How to Future-Proof Your Marketing Career

I have made a conscious decision to remain on the tools in my marketing career, irrespective of the level of role I have. This decision was the right one and was reinforced by my experience when I returned to the digital marketing landscape after taking four years away to have our children. It genuinely felt like a quantum shift in just four years, so many new tools and processes - AND acronyms. I also had the gender pay gap to tackle, but that’s for another blog!

Founder / Head of Growth
May 3, 2023
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

I founded Virtual Marketers over five years ago now, and it’s full of amazing marketers who know all of the tools and tricks combined. BUT if all else fails how would that serve me as a marketing practitioner should I ever need to be flying solo again in the future i.e. they all came down with covid at one time? 

The pandemic alone taught so many of us that adopting new tools and processes was essential to be able to continue to provide value in a business and be integral should it downsize.

Marketing is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field, that’s one of the reasons I LOVE it, with new technologies and trends emerging all the time. To future-proof my career in marketing, it's been important for me to stay ahead of these changes and develop the skills and knowledge that will be in demand in the years to come, as more and more marketers enter the market. 

I’m trying to future proof my career for my late 40s and 50s. I’m 44 now, so I like to plan ahead.

I also get bored easily and love the idea of learning new digital tools and applying my experience and instincts and setting up digital marketing campaigns for the client’s I work with gives me joy. 

This means I can be proactive in my approach and provide an all-round service that would meet the needs of our clients; this could include things like creating content, managing social media platforms, and tracking analytics. 

Additionally, being able to fly solo means I can provide cover when our Virtual Marketers team takes time off. This ensures they are able to relax and recharge without having to worry about their work. I hate nothing more than people feeling they need to log in while away to check everything is OK - not OK in my book.

Of course it also gives me the opportunity to stay on top of the latest developments and trends in the industry and to apply them to our work, whether I’m reviewing or creating marketing stuff. 

Here are a few of my tips for future-proofing a marketing career:

Don’t specialise – diversify

Gone are the days of specialising in one area of marketing only. For example blog content writing, social media post development and email newsletters are all intertwined, so focussing on ONLY creating content for a channel, would be problematic to then apply your intel across a content strategy encompassing multiple channels and segments of audiences. 

To be future-proof in marketing, it's important to have a broad range of skills and experience. This could include everything from creative writing and design to project management and public speaking. The more well-rounded your skill set, the better positioned you'll be to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as they arise.

With the number of awesome tools around, some of the traditional roles in marketing have been absorbed into AI or made a lot more fluent requiring less specialists in the market. I recommend we go back to the days of generalist marketing (when I was cutting my teeth)  - learn a bit of everything and have a few strong spaces you prefer to hone your skills in, BUT don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. 

Stay up-to-date with emerging trends and technologies

To stay relevant in the fast-paced world of marketing, it's crucial to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. This includes staying informed and using the latest social media platforms, learning about emerging marketing automation tools, and exploring the potential of new channels like voice search and virtual reality - which as a type are yesterday's news.

Marketing tools are constantly being updated and replaced with newer and better versions. Staying on top of the latest tools and trends helps marketers to stay competitive and relevant, and it’s something you need to consistently practice and make time for.

Provide better value to your company

By staying on the tools, you can offer your company more value by providing more effective marketing strategies and tactics. This can help you build stronger relationships with your peers or managers and increase your chances of success and promotion.

Digital marketing is an essential part of any modern marketing strategy, so it's important to have a strong understanding of digital channels like search engine optimisation, social media, and email marketing. Consider taking courses or pursuing certifications in these areas to stay ahead of the curve. There are so many online tutorials, I genuinely believe there is not excuse for someone not knowing how something works if it’s an accessible tool or common marketing practice.

Marketing tools allow marketers to collect and analyse customer data, which is crucial for understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors. By using the right tools, marketers can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, which can help them to create more effective marketing campaigns. These are essential factors in the success of digital marketing.

Cultivate a strong data-driven mindset

As marketing becomes increasingly data-driven, it's essential to have a solid grasp of analytics and be able to use data to inform marketing decisions. Make sure you're comfortable with tools like Google Analytics and can effectively use data to optimise campaigns and measure ROI.

Keep your relationships strong

Finally, remember the importance of building relationships in the marketing industry. Attend industry events, connect with peers on social media, and seek out mentorship opportunities to build your network and learn from others in the field. The more connections you have, the more job opportunities and knowledge you'll have to stay abreast of emerging trends and find new opportunities for growth and development.

Staying on the tools is essential for success in all types of digital marketing roles. It allows marketers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, better understand their customers, increase efficiency and productivity, and collaborate more effectively with their teams. 

AND the most important outcome is that you can be valuable to your current employer by being able to roll up your sleeves, and whatever level in the organisation you’re in, and get the work done. 

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