The 10 Best Digital Marketing Skills to Learn in 2023

 

It's not been easy to keep up, has it? 2023 has been a seriously busy year in digital marketing.

While we're not all living in the metaverse just yet, it does feel like we're accelerating through an unfamiliar technological landscape.

Thankfully, despite things changing at lightning speeds, humans work on a longer timescale. The core principles of marketing aren't going anywhere. There's no need to panic.

But there is a need for marketers to evolve their skillset so they can reach the right potential customers and talk to them the right way.

In this article, we'll cover some of the latest cutting edge skills and meta-skills that marketers need to succeed. For each skill, we'll provide some pointers on where you can start learning them, too. There's a mix of articles and courses so you can choose how deep you want to go in each topic.

Here are the ten most important digital marketing skills that you and your teams need to learn in 2023.

 

1. General AI principles

We've already seen how generative AI has been revolutionising industries and redefining how we approach problems. As marketers, understanding AI principles isn't just a "nice-to-have," but a "must-have." This is because the pace of this technology is increasing day-by-day, so simply learning how to use a single tool won't really be enough.

Instead, marketers should learn a reasonable amount about the mechanisms of AI, its strengths, limitations, and the ways it processes data to provide outputs. It's the fundamentals that underpin everything else that'll come in super useful in the coming years.

Where to learn this skill

A great starting point is the Generative AI Fundamentals course from Google Cloud Skills Boost. This one-day course delves into the heart of Generative AI, Large Language Models, and Responsible AI, earning you a skill badge to showcase your understanding​​. For a more tailored experience, our AI for Marketing course focuses on how AI principles can supercharge your marketing efforts.

2. Prompt engineering for generative AI

Now that you've got the basics of AI down, you can take it to the next level with Prompt Engineering for Generative AI.

As AI systems become embedded into all different types of modern workflows, this skill will be invaluable. It's about learning how to ask your AI tool the right questions to generate the outputs you need. This skill can dramatically enhance your marketing team's efficiency and effectiveness. In future, you'll probably have a library of prompts ready to use for different work processes.

Where to learn this skill

Where can you learn about Prompt Engineering? While there's no industry-standard dedicated course out there (yet), certain AI thought leaders regularly release micro-courses dedicated to this. In fact, your LinkedIn feed is probably full of them these days, so they could be worth trying out. One great resource for ChatGPT in particular is OpenAI's GPT Best Practices guide. It'll show you how to structure your inputs to get answers much closer to what you want. Otherwise, you'd do well to get hands-on experience with AI tools, experiment with different prompts, and learn by doing.

 

3. Automation and no-code connectivity

You don't have to be a tech guru or qualified developer to automate your marketing workflows. With no-code tools, creating and implementing digital processes is no longer a feat for the tech-savvy alone.

No-code and low-code tools allow you to cut down development time, save costs, and give your marketing campaigns a boost without needing to write a single line of code. They empower non-technical marketers to take control of their online presence.

Where to learn this skill

The rise of no-code tools in marketing has prompted the development of numerous resources to help you navigate this field. Platforms such as Webflow, Zapier, Make, Retable, and Bubble offer a range of features that cater to different marketing needs, from website creation to automation workflows. So their documentation and marketing content can give you a boost. You could also try Makerpad, a learning archive for everything no-code.

 

4. Finding your customers where they hang out

By researching the right channels for your customers, you can meet your audience where they are. It might seem obvious, but too many modern marketers are stuck in 2015, planning their media campaigns like nothing has changed.

Take Gen Z, for example. The most relevant platforms for Gen Z consumers are short-form video-based. So even with the best targeting in the world, you're not going to find them on the Facebook feed – they’ll be watching TikToks, Reels, and Shorts. 

Learning this skill is about understanding today's digital landscape and knowing where your target market spends most of their time and attention. 

In the words of Julia Hoffmann, Director of Google's EMEA Creative Lab: "in 2023, do not try to bring Gen Z audiences into your world, but meet them in theirs." Wherever your chosen demographic is spending your time – are you ready to meet them there?

Where to learn this skill

This is one of the fundamental concepts of customer centricity, which we explain in detail in our course on the topic.

It's also pretty essential to regularly consume industry news, market research, and customer insights. Attending webinars, forums, and industry conferences can also provide valuable insights into your target audience's behaviours and preferences.

 

5. Privacy-centric Marketing

Privacy-centric marketing is the practice of prioritising user privacy while still delivering personalised and relevant content. While marketers have long been aware of the implications of GDPR, this topic is only going to get more important in the coming years.

As consumers become more aware of their privacy rights, they're looking for businesses that respect these rights and provide tools for managing their personal data. 87% of customers say they wouldn't do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices. So it's time to get serious about privacy if you want to win customers' affection.

