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THE FIVE KEY COMPETENCIES MARKETERS NEED TO STAND OUT IN THEIR CAREERS

Stacey Danheiser and Dr Simon Kelly Principals, Shake Marketing

 
In this ever-changing world of work, the competencies marketeers need to succeed, and ultimately stand out are changing. So today, we’re joined by Stacey Danheiser and Dr. Simon Kelly, principals of Shake Marketing Group and co-authors of the books Value-ology and Stand Out Marketing. They are here today to share how marketeers can elevate their careers by developing five key competencies.
 
 

1. So, to begin with, please could you introduce yourselves to our listeners. Simon, we’ll begin with you.

 

(01:02) Yes, my name’s Simon Kelly. I call myself a pracademic because I’ve had a long career in telecoms and IT, running marketing as a B2B marketing director. And I’ve also worked at various universities, currently at York University, and working with Stacey at Shake Marketing Group to help organisations stand out in marketing.

2. And Stacey, how about you? Could you let us know a little bit about your background and your current role?

 

(01:33) Hi, I’m Stacey Danheiser, I’m based in the United States and I’m the founder of Shake Marketing Group. As Simon mentioned, we work with B2B organisations to help them with customer research, value proposition development and marketing strategy. I’m the co-author of the two marketing books that you mentioned, along with Simon, and prior to starting Shake Marketing, I also worked in various corporate marketing leadership roles for about 14 years for several Fortune 500 companies.

3. As you said, you’ve both recently released your new book called ‘Stand Out Marketing’. Could you tell us a little bit more about the book and the research that you’ve conducted around the topic?

 

(02:13) So, Stand Out Marketing is a book that we wrote for both leaders and individual contributors to help answer the question; “Do I and our team have the competencies to help my company stand out?”.

It was really born out of the research that we did into three different industries: the telecoms industry, data centre and UK universities. And after we scraped the websites and Twitter feeds of the top thirty companies within each of these industries, we discovered that everyone is telling a similar story. They’re all using the same words, descriptions, jargon, and “why us” story.

So, we were curious about why this was happening, and we embarked on some more research where we conducted dozens of one-on-one interviews with marketing, sales and business leaders across the UK and US. We also led a global survey with over fifty respondents and we’ve also had our own first-hand corporate experience in over two dozen client projects.

4. And in your book, you mentioned the fact that marketing is ‘swimming in a sea of sameness’ and you gave some examples there such as using the same jargon. I imagine this makes it difficult for organisations to stand out from their competitors. Could you explain the concept in more detail?

 

(03:25) So, as I mentioned, this was really based on the research that we did into those three industries. The ‘sea of sameness’ is referring to the fact that every company within these industries sound the same.

What we found is that generic business terms are really overused. Words like services, solutions, business, were the most frequently used words that popped up and most phrases, we also found, start with “we” and “our” instead of being about the customer. So, benefit statements that we’ve been in business for a hundred years, we have 24/7 support, comments like that don’t really take it to the next level to explain why a customer should care about that.

And then we also found that proof points are rarely used that are meaningful to the customer. So, for example, there are a lot of promises to help businesses grow or transform. But when you ask how, the answer is always something about purchasing the product or service. So, these are lofty and empty claims or what we say the bridge from how to get a customer from where they are to where they want to be is weak.

5. Thanks Stacey. There are probably some marketeers listening to this who realise that they are guilty of some of those things. And standing out from the crowd is key to marketing, so in the context of your book, could you please talk us through why that is essential?

 

(04:44) So crucially, when every company sounds the same, basically it leaves customers completely confused about what makes each one different. So, customers end up completely overwhelmed and they just end up making a choice that is usually the cheapest even if that means that it’s not the best option for their situation.

When we asked why this is happening, people listed many reasons, but there’s one that really interested us and that was pure laziness. So, many marketers are really just skipping crucial steps to understand the customer, digging in, doing research and uncovering insights and also doing the true deep soul-searching work of figuring out the essence of what makes their organisation different. And they’re just instead copying what their competitors are doing.

