Marketing and Communications Are No Longer Just About Talking Well

Cat or Alien?

For a long while, the professions of marketing and PR have been built around one’s ability to convey messages in an effective way. Marketers exist to help sales fill their funnel. PR has a few different jobs, but you can bundle them loosely into “communicate a message or position.” (Those who bother to quibble with the rough sketch definitions I’ve left here are the same kind of people who probably said, “That’s not really a glacier smashing into our ship; I’d call it an iceberg.”)

Where Are You Spending Your Time?

If you are like most every marketing and PR professional in the world, your company (and thus, you) are shifting your efforts to the web. You might not have all your eggs in this basket, but if you just go back a few years on budget allocations, you’ll see it quite clearly: money, and thus you, are moving to the web.

Now, how technically proficient are you? If you answer, “I can tweet, and I can update the Facebook page,” and you’re smiling like you’re on top of your game, maybe not so much. You see, that’s typing. Most folks can type. Not well, it turns out, because very few people bothered to take typing lessons (though we all have jobs that require typing), but hey.

The Rise of the Technical MarCom Specialist

What will be required of your job in the coming months? (One could answer that it’s pretty important to have all these skills a few years back, but let’s just roll forward.)

You’ll need to know how to:

  • Shoot, edit, annotate, and upload video content.
  • Track short link stats and data, including creating different links for different platforms.
  • Configure and read the reports of listening technology like Salesforce Radian6 and Trackur.
  • Manage an acquisition database (that which comes before CRM), to help feed lead generation.
  • Edit simple HTML for blog posts and the like.
  • Read and interpret Google Analytics.

If you’re able to do all this, give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re not exactly feeling savvy about it all, start paying attention to the free and inexpensive learning opportunities you can find on the web. There are plenty of people offering courses or webinars or whatever about all this. It requires that you actually take a moment and do the work, though. You can’t just wait for the boss to invite you to learn it. Hint: by the time she or he comes to tell you that you need this kind of knowledge, they’ll be introducing you to your replacement.

That’s Obviously Not a Full List

By all means, you can add a few dozen more technical skills to that list, if you’d like. But my point is the same. Technical skills are now a backbone requirement to what you’re doing as a marketer or PR professional. Not every single eentsy weensy little task needs these skills yet, but how soon before they do? Will you be ready? Are you already?

Because when I’m speaking with the professionals at many organizations of late, there seems to be a high concentration of people who know how to speak the language, who know how to talk in terms of tech as it relates to marketing, but they still can’t really play a note. It’s time to get that rectified.

The Future Is Now

Maybe you or your company aren’t there yet. Maybe you’re still back in the “Think we should have a blog?” conversation. Pick up any newspaper (if yours still exists), watch any TV channel for 40 minutes in a row, and you’ll see the signs of this digital world encroaching on yours. Go to your local flea market and watch them use Square to handle your payment. The future is now. Are you ready?

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