These 4 Traits Set Excellent Marketers Apart From Mediocre Ones. Here’s How to Make Sure You’re Hiring Them.

Key Takeaways

  • Excellent marketers prioritize data-driven decision-making and focus on key metrics to optimize marketing strategies.
  • Great marketers quickly adapt to changes based on performance data and customer insights.
  • Successful marketers avoid complexity by focusing on core business goals and crafting clear, concise messaging.

Hiring and managing a marketing team is challenging for any business, regardless of industry. And without a clear understanding of what excellent marketing actually means, it’s just about impossible to make educated decisions when assessing professionals in this space. When you can both define and recognize excellence in action, you’ll set a team up for success, and there are key characteristics to look for.

An emphasis on hard data

First, excellent marketers keep their focus on key data and metrics. This means going beyond superficialities like number of social media followers or website visitors, and avoiding making decisions based on assumptions or guesswork. Instead, savvy professionals analyze metrics like:

• Sales pipeline generated from marketing efforts

• Cost per lead

• Conversion rates

• Omni-channel ROI

Armed with such information-fueled insights, they optimize strategies to maximize ROI and revenue growth.

Some proven ways to leverage data insights to optimize marketing strategies:

Analyze website data to produce high-performing content: Examine traffic data to understand which pages and types of content resonate most with visitors. Use these insights to produce yet more assets (such as blogs or social media posts) around high-performing topics.

Use email data points to reach the most engaged audiences: Review email marketing metrics like open, click-through and conversion rates to identify which segments or audience lists are most engaged. Then craft targeted campaigns and offers tailored to the most responsive segments.

Go beyond vanity metrics for social media: Monitor social media performance analytically by going deeper than mere number of followers and likes. Instead, identify the best-performing networks, post types and timelines to optimize future content strategies.

Use e-commerce tracking for shopper insights: Use tracking tools from Google Analytics to gain insights into shopping behavior. Discover which products are most popular, which pages drive the most “add to cart”s and where customers tend to fall from the funnel.

Leverage A/B testing: Conduct A/B testing on elements like e-mail subject lines, ad creative and landing pages. You can then pinpoint the highest-converting versions of each element.

Focus on CPL and ROAS for efficiency: Analyze cost per lead (CPL) and return on ad spend (ROAS) across paid channels, then shift resources to campaigns with the best performance.


Quick learning and dependable results

Agility, adaptation and concrete results are key elements that set great marketers apart. Through relentless testing and iteration, the best learn what resonates with an audience and what doesn’t. They are also adaptable — willing to shift strategies based on performance data and new customer insights. Additionally, they don’t cling to failing campaigns purely out of ego, but deftly try new tactics, then double down on what works.

Consider these examples of how quick learning can lead to better marketing outcomes.

Video demos: Say, an e-commerce company creates two versions of a product page to test which is the more effective. One version has a short video demo, the other doesn’t. The video version sees a 12% increase in conversions. Using this information, the company quickly moves to add video demos across all product pages.

Testing to improve CTRs: A B2B startup notices a low click-through rate (CTR) on its latest content promotion campaign. Its agile marketing team then tests a redesign of the call-to-action buttons with a new pop of color. Once those buttons pop, the marketing team notices a doubled CTR.

Agile incentive programs: A retailer sees a lower than expected turnout for a new product launch campaign. It reacts quickly, pivoting to an incentive for the first 100 customers. This successfully creates both buzz and momentum.


Avoiding needless complexity

Spreading marketing efforts too thin across disparate strategies and tactics can lead to a loss of focus. Canny marketers identify a few key programs to execute well. To do this, they stay grounded in the core business goals in order to allocate resources wisely.

Some of the strategies they apply in the process:

Focus resources on the highest ROI activities: Rather than spreading efforts too thin, identify one or two strategies projected to yield the highest return. Then allocate budget, talent, technology and other resources to optimize the performance of core programs.

Prevent initiative overload: Juggling too many campaigns and platforms can be counterproductive. Instead, streamline around strategic initiatives with the greatest impact potential, and say no to nonessentials.

Gain clearer performance visibility: Simplified marketing operations provide increased clarity into what’s working and what isn’t. Using a focused set of metrics, optimize your spend for maximum ROI.

Clear, concise copy and value propositions

Excellent marketers distill messaging into crisp language that resonates. They understand the importance of crafting compelling value propositions and positioning to capture attention. Succinct, impactful copy acts as a north star of sorts for all good marketing programs.

For example, a strong value proposition states the tangible benefit a customer receives from a product or service. It’s direct and meaningful, fine-tuned through testing and customer feedback, and applies the following:

Brand continuity across marketing efforts: Ideally, brand touchpoints reinforce value propositions through visual design. From social media ads to e-mail nurturing sequences, design elements should align with positioning. Images, color palettes and fonts create cohesion and brand authority.

Customer-centric approaches: Seasoned professionals develop deep customer empathy. They identify target buyer personas and map their engagement journeys. With such a customer-centric approach, they create content and experiences tailored to each stage of that journey, and address pain points and present solutions rather than simply pushing products. This strategic understanding powers excellence in tactical execution across channels.

Perfect aim: In the social media space, it’s vital to target paid ads to relevant personas and nurture followers through the sales funnel using valuable content. With e-mail, marketers can segment audiences and personalize campaigns with the right message for each subscriber — maximizing return from each channel. And what informs and lays the groundwork for this integrated strategy? Data.


The path to excellence

These success strategies may seem daunting in scope, but they are of immense value. With a clear understanding of the attributes, KPIs and management tactics that set brilliant marketing teams apart, you can make strategic hiring and development decisions.

True capability in this space requires the right blend of skills, culture, data-driven decisions, customer orientation and flawless execution of focused strategies. By outlining what success looks like — and enabling your team with the right structure — you can unlock marketing’s full potential as an engine of growth.

Thanks for reading! Do you want to create thought leadership articles like the one above? If you struggle to translate your ideas into content that will help build credibility and influence others, sign up to get John’s latest online course “Writing From Your Voice” here.

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