Ah, the majestic unicorn grazing peacefully on rainbow-colored grass, its lone horn shimmering in the moonlight. Nevermind the fact that it’s a fantastical creature, it signifies extreme rarity, something that’s a one-in-a-million type of deal. The same can be said of an exceptional marketer — a unicorn marketer, if you will.
Does that describe you? If not, would you like it to?
Marketing professionals are a dime a dozen, especially today, but not all of them are created equal. If you want to stand above the competition and make a name for yourself, you’ll need to hone some specific traits and characteristics.
What Makes an Exceptional Marketer?
The exceptional or “unicorn” marketer has several traits, including the following 11:
Today’s marketers spend a lot of time obsessing over data. What works and why? What doesn’t work? What can you do to improve future campaigns? What will turn your customers away?
A skilled marketer must be able to take raw data and decipher it to build actionable intel and strategies. They’ll constantly be assessing performance, customer behavior and sentiment and available revenue to discern what’s best for the organization and its audience.
2. An Excellent Storyteller
In its simplest form, a marketing campaign is nothing more than a compelling story. Stories are what evoke strong emotions and provide the best experiences for potential customers. They can also bring together a community, especially when there’s something or someone at the center to root for. The best marketers are also the ones who can tell the best stories.
Unless you land an opportunity working for a multi-billion dollar company, you’re going to have a limited marketing budget, and that means an incredibly restrictive supply of resources. You should expect that you’ll sometimes have to make something amazing out of absolutely nothing.
Exceptional marketers are incredibly resourceful because they can solve problems and build success even with fewer resources than they need.
More importantly, they’re always efficient and reliable.
Business, in general, can be a cutthroat industry, particularly when you have plans to climb the ranks. But it’s just as competitive when you’re dealing with the wider market, as other companies and rival organizations will be vying for the same customers. Therefore, good marketers constantly strive to be better and are never satisfied with just being “good enough.” They need to stand out and stand tall.
Despite some of the other, more ego-centric traits — like being driven and fearless — sincerity is an absolute must in marketing. Being both humble and open-minded means there’s plenty of room to grow and learn. It also fosters a more genuine, sincere nature, especially when it comes to admitting one’s mistakes.
But sincerity really matters in dealing with customers and audiences, an element that no successful business can thrive without.
Marketing is not a field where you can dawdle. You have to be on the bleeding edge, up-to-date with the latest trends and topics. Making things even more difficult is the fact that everything moves extremely fast. Nearly every year, while product promotion remains valid, promotional trends and popular topics change, and by that time, if you haven’t already been using them, you’re much too late.
Therefore, a marketer should always have their finger on the pulse of current events, and they should know everything there is to know about popular trends. You don’t want to be the guy who thinks he’s cool but is really a decade too late.
Here’s a frame of reference. Fortnite is still ridiculously popular, but it’s been beaten to death with a stick, so a smart marketer would have moved on by now. Despite that fact, it’s a safe bet that someone somewhere is making the mistake of incorporating it in their latest marketing campaign. Sorry folks, you missed the train.
A good marketer is objective-based. They must know and understand their goals, what it will take to achieve them and what sub-tasks must be prioritized to make it happen. Marketers who set goals are 429 percent more likely to reach success than those who don’t. Furthermore, 81 percent of goal-setting marketers are able to achieve them.
The exceptional marketer is ever-curious and never satisfied with their level of knowledge or expertise. They’re always willing to ask questions, the most difficult ones, and they’re always open to exploring new avenues or outcomes. You can’t grow or improve if you’re not willing to consume new ideas and information.
There are many decisions in the field of marketing that pose huge risks, yet marketers must always be willing to take the leap. An exceptional marketer is never afraid to try something new, nor are they intimidated by a challenge. In fact, the best marketers revel at the thought of achieving a difficult goal. Coming out on top often means sticking to your guns no matter how scary a campaign may be.
Because there are risks, because the industry moves so fast, and because customers can sometimes be unpredictable, mistakes are going to happen. Campaigns will fail. Money will be lost. People may even get angry or upset. But a good marketer remains accountable for their decisions and actions and takes responsibility. It’s only once you admit what went wrong or what mistakes you made that you can start to improve. Accept responsibility and learn from your mistakes — the best of the best always do.
The best marketers are heavily involved and invested in their communities. They’re always aware of their surroundings, including current events, and that means having their ear close to the ground by being involved with people — the ones who matter most.
While running a campaign, for instance, an exceptional marketer engages customers via social media and similar platforms to understand what’s going on, how people feel and what that means for their marketing strategies.
Oh Look, a Unicorn!
It’s easy to find marketers that possess a few of these traits, maybe even six or seven, but it’s incredibly rare to find marketing professionals who have all of them. If you’re one of the lucky few that fit the bill, it’s time to start putting these skills to work! If you don’t, just remember, practice makes perfect!