10 Skills Marketing Professionals Need Right Now

portrait of Stephen Gaffney
Stephen Gaffney
Read Full Bio

Contributing Writer

Stephen Gaffney is a marketing consultant with over 25 years' experience working with global brands in a variety of industries. In addition to covering career and business topics for BestColleges, he writes about being a parent or guardian to college...
Updated on May 3, 2023
Learn more about our editorial process

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

E-commerce | Communication | Technical Marketing | Data Analysis | Strategic Planning | Graphic Design | Product Management | Project Management | Behavioral Science | Foreign Language

Traditional marketing roles are getting harder to find. Today, companies look for marketers with specific skill sets in business-to-business marketing and e-commerce, where most of the higher-paying jobs are. Some of these marketing careers include the following:

  • Minus Sm
    Marketing communication manager
  • Minus Sm
    Marketing operations manager
  • Minus Sm
    Product marketing manager
  • Minus Sm
    Marketing project manager
  • Minus Sm
    Digital marketing manager
  • Minus Sm
    Channel marketing manager
  • Minus Sm
    E-commerce marketing manager
  • Minus Sm
    Consumer marketing manager
  • Minus Sm
    Account-based marketing manager

While many marketing skills specific to today's complex digital environment can be learned on the job, some can be strengthened and refined while pursuing your marketing degree. Taking elective courses, minoring in a subject, double majoring, earning a certificate or certification, or completing an internship can help you develop these skills and enhance your career prospects upon graduation.

Top 10 Skills Needed for Marketing Today

E-commerce Skills

If you're aiming for a career in marketing, it's extremely helpful to have skills in e-commerce. Most businesses sell products via e-commerce platforms either on their own websites or through seller marketplaces like Amazon.

Businesses hiring people to market their products want to see e-commerce experience related to digital campaign management, campaign reporting, marketing plan development, on-page conversion strategies, social media marketing, and more.

Although entry-level job candidates aren't expected to know everything, the more e-commerce skills you can highlight on your resume or cover letter, the better your chance of standing out. You might consider interning for an e-commerce company or taking an online course on e-commerce.

Some business schools offer courses that focus on e-commerce or feature e-commerce as part of a more general business management program. Courses in information technology, merchandising, analytics, behavioral science, and social media can also help you acquire related skills and experience.

Communication Skills

Marketing communication jobs are in high demand in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Marketing communication requires a specific and sought-after skill set that includes writing, editing, social media management, influencer marketing, content development, and event marketing.

Communication skills are essential across all types of marketing positions, and job applicants with communication experience may have an advantage over other candidates.

College courses in writing, editing, journalism, communication, psychology, and social media can help you acquire these skills.

Technical Marketing Skills

Any marketing position you apply for will rely on your having a good understanding of the technical marketing landscape, especially as it relates to marketing automation. Nearly every organization that markets products or services to consumers or businesses uses marketing automation technology.

These sophisticated tools can generate qualified sales leads, track user behavior, communicate with customers, manage projects, place ads, collaborate with teams, share content, and much more. Most of these tools can be learned on the job, but it can be helpful to have some experience using them and a basic understanding of how they work.

Taking courses in information technology, computer systems, programming, and business analytics will give you an edge on the job market. You may also consider enrolling in a digital marketing certificate program that trains you in using automation tools.

Data Analysis Skills

Just about every position in marketing involves data analysis. Marketers use data to research and identify trends, develop strategies, analyze purchasing behavior and buying patterns, measure campaign performance, forecast sales, and optimize campaign performance.

Knowing how to study, manipulate, and interpret data using a variety of analytics tools and software is one of the keys to launching a successful marketing career.

You can learn data analysis skills through courses in data analysis, business analytics, statistics, economics, marketing research, behavioral science, and closely related areas of study. Enrolling in a digital marketing certificate program or earning a digital marketing certification can also help you develop your data analysis skills.

Strategic Planning Skills

Strategic planning involves the ability to define a vision and strategy, articulate value propositions and key messaging, and set objectives to best achieve your marketing goals.

All marketing positions involve strategic planning. Being able to think strategically and implement tactics based on sound strategy is a key component of marketing.

Courses in economics, business management, marketing communication, psychology, and behavioral science can help sharpen your ability to think strategically.

Graphic Design Skills

Marketers often design marketing and promotional materials themselves or oversee the work of designers to make sure the materials align with campaign branding, style, and tone. It helps to have a good eye for design if you want to go into marketing.

Most colleges offer courses in graphic design, and you can also find online courses and tutorials. Gaining experience in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, or similar design software is also a good way to build these skills.

Product Management Skills

Jobs related to product marketing are usually in high demand across multiple industries. Product marketers help ensure that the company fully understands customer needs and builds products to meet those needs.

Having familiarity with the entire product development and management process benefits not only product marketers but anyone in marketing positions where interaction with suppliers, product developers, and consumers is part of the job.

Many universities offer coursework in product management or closely related subjects, such as product development, project management, supply chain management, and product engineering. You can also find online product management certificate and certification programs.

Project Management Skills

To effectively carry out a marketing campaign, marketers need a good understanding of the project management cycle, which includes project planning, execution, and review. Defining project goals, communicating with key stakeholders, and identifying intermediate steps and deadlines in a project are all essential for the day to day work of a marketer.

Business schools often offer courses related to project management as part of their core curriculum. A variety of project management certificate and certification programs are available online as well.

Behavioral Science Skills

Most jobs in marketing require a good understanding of consumer behavior as it relates to buying habits and purchasing patterns. Understanding consumer behavior helps businesses determine what influences consumers' buying decisions, which can help these businesses sell more products and services.

Students wanting to pursue a career in marketing can enhance their behavioral skill set by taking courses in behavioral science, psychology, and economics.

Foreign Language Skills

College students who enter the workplace able to communicate in a second language often have a significant advantage over other job candidates. This can be especially true in the field of marketing, where many multinational corporations seek candidates with conversational foreign language skills.

Whether you're marketing to businesses or directly to consumers, being conversant in a language such as Mandarin, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, and other popular international business languages will grant you access to more jobs.

All colleges and universities offer foreign language courses. Many marketing students choose to minor or double major in a foreign language. Additionally, a variety of foreign language courses, certificate programs, and other language learning tools are available online.

Feature Image: Busakorn Pongparnit / Moment / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.