So, after all, it’s easy to go to a competitor’s website, read their “why us” statement and then slightly rewrite it for your own website. But this really comes across as inauthentic. It lacks the depth that we talked about earlier and does not fully mobilise or excite the organisation to deliver on their promise to customers.

Thanks Stacey, that was a great explanation. You can really understand why that sea of sameness exists when everybody’s copying one another, essentially.

6. And Simon, we’re here today to discuss how marketing can stand out from the crowd by developing five key competencies. So, which competencies do you think marketeers of today are lacking when it comes to standing out from the crowd that you’ve mentioned?

 

(06:20) Yes, no problem. Before I get into that, maybe I can talk about what we see as a competency because it’s quite a contested word. So, we think it’s the knowledge, the skills and the behaviours all put together that you need to be successful in your role. For example, our interviewees said that the most important role of marketing was brand management, which is not a surprise. So, that’s a job to be done by marketing, which is about differentiating the brand in a meaningful way to customers. What do you need to know? What do you need to be good at? And how do you need to behave to develop and mobilise a brand within your company and, crucially, in the markets? That’s what we mean by competencies; What do you need to know? What do you need to be able to be good at to mobilise people?

So, from our research, the five competencies that came out, together, spell the word VALUE.

  • V is for visionary, which is about foreseeing potential changes in the broader business environment in the market.
  • A is for activator, which is about getting buy-in to initiatives and to get the business driving forward for growth.
  • L is for learner, which is about learning from changes in the environment and what your customers’ value and in what sets you apart from competitors.
  • U is for usefulness, which is differentiating a way that’s relevant, practical, and resonates with customers.
  • E is for evaluator. This is to evaluate the ongoing success of marketing and sales campaigns and, at the front-end, to evaluate ideas that might be brought forward to see if they’re worth moving forward by the business.

7. Thanks Simon, and we’ll go through each of those elements starting with visionary. What does it mean for marketeers and how can they demonstrate this competency effectively?

 

(08:14) Well, okay. The first one, to stand out as a visionary, marketeers have got to demonstrate that like an eagle they can soar to 10,000 feet and zoom out to see the big picture, before zooming in on the things that could have the most impact, both for the customer and their own organisation.

So, at any one time, there are lots of things going on, coming up on the near horizon or in the far distance. And if we look at what’s happening lately, it’s really dizzying. In the US, there’s a new president who, on his first day, brought America back into the Paris Global Climate Agreement. In Europe, there’s Brexit for the UK withdrawal from the European Union. And of course, the pandemic has dramatically swept the world and affected us all in many ways; changes in online shopping, too many zoom meetings, moving towards a situation where mental health awareness is on the agenda. And if we compare the fortunes of different chief executives, for example, Pfizer versus British Airways, we’ll see that these things have had a dramatically different effect on different organisations.

And when we think about what’s happening on the technology front, it’s just eye-watering. The first iPhone was launched in 2007, and the last time I looked there were three and a half billion globally. And coming up on the horizon and starting to embed itself in organisations, we’ve got 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and all these things have impacted on customer behaviour and uncompetitive behaviour.

So, I suppose the two big examples are Airbnb and Uber, and then more lately, Lyft, who have massively impacted industries and don’t even have any of the assets that those industries are famous for. So, taken together, a marketeer must know how all this stuff will impact their customer, their own company, and their industry.

So, if you prefer a sporting analogy, I’ll use the famous and greatest ice hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky, the Canadian guy, as an example. He says that you must skate to where the puck is going, not where it’s been. So, you’ve got to join all that stuff together and say, “Okay, what’s going to happen and how can we predict that?” Marketeers need to get better at that.

8. Thanks very much, Simon. And talking about the acceleration of technology and being a disruptor, how can marketeers generate creative and innovative ideas that can help their organisations to move forward, or stand out? Do you have any tips?