Where to learn this skill

A broad understanding of privacy laws and regulations to go alongside your digital marketing skills will be beneficial in this field. The Digital Marketing Institute's 'Data Privacy for Marketers' article is a great place to start, as well as this article from Wedia Group. There aren't too many courses out there on this topic, although plenty of digital marketing courses do include a module on it as part of their syllabus.

 

6 . Data-driven storytelling

In the era of big data, the ability to transform complex insights into compelling narratives is crucial. Data-driven storytelling brings raw data to life, creating engaging narratives that can influence decision-making processes and drive change. It's not just about understanding the data; it's about communicating its implications effectively to drive strategic actions.

Where to learn this skill

Developing this skill involves a blend of data visualisation, data analysis, and storytelling. One such program that teaches these skills is the Circus Street Data Storytelling Course.

Additionally, courses in business analytics, data science, and communication are valuable resources for this. As with all the other skills, you have to keep up with recent trends and technologies in the field, while making use of your own personal experiences. Which brands are telling the best stories? What can you learn from them?

7. Inclusive media planning

For so many modern brands, inclusivity is a strategic imperative. Inclusive media planning goes beyond just having better representation in your creative; it's about addressing bias and "embracing the breadth of content your audience consumes."

This can significantly enhance your brand perception by demonstrating respect for diverse consumer segments and reaching them through the right channels.

Inclusivity in your messaging can lead to deeper customer connections, greater brand loyalty, and a positive impact on your bottom line.

Where to learn this skill

This Deloitte deep-dive on inclusivity in marketing is a great place to start. You can also learn about the role identity plays in people's media choices in Google's 'Mirrors & Windows' report, which sheds light on the complex topic of diversity in media channels. Further to this, your marketing teams will have to commit to researching their customers' preferences more thoroughly; some of the key insights you need might only come out in bespoke segmentation research.

 

8. Modern SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice of getting your website and online content more visible on search engines, attracting valuable clicks from readers that turn into paying customers.

But Modern SEO is a dynamic, multifaceted strategy that involves understanding user search intent, mobile-first indexing, the influence of AI, and the rise of voice and visual search. It's an industry that never stays still, and it's always worth investing in.

SEO is a cross-functional skill that doesn't always have a dedicated department, especially in smaller firms. It's seen as being too technical for marketers, and too marketing-focused for developers. If you upskill your marketing team with a reasonable amount of SEO expertise, it could make for a massive competitive advantage.

Where to learn this skill

The Circus Street SEO Strategy Course is a fabulous place to start, equipping you with a bird's-eye view of the SEO landscape before you dive into the technical skills. After this, you might consider something like Tech SEO Pro, which covers the intricacies of technical SEO and will help your teams optimise your online presence. Further skills to look into would be content optimisation and link building.

 

9. Tracking ROI on Campaigns

In times of economic uncertainty, executive teams increasingly want to see the numbers behind their investment. And accurately tracking ROI on marketing campaigns isn't just about measuring success; it's about demonstrating accountability and informing future marketing strategies.

A solid understanding of ROI tracking helps in optimising marketing budget allocation, understanding which campaigns are driving results, and identifying areas for improvement. Equipping your teams with the tools and skills for these is essential.

Where to learn this skill

This can be a cross-departmental skill that involves various competencies. But you don't always need a specialist in data analytics to make it work. Equipping your teams with a basic understanding of tracking metrics can be useful for everyone.

Our Digital Measurement course can benefit every role and department, introducing things like attribution modelling, tracking and segmentation. So your teams won't just understand the data your activities produce, but they'll mine original insight from it. Before embarking on a course, you might also consider reading articles like Hubspot's Simple Guide to Marketing ROI to gain an overview of this important topic.

 

10. Short-Form Video Marketing

Short-form video marketing is changing the way brands engage with audiences. With the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, short videos have become a powerful tool for capturing audience attention, conveying brand stories, and driving engagement within a matter of seconds.

This type of content won't always be appropriate for every business case. But even B2B is changing; plenty of modern B2B brands use platforms like YouTube Shorts to share snippets of longer-form content, like podcasts or product deep-dives.

With the new cohort of AI-based editing tools, your marketing teams will have more editing resources at their disposal than you might expect.

Where to learn this skill

You'd do well to start with the Circus Street 'Video Content Best Practice' course, a solid refresher on how to make video with real impact on the channels people care about. 

After this, you'll want to look into courses that provide insights into storytelling techniques, platform-specific algorithms, and video performance analytics. Make sure your teams can create and execute effective short-form video marketing strategies that resonate with your audiences and drive your desired outcomes.

 

Final thoughts

Despite the breakneck speed of changes in 2023, it's comforting to realise that the heart of marketing – connecting with people – remains steadfast. Now that you know about these ten essential skills and the best resources to master them, it's time for action.

Have your teams dive into the resources, get their hands dirty, and watch the magic unfold. Remember, there's no algorithm for human connection, but understanding these tools brings us closer to the pulse of our audiences.

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