How to become a great marketer

Even without experience

With all that’s happening in the world, many people have difficulty finding new jobs. I’ve heard people sending over 200 job applications without getting a job. Therefore I want to help people looking for a job in the field of marketing by sharing my knowledge. Whether you are looking for your first marketing job, or trying to make the next step in your marketing career. I have created a series of blogs to summarize my learnings of the past 5 years, both in the field of marketing and from the workplace itself.

This series of blogs has the goal to get you a step ahead of the competition, even if you don’t have any marketing experience. This series of blogs is designed to give you the mindset to become a great marketer.

In this series of blogs we are going to analyze the steps a great marketer takes to optimize a company from 0 to 100. I’m going to explain to you the steps I take from the moment I start optimizing a company for growth, and I’m looking forward to having you do the same.

1. The difference between a good and great marketer

Our journey to becoming a great marketer starts off with understanding the difference between a good and a great marketer. How to become a great marketer if you don’t even know what is perceived as being good at it? Here’s my opinion on the difference.

Most marketers learn marketing from a bottom-up approach. You may have come across a component of online marketing via an internship, you wanted to create your own website, or you switched to online marketing from another field because there’s simply a lot of business in the field. No matter the reason you got into online marketing, it generally starts out as follows.

Your first point of contact is often either SEO, SEA, Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization or Social Advertising. Whichever field you came across, chances are you either read blogs or did some sort of online course to learn the basics.

Whichever component first came upon your path successfully, becomes the foundation of your knowledge. Over the years you may learn about different components and diversify your knowledge. But your foundation (or specialty) often remains your first touchpoint. For through this component you have experienced your first successes.

I promised to set you up with the knowledge not to become a good marketer, but to become a great marketer. From my own online marketing experience and all the people I’ve worked with in the past five years I’ve noticed a clear difference in approach of any given situation. 

A good marketer has a solution for every case.
A great marketer starts with why.

To show you where the difference lies between the two, let’s take a look at a case. 

When presented with the following marketing case from a shoe selling company: 

Shoe Z is under performing, we want to increase its sales by the end of this year with 50%.

This could be the plan of approach of a good marketer:

  1. Let’s first dive into the current sales data. How much is Shoe Z underperforming? We can find the data by diving into the goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set by the company.
  2. Define the audience. Who is the typical customer of Shoe Z?
  3. Competitor analysis. What’s the competition doing with Shoe Z? Price, organic rankings, advertising channels, etc.

Then a conclusion of a good marketer could be: 

To increase the sales of Shoe Z by 50% this year we are going to do the following:

  1. We will start with optimizing the SEO of the shoe page itself. To increase our organic reach and our conversions.
  2. We are going to create a landing page to promote Shoe Z to females between the age of 22 and 35 living in the UK. Because if we target more specific, we can increase our conversion rate and so generate more sales.
  3. We add motivators designed specifically for the audience to the page –> A free extra bracelet to match the shoe that competitors don’t have which females between the age 22 and 35 love. So that we have ‘an extra’ to convince the audience, and now we don’t have to compete on price with the competition.
  4. Additionally we are going to create a multichannel campaign in which we reach out to the audience previously mentioned. We will set up a flow in which people who visited the landing page and didn’t buy Shoe Z are targeted. They will automatically receive an email with a special deal and are added to our cross channel remarketing efforts. In which we try to convince the visitor through focusing on different USPs of Shoe Z via multiple channels.

The good marketer came up with quite a concrete plan to increase the sales of Shoe Z. But before we analyze further let’s take a look at the reply to the same case from a great marketer. 

Shoe Z is under performing, we want to increase its sales by the end of this year with 50%.”

The great marketer starts by asking the following questions:

  1. In what way is Shoe Z underperforming and by how much? (Total sales, revenue, profit)
  2. Why specifically focus on Shoe Z when it is under performing?
  3. What company goals achieved will make this year seen as successful?

Possible answers from the company could be as follows:

  1. We forecasted to have 2000 Shoe Z sales this year, at the current pace we will only reach 800 sales. Our revenue goals for this year are to grow 30% compared to last year, Shoe Z was forecasted to generate 12% of the total growth.
  2. We have done a market analysis and concluded much potential demand from a shoe like Shoe Z. Our competitors also sell a variant of Shoe Z and have success in doing so.
  3. Reaching our 30% growth in total revenue in comparison to last year while also increasing our profitability.

Now these are the actions a great marketer goes through herself/himself when presented with the information above:

  1. The factor of success for the year is unrelated to the sales of Shoe Z, as the goal is to increase revenue by 30% while also increasing profitability.
  2. What is the top 10 in current best selling shoes?
  3. How great a percentage of the total market do you currently reach with the 10 current best selling shoes. Is there room for an increase?
  4. Start with the shoe with most potential for growth within the current top 10. As getting something that’s already performing good to perform better is generally always easier than getting a product from zero to something.
  5. While first focusing on reaching the total company goal (perhaps through other shoes than Shoe Z), it is important to make a decision for Shoe Z. Will we, while focusing on other shoes, start with optimizing the customer journey for Shoe Z as well. Or will we leave it be for now. Or should we not focus on it at all.

The difference between the two approaches is important. While the good marketer may have a good idea to promote Shoe Z, it might never reach the company growth goals like the great marketer’s. This is because the good marketer has a bottom-up approach to the question at hand. The first thing the good marketer does when presented with the case is think about ‘how’: How can I increase the sales of shoe Z with the knowledge I have? The person starts to think at the channel it’s most experienced with and then on to the next, and so forth.

Meanwhile the great marketer doesn’t start with thinking about a solution for the question at hand. The great marketer first dives into the roots of the problem. The great marketer starts all the way at the top, why did they make this case in the first place? Hence, the great marketer is able to reach the best results.

Before you take any case, you need to first understand what defines success. What result will end in a successful year for the company? In the case above, we learned that the success of the company was actually unrelated to the sales of a specific shoe. What defined success was to generate a 30% increase in revenue while also increasing profitability. Nowhere in this paragraph do you hear anything about ‘Shoe Z’. Shoe Z was brought to life because the company thought that would lead to the success. As a great marketer, you need to think for yourself. What is best for this company.

You might have the best bait in the world, but if you’re fishing in a swimming pool you are not likely to catch a fish.

How to become a great marketer
Fishing in a swimming pool (unreal scale)

But if you were to fish in an aquarium with nothing but a rod and some simple bait, chances are you might actually catch something.~ T.Joosten (words of wisdom, haha)

To think as a great marketer you need to have holistic knowledge about a company as a whole. Because you need to be able to ask and understand the ‘why’ question to whatever case you’ve received. To be a great marketer means to look at the situation top-down instead of bottom-up. Don’t start with what you want to do, start with what the company needs most to get the best results.

But that is not all, because you also need to understand where to start after that ‘why’ question has been answered. We need to prepare you with the knowledge of knowing ‘why’ you need to do something, and then provide you with plenty of options on ‘how’ to get the best results in doing so.

During my next blog we start our journey, preparing you to make the first step in becoming a great marketer. In our first chapters we will focus on the ‘why’, in the later chapters we are focusing on ‘how’ you can get the results you need. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “How to become a great marketer”

  1. Good approach Thijs! Very interesting for an old fashioned (before digital) marketeer like me. Love your words of wisdom!

    • I’m glad you liked it! The next blog is to be published monday the 11th of January. Then we’ll get started in preparing your mindset to focus on growth.


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