 

(10:56) I think they’ve got to read in tech reference points more widely than they would traditionally do. So, look outside your own industry, profession and at other disciplines. I mentioned before, when I’ve been asked these questions, that sport’s quite a good example because they seem to be quite good at sharing between disciplines. For example, in this country, Leicester Tigers’ new coach, Steve Borthwick, he’s meeting with the Leicester soccer or football manager, Brendan Rogers to share experience. So, marketeers should do that and listen to industry experts, dive into stuff that industry experts like and get on to Ted Talks.

When you think about, one of the great academic gods of marketing which is Ted Levitt, I would say, don’t be myopic. Don’t be near-sighted. And then, get together with people, have what the Americans call “brown bag lunch sessions” where you get together and talk about things that are happening and how that might impact on people. And then come up with creative solutions from that. So, you must develop this wider understanding and appreciation to come up with those creative ideas. And so you could work with people like us, if you want to think that through, to do brainstorming about where the future might lead you and to predict about what this combination of potential things can do for you, because in the end, as a marketeer, your job is not just to do all that broad visioning. You’ve got to be able to zoom in on the thing that could be good for your company and for you, the thing that might move the needle for the customer and make your organisation money.

9. So, following on from that, if we could look at the second competency which is activator, that’s about, bringing those ideas to life and activating them. How can marketeers go about getting their ideas heard by their managers to progress or to execute in a vision for change?

 

(13:04) Again, it might be worth just talking about what makes an activator. Firstly, you must be able to be what we call a “balanced advocate.” So, you’ve heard me say a couple of times already, you’ve got to understand what’s going to work for both your customers and for your company; how well your company is going to make more money, how your organisation is judged on being successful. And you’ve got to be able to listen, but not just listening in order to reply, to really listen emphatically to understand what people are telling you, to understand what’s affecting customers, what might be affecting other people in your organisation. And crucially, you’ve got to be able to understand that you need to negotiate; that not everything that you take forward as an idea should be what we call “fully baked”, because other people are going to have taken on the idea, and from their experience may give you tips to make it better.

And then you must be tenacious, more than anything else, because not all great ideas get taken up the first time. There are apocryphal stories about Dyson and how many times he (James Dyson) got rejected for, now, his revolutionary vacuum cleaners. And then when he moved towards execution, he claims to have had 5,000 prototypes before he found one that worked.

And then you must be people centric. So, to get stuff to work and to get your organisation to buy into it, you’ve got to understand the people in the organisation. What motivates your boss, what type of person they are, what’s going to excite them as a new idea and then the other executives in the organisation. And then to be able to what we call contextualised, to talk at different levels in the organisation to understand what your director is interested in, what the person who leads a sales organisation might be motivated for et cetera. So, that’s the combination of things that make up an activator and they’re the things that people need to do to be good activators.

10. And how can marketeers become more adaptable to modify their strategies accordingly?

 

(15:13) I think almost the answer is in the question there, because that’s the key, you got to be adaptable. I think if I observed throughout my professional career, the thing that marketeers do wrong most often is this whole thing of going in with ideas that we call “fully baked” and then not liking it if somebody has a different take on the idea or puts forward a better variation. Adapt based on what you hear being said and take away the great ideas and mould them back into your idea and come back with modifications that improve it. Now, this is not designed by committees, it’s other experts or people who have a different take, giving you a different view. So, be adaptable to that and then be adaptable to changes in the market to maybe change your idea too.

11. I guess then, a blocker to doing things differently could be, a person’s organisation being quite unwilling or resistant to change. What advice would you give to someone in that position?

 

(16:19) Well, I think that’s a great question because I think most marketeers underestimate the fact that at the core of it, they are change agents trying to get the organisation to move towards a different idea or towards a new market. So, you’ve got to create that compelling change case, recognise that that’s what you’re doing. You are trying to get a change in the organisation, the change in its focus. So, listen to the counterarguments and then create a sense of urgency to do that thing that you’re suggesting; if we don’t do this, then what’s going to happen? Are we going to miss out on an opportunity? Is that performance going to start to dip?

