The role of a marketer, whether at the director level or an internship, has always been challenging, especially when it comes to the ever-changing marketing landscape and options available to connect with your audience. Someone with a keen eye for solid ideas, creative, and strategy can be wildly successful by mostly depending on the navigational direction of their intuition or gut. While I strongly believe these skills will always be useful, the future will slowly diminish their validity by way of analytics, facts and pure numbers. The future of marketing positions will require a skill level that is highly dependent on analytical tasks and analysis.
In other words, marketers need to find their inner Spock or Sheldon.
Statistics and Data
The future of marketing’s core (pretty much already the present) will be data. This includes compiling, analyzing and making decisions based on present and historical information. Marketers must be able to recognize patterns within the ever-increasing data and understand which patterns are meaningful and which are not. To do this, we must have the ability to create an android version of ourselves where we’ll make decisions based on the numbers and patterns. I don’t want to eliminate the importance of your gut, or instincts. But numbers don’t lie.
Using PivotTables and other advanced Excel skills is a great start on your path to becoming a master data analyzer. These nifty Excel data-visualization tools can let you quickly extract incredible insights from large amounts of data. Below are a few great resources to help you get started:
- Working with Pivot Tables in Excel 2010 – Part 1 (video)
- Working with Pivot Tables in Excel 2010 – Part 2 (video)
- Working with Pivot Tables in Excel 2010 – Part 3 (video)
At the heart of almost every marketing activity will be analytics. You must learn how to work within your particular program and make intelligent decisions based on the numbers. There are numerous platforms, with the most popular being Google Analytics (GA). Below are a few tools to help master this software:
This is the official learning hub from Google. Believe it or not, it is very useful and the first place I would recommend if you’re just getting started.
Our friends at KISS Metrics have put together a fantastic list of resources for maximizing your usage.
This is just one of many great articles on Search Engine Watch that can help shed some light on creating and analyzing reports in Google. This site has everything from the basics to custom dashboards and advanced techniques.
Social networks are very, very powerful channels of communication and will only get more powerful as younger generations enter the workforce and increase their collective appetite and capacity for purchasing consumer goods. If you don’t think your organization should be using social media for either consumer or B2B purposes, then you’re behind the times and fooling yourself.
As the role of marketing changes and greater responsibilities are piled on to the day-to-day task list of CMO’s and their staffs, the use of tools to help get things done becomes critical. There are simply too many tools and scenarios improved by software applications to name in this post. However, I’ve highlighted a few areas of everyday marketing responsibilities where tools can help.
Social Media Tools
I don’t subscribe to the idea of automating anything you do on social media. However, tools can help make the process of finding people, following people and managing your daily social tasks much easier. A few of my favorites are noted below:
I love this tool – it allows you to easily find who you’re following and whether they’re active, following you back, have an avatar … and also manage everyone in a snap.
- Tweetdeck and Hootsuite
Both of these tools are great at managing your daily Twitter activities. There’s a constant flow of heated debates on the advantages and disadvantages of both, which I won’t get into here. I like both of them, and tend to use Tweetdeck. Try both out (free versions available) and make up your own mind.
Twitilist makes managing lists easy. It gives an overview of your followers and lists, allowing you to simply drag and drop followers from your lists.
- For a categorized list of the greatest Twitter tools and applications, check out Fathom’s Twitter Tools Directory.
Web Marketing & Google Chrome
Google Chrome is my favorite browser by far. It’s fast to pull up pages, quickly loads, almost never crashes, and rarely has annoying updates. The browser is easily customizable with a seemingly unlimited number for extensions, of which most are free. Some of my favorite extensions are below. They can all be found using the Google Chrome Store.
Chrome Tools and Extensions
- SEO for Chrome: This little tool allows you to quickly analyze a site from an SEO perspective … love it!
- SEO Site Tools: Similar to the above extension but with a different look and feel .
- Google Global: This tool allows you to see what Google results look like in different locations, including countries and cities.
- Eye Dropper: Select a color from any Web page and get its RPG code.
- Paint.net: If you don’t have a copy of PhotoShop, but need to fulfill complex image editing, Paint.net is the place to go. The tool is free, easy to use and can handle just about anything you throw at it. It’s also easy to get in-depth tutorials by performing a quick Google search and browsing the message boards.
- YouSendIt: Easily organize all of your documents in the cloud and make the information quickly accessible to anyone on your team with full versioning control. [Ed. full disclosure: this company is also a Fathom client.]
- Google Alerts: Get instant alerts on just about anything. This would certainly include your brand, your products and your competition.
- Screen-sharing: There are lots of tools out there to share your computer screen with others, my favorite being GoTo Meeting, but there are also free tools like Join.me.
- TED.com: Sometimes you just need inspiration and new ideas. There’s not a better place than TED.com to go about this.
- Flipboard and RSS Feeds: I love integrating all of my RSS feeds into flipboard and categorizing everything by interest: Web marketing, marketing, finance, stocks, etc. Flipboard allows me to systematically filter all of the incoming info and quickly assess what is and is not valuable. I can also share the info I find useful with social integration capabilities.