ‘data-informed’ a lot more than ‘data-driven’. Data is a valuable tool for marketers, but it should never be the primary driver of our decisions. A valuable marketer knows which answers they will find in their data and which answers will come from experience, audience insights and more.
“Think in terms of revenue.”
Axel Sukianto, Marketing Director, UpGuard
Valuable marketers understand money. That is, the role marketing can play in making money for their organisations. You might spend your day thinking about traffic, conversions, leads, sales, CPA or ROAS, but ultimately these metrics describe marketing performance, not overall organisational performance.
If you want a seat at the table when big decisions are being made, you need to be able to talk about money and outcomes. Take the time to understand what your organisation truly needs to meet its goals, and figure out how your marketing activities can not only help it get there but also how your activities can be seen to have made a difference.
When speaking with business leaders, show them you understand and are working towards their business goals, not just your marketing goals and metrics.
“...have an inquisitive mind. So expose yourself to as much as you can.”
Stuart Jaffray, Managing Director at Green Hat
Marketing is a dynamic field, and staying stagnant is a recipe for obsolescence. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, read blogs, receive emails, run tests, learn from the greats and invest in continuous learning. Your ability to adapt and innovate will set you apart.
Be warned, there is too much to learn and plenty of rabbit holes ready to distract you while adding no value. Understand what you need to achieve and seek to improve in ways that will assist you and your organisation.
“Know who you’re trying to reach.”
Andy Scales, Founder & Director, CampaignLab
A valuable marketer places the customer at the heart of everything. Take the time to understand their audience's pain points, needs, and desires. Create content and campaigns that provide solutions and add genuine value to customer’s lives. Knowing how to build trust and deliver value for your audience is the foundation of long-term success.
“If content is chemistry wrapped in story, how will you redefine story to win the hearts and minds of the conscious consumer?”
Anders Sörman-Nilsson, Futurist and Founder, Thinque
In a world bombarded with advertisements, what makes a marketer truly valuable is the ability to tell compelling stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression. Start by understanding your brand's narrative, values, and mission. Then, craft stories that resonate with your target audience, evoking emotion and connecting personally.
“...find your agencies, your trusted relationship and just love them hard.”
Lindsay Rogers, Managing Director & Co-founder, Chello
No marketer is an island. Collaborate with other departments within your organisation, such as sales and customer support, to gain a holistic understanding of your business. Find great external partners and agencies who make you better at what you do, and partner with other brands or influencers to expand your reach and leverage their expertise.
“Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.”
Darren Woolley, Founder & Global CEO, TrinityP3
Valuable marketers are always in a state of improvement. After each campaign, take the time to analyse what worked and what didn't. Be open to feedback and willing to iterate. Continuous improvement is the path to long-term success.
Never forget that as a marketer, you have a significant amount of control over how valuable you are to your team and your organisation. Be curious, customer-centric, and data-informed. Be a storyteller and a collaborator. And always be measuring and iterating.
David Lawrence is the MD and Co-Founder of Rocket, an award-winning Australian digital marketing agency. He is also the co-author of the Amazon #1 best-selling marketing book 'Smarter Marketer'. David has presented at several events including Inbound, Search Marketing Summit, Mumbrella360, CEO Institute and a variety of seminars and in-house sessions.
David has built his expertise from a diverse career, starting with an economics degree before jumping into all things web in the late 90s.
Today, David is Rocket's Managing Director and is known for his ability to find clarity in the bigger picture. He is highly respected as a digital marketing authority, sharing his expertise with an extensive network here in Australia and around the world.