And above all, try to be more self-aware and self-reflective. It’s easy to say that an idea never got put forward because the other person was a bit stubborn, but it could be because the approach you took didn’t quite work and accepting all of that. There is a chapter in our book about culture and all this stuff takes place in different organisational cultures. And, we’ve spoken to people who are in senior positions who have left organisations because in the end, they do get a sense that there isn’t an appetite for change. And if you are somebody that likes to change and likes to see it driven, then maybe it’s not always right to be in the current organisation that you’re in. And this is part of the wider cultural fits question.

Cultural fit is extremely important and shouldn’t be undervalued. And if we move to Stacey now, we’re looking at the third competency, which is the learner.

12. Why is it so important for marketeers to upskill to keep on learning and developing, especially in this new era of work that is constantly accelerating with changes?

 

(18:10) Well, I think 2020 perfectly sums up the reason why being a learner is so important. So many marketers started last year with one set of plans and then six weeks into the year, everything changed. So, for example, the shift from in-person events to online events created an immediate need to learn new technologies.

Companies that had a group of strong learners were able to understand that business and customer expectations have changed, and they were able to adapt to that more quickly. Being a learner is about having a mindset of curiosity. It’s being open to new ideas, able to critically think. And I think, crucially, for this audience, it’s about being deliberate and self-directed rather than waiting for your boss or your manager to come and tell you what to go learn.

Upskilling is important, and that could be about learning a new technology, but there’s also the human side of this, which is learning about your customers, understanding what’s happening in the competitive landscape, the market; there’s many things that that does. And one client that I’m thinking of that we worked with was able to demonstrate that they had the best customer understanding. And they were suddenly invited to participate into strategic sessions in the company. So, previously they had not earned a seat at that table, but because they were the most relentless and able to understand what was happening with the customer base, they became a real source of knowledge there.

13. Thanks Stacey. I’m interested in learning about the implications of not upskilling or not continuously learning versus doing so. I imagine there’s a real risk of being left behind if you don’t carry on learning throughout your career?

 

(20:00) Yes, exactly. I think what we know is that the only thing that is constant is change. So, of course, the major implication for not learning is that you will not be able to adapt quickly and you may even make yourself or your job obsolete if you can’t keep up with the changing times. And I’ve seen this personally in my career that marketing leaders and individuals that couldn’t keep up with the technology, or didn’t really understand the technology and didn’t bring people onto their team that understood the technology, all of a sudden people are sitting around the table that are not marketers, and maybe they have an IT background or a product or sales background and they were able to more specifically talk about that. Eventually, those people work themselves out of that job because they couldn’t keep up with the technology and understand that.

I think about how much my role has changed, how much I’ve seen marketing change over just the past ten years and the number of different tools that we use now. Often, those tools do make your job easier and they do give you greater insights. So, I really do think it is essential because of the reasons you’ve just pointed out there as well.

14. Do you have any tips for our listeners to help them effectively upskill in a way that perhaps works for them?

 

(21:18) So the first, you may be wondering is what do I need to learn? We have a set of categories and questions in the book that covers five key areas.

The first is the market. What’s happening with market trends? Where is the market going in the next five years? It’s everything in that visionary category that Simon talked about.

Competitors, what’s happening with the competitive landscape. Who are the top competitors and not just direct competitors, but indirect competitors? And, of course, the number one competitor of people just getting complacent and doing nothing.

The third is understanding the company and the product or service solution. So, where’s the company headed? What are our revenue targets this year and next? What’s the mission of the company? Why are they in business? How are they measuring the value that they provide to customers? One of the number one questions that we like to challenge people with is what problem do you solve for customers? And, starting there, if you cannot answer that, that’s a great place, how well do you really understand the company and the products.

The fourth area is customers. So, who is your ideal customer? What are their top needs and pain points? What are their motivations? As I mentioned in that example, if you’re the one that knows the most about your customer base, you will be invited to participate in strategic conversations.

