Article | 3 min read

Essential marketing skills every person should know

By Ilan Nass

Last updated March 6, 2014

Anyone involved in business has a role to play in marketing. In today’s highly competitive world, marketing sits across every function of a business, and it’s not just down to “The Marketing Department”.

Marketing can be a very complex subject, but anyone can develop a few of the core skills and see the results of their efforts. You may feel it’s something best left to the experts, but there are some essential marketing skills that can make a huge difference to your success in business.

1. Understand the 80/20 rule
Everyone’s heard of the 80/20 Rule, but you may not realize how important it is in the world of marketing. Also known as Pareto’s Principle, the rule tells us that eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of your customers. The actual percentages may vary, but essentially you have to recognize where your profits come from and specifically target those customers. Your marketing and advertising budget should take account of this, or you will waste time and effort.

2. Customer segmentation
You should understand the different types of customers you deal with and tailor your approach for them. There are hundreds of ways you can segment customers, and only you can decide which is right for your business. For example, you could segment customers based on their age, shopping behavior, their average monthly order, or their geographical location. Once you have segmented your customers into groups, you can develop strategies for the best way to reach out to them.

3. Marketing communications
Communication is everything in marketing. If you can’t get your messages out to an audience, your business will shrivel and die. Marketing communications is about understanding the needs of your audience and finding the best way to talk to them. It may be a mix of face to face visits, email marketing, newsletters and advertising, or it could be something far more simple. Good marketing communications tell a story and use emotion and personal examples to stimulate interest.

4. How to make your company stand out
Most markets are saturated with similar products and services, and the way to beat the competition is to make your company stand out. A very small difference could put you streets ahead. The obvious approach is to be the least expensive, but customers are more sophisticated nowadays, and other strategies work better. Take a look at successful companies like Apple, and consider what makes them stand out from the competition.

5. Social media marketing
Just a couple of years ago social media marketing was seen as a passing fad. Sites and services like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are now part of daily life, and they are powerful marketing tools when used in the right way. Social media can be used to identify and market to very specific customer groups for very little cost. Sites like Facebook allow you to develop conversations with customers and prospects, and you can capture feedback and ideas in an instant. Social media allows you to develop your company’s brand and to establish yourself as an expert in unique and interesting ways.

Technology and the way we do business has changed beyond recognition over the past decade; marketing has had to adapt at a rapid pace. Traditional marketing skills still have value, but the modern marketer has to develop new skills to respond to change.

This post was originally published by Zopim. Since joining Zendesk, Zopim has been welcomed into our product family as Zendesk Chat, along with a number of treasured belongings.