And then lastly is the role. So, depending on where you are, where you sit in the organisation, what are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you need to learn to improve in your current job? What’s the next job that you want to have and what do you need to learn to get to that next level? I would say I’d start there, ask yourself, where do I lack knowledge within these categories and choose one to get better at.

The second that we hear from a lot of marketers, the biggest hurdle and impediment to learning is that they just don’t have time. So, this is something that is one of those habit-building things. Set aside fifteen minutes to read and think. Don’t view this as wasted time but as valuable time to make yourself smarter. So, a lot of people feel like they must be doing and checking things off a to-do list. Well, add then, I need to read for 15 minutes or I need to watch a video for 15 minutes to make myself smarter. And replace some of that mindless Instagram or Twitter scrolling with something that’s going to help you be smarter in your job.

And then lastly, it’s about developing a sense of curiosity. So, when we were children, we asked our parents about 300 questions a day but by the time we get to middle school, we stop asking questions altogether. So, it’s going back to that childlike curiosity and a great place to start is to ask “why” questions. So, digging deeper into programs that you’re running or products that you’re selling and digging into the “why are those successful or not successful.”

And then another great one is “what if.” So, when we ask the question “what if,” our brains go into this imaginative place that leads us down a path where you could potentially come up with new ideas and innovations.

Thanks for that Stacey, some interesting points. I like the example that you gave, people stopping asking questions, as they reach school age. And I think there’s some, important questions there for our listeners to ask themselves as well.

15. As the expectations that are placed on marketing functions continue to increase in this new era of work, marketeers are understandably under a lot of pressure to prove the value of their role in order to demonstrate their usefulness, which brings us on to that term. How can they prove their usefulness effectively?

 

(25:01) Firstly, we define usefulness as the ability to connect the dots from what your company does to how it helps solve a customer problem. So, this includes, products, services, your sales approach, your service approach, marketing content. I mean, really everything you do should be viewed through this lens of being useful to both customers and your company.

To be useful, we developed this usefulness triangle, and there’s really three elements to that:

So, the first is knowledge. This is the skills and experience that you possess that other people would find helpful. So, it’s about mastering something; just as you would not take your car to be fixed by an untrained mechanic, it’s the same thing. Your customer wants to buy something from people that are smart and that have dedicated their business to developing something that they know that they can trust. And another thing like B2B buyers, one stat we constantly see is that they want to work with sellers that understand their business. So first, it’s just about the knowledge piece there.

Two is about preparation, which is being ready and willing to help. Again, knowing that there is really no one-size-fits-all approach, that you have to constantly be thinking about the customer and rather than trying to push out a product, maybe thinking about how to make that more useful to individual customers, especially in a B2B buying situation where you have more than one decision-maker to reach.

And then the third element is timing. So, this is the phrase “timing is everything.” And right now, 90% of B2B buyers are willing to interact with the seller early. So, it’s about getting in there to help them solve problems and eliminate problems that they might not know that they have. Another stat, about 35-50% of sales is going to the vendor that responds first to a customer inquiry. So, this timing piece is important in being useful.

One of the things that we see many marketing team’s missing right now is customer research. There’s not a big budget for this and yet companies are willing to spend millions of dollars on advertising, but not really understanding what it would take to make the advertising more effective. And so, it’s about prioritising that deep customer understanding. You cannot be useful to a customer if you don’t understand what they need, first and foremost.

Thank you, Stacey. Over the past year, all of us have worked from home for most of it, and that can probably be expected for some time to come at least. And that means that work and personal lives have become blurred as the one space, and we’ve spoken about how marketing has been under a lot of pressure.

16. How can marketeers effectively prove their value without suffering from burnout?

 

(28:01) Yes, this is a great question. I saw a startling stat the other day that said 83% of marketers are burnt out. That’s the most of any other profession, and it went up 10% since before the pandemic.

So, what does that mean? It means that suddenly there’s a lot of pressure being put on marketing teams to over-deliver. So, because everything went from in-person to suddenly digital interaction, that largely fell on the shoulders of marketing, to go make the website, messaging and emails better, and put together programs, webinars and podcasts to engage customers.

And so, I think from a marketing standpoint, it’s about taking a step back and putting together a strategy, making sure that you really understand what it is that you’re trying to achieve. It’s not about constantly executing the idea of the day or the flavour of the day. So, if somebody comes and knocks on your door and says, “Hey, I just got a white paper from a competitor. We need to go create a white paper”, or “Hey, so-and-so is creating a podcast, we need to go create a podcast”, It’s about, as Simon mentioned, understanding your business and what your business is trying to achieve.

And then this usefulness piece, again, going back to customers, understanding what the customers really want and need and what’s going to be the best use of your time. Do your customers even read white papers, for example, or are they more video people? Many marketers just don’t know the basic answers to some of these customer questions and so they get stuck in this cycle of just constant execution. So, it’s not about being better or faster executors or working around the clock, but about only choosing and working on those things that are going to move the needle.

Thanks Stacey, that makes perfect sense. And moving to Simon for the final key competency you mentioned in your book, which is evaluate – taking stock of what is and isn’t working, which Stacey just touched upon there.

17. How important is it for marketeers to assess and analyse whether their activity is having the desired impact?

 

(30:12) Well, I think Stacey teed that up fantastically because, the number one reason is if you can’t do it, you’ll end up being in the 83% that are burnt out because you’re just responding to things that sound like an activity.

As Stacey said, “Can you do this white paper because somebody else is doing one?” or, “Can we go to this event again?” et cetera. And quite often that’s because organisations have this activity illusion, which means that the more you do, they believe that more is going to happen. Now, that’s not the case because if you prioritise on the things that are really going to move the needle, then you must drop some of the things that aren’t having an impact. And you must be able to prove the case at both ends. So, you must have the skill to be able to do it and measure and evaluate.

Now, these are quite dangerous times to be a marketeer, in a way because marketeers have never had a great impression with the chief finance officer and, really, with the chief executives as well because of this whole issue of them not being able to measure the success. Now, at this moment in time, because of digital marketing, it’s much easier to measure some things. But all the things that are easy to measure, now what they call vanity metrics, so I could tell you how many likes are out of my Facebook page or the page impressions on the website or click-through rates to my website or from my website to somewhere else. But it must roll up to be about revenue and profitability or customer satisfaction. And so, it’s crucial that you can evaluate new opportunities to decide how you prioritise.

And it’s crucial to be able to say, were stopping that one cause it’s not worked, or we are going to just slightly change that because there’s one or two things that are not working, or are we just going to keep going with that cause it’s been really successful.

You can burn a lot of cash in calories focusing on the wrong things and just imagine how much of a positive impact you would have in an organisation if you had the bravery to say, “Oh, and by the way, this is one of my own initiatives, which I am prepared to change or stop because I’m not seeing the desired effects of this campaign”. So, all the above reasons are why it’s important, from burnout to enhancing reputation in the C-suite trying to be somebody that’s got integrity and credibility and organisation.

18. Thanks, Simon. And do you think that the need for these competencies in marketing has increased with the pandemic? And do you think the importance will continue into the new era of work?

 

(33:00) I would say yes, dramatically. I mean, let’s have a look at a few examples. So, when we get back to vision, the V, we’re not saying you’ve got to be, it’s always a vision for five years down the road. We’re talking about far distance and near horizon. So, this thing just came up on people quickly, and companies that displayed vision, so they converted their output from being gin distillers to providers of hand sanitisers. Or we know of an example of an event management company in Boston that used it’s QR code capability to switch from events to checking people onto construction sites for safety, and so that’s an example of vision.

From an activation standpoint, the companies we’ve just talked about could talk about how those ideas got mobilised quickly and got turned around. Now, we have spoken to other companies who said we’ve had some great ideas and our organisation was too cumbersome and got in each other’s way to move those ideas forward. So, activation has either got people ahead of that curve in this lockdown, and it’s going to help them going forward.

So, the learner, as Stacey said, has really been heightened during this pandemic. Customer habits and needs are changing, and things are rolling forward very quickly. We’ve gone from a situation where everybody had loads of Zoom meetings and thought they were great to now they’re realising it’s just terrible. People are getting tired of it; people are having mental health problems and anxiety. And just a real tactical example that, locally, I’ve noticed that all people do now is sit in the house and either work or watch films and then they go for walks in the locality. And there seems to be this trend to stop off for coffee and food stops. The local bakeries that have responded to this started to open on both days of a weekend because it’s a big money-spinner and others have not because they’ve not seen that change in behaviour.

And as far as usefulness is concerned, new problems have come to the surface and therefore you’ve got to find some new solutions. Some of which we gave as examples, either you change the offer that you make, or you change what you say because you need to resonate with a thing that’s now the issue. IBM was a great example from quite early on in the pandemic where, because of what they realised what would happen and they changed from quite a big portfolio to focus on six big things that they knew were important for customers and segmented the customers in to look at them in different ways.

Some big companies needed to be kitted out with laptops and broadband and stuff like that because they’d never worked from home. And then evaluator is heightened because you’ve got to be quick to assess what in your portfolio might not be working, what is working and to change direction quickly. So, even more than before, I would have thought.

Well, thank you very much Simon and Stacey. It’s been great to learn about your book, Stand Out Marketing. I’m sure it’s given our listeners plenty to think about as well and given them plenty to reflect on their own careers, how they operate in their roles as well and what they’re doing within their organisations. I’d like to finish on a question, and I’ll ask you both separately. We’ll start with you, Simon.

19. If you had one piece of advice to help our listeners navigate their careers through the pandemic and beyond, what would that be?

 

(36:57) One and a half really. I’m in the camp of don’t feel that it’s a problem if you’ve just got through this because it’s been tough, and there’s plenty of marketeers who’ve been made redundant or furloughed through this process.

So, I would say cut yourself some slack but adapt and be pragmatic and learn the things that people deem to be useful now. In this book, we don’t talk about digital a lot because we regard that as a skill that sits inside the overall competency added to behaviour knowledge, as we said. But right now, organisations are asking for people that are digital natives or have got digital expertise.

So, unashamedly as the lead writer for Marketing Week said in his column recently, you have to go to interviews developing a story about what you’ve done to be a digital native because that’s what’s important now. But nevertheless, these big competencies are the enduring things that we believe, carry or follow. But above all else, cut yourself some slack. This is a tough time, just get through it and do the best you can to be a good marketeer.

Thanks, Simon. I think that’s very important: don’t be too hard on yourself.

20. And Stacey, if I could ask the same question of you. If you had one piece of advice to help our listeners navigate their careers through the pandemic and beyond, what would that be?

 

(38:27) Yes, so my advice, I think building on what Simon said, it would be about mindset. And that’s really to recognise that you have the power to change and impact your own development. And this is about having the courage to take ownership of your career and not waiting or relying on your manager to prescribe a specific plan. So, it’s defining what you want and what you don’t want in your career and being bold enough to go after it. And as a starting point, we listed five competencies here today, so choose one that resonated with you the most and just commit to starting to get better at that. It’s really going to help you as a marketer, but also help define what you’re good at and where you want to take your career.

 

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HOW LEADERS CAN MANAGE THE PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE

 

AUTHOR

 

Stacey Danheiser is CEO and founder of Shake Marketing. She is also CEO and Course Creator for Customer Value Link.

Dr Simon Kelly is President of Shake Marketing, and was formerly Marketing Director (SVP) of British Telecom. He is also Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Sheffield Business School, and Lecturer in Marketing and Sales at University of York.

Both Stacey and Simon are co-authors of the book Value-ology and forthcoming book Stand Out Marketing.

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As the world of work evolves, we are here to support you through both the current challenges and your longer-term planning. Discover all our latest insights.
 

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As your lifelong career partner, we are here to help you navigate an evolving world of work – and move forward in your career. Discover all our latest tips, advice and guides.
 

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