Month: January 2020


13 Marketing Skills to Get Your Dream Job in 2020

You cannot prepare for the future if you are not aware of it.

Marketing departments and companies must focus on acquiring the talent that comes with a wide range of abilities and can also match up to the ever-evolving needs of the future. 

Over the next few years, we will see technology playing an increasingly bigger role. Most of the heavy-lifting will be done by the use of technology only, even though humans will continue to control and guide it. This is set to change the structure and composition of the marketing teams over the next decade. In fact, “marketing” itself, as a concept, will evolve as new technologies and methodologies will arrive on the scene. 

But that’s not all of it. Andy Dorling, General Manager at The Institute of Data & Marketing in the UK, says that,

“The future of intelligent marketing will… require business leaders that acknowledge the importance of having a diverse, skilled workforce and who are willing to invest in career development for a range of technical and soft skills.”

This task is, for sure, daunting for marketers at all levels. 

To this end, CMOs and hiring departments will need to pay attention to (a) fulfilling the current marketing needs, (b) plan for the future years that demand and, (c) help upskill their team with training. This is likely to stay relevant not only for 2020 but beyond as well. To understand this better, let’s take a look at:

  • What are the key priorities for marketing in 2020? 
  • What are the emerging trends for marketing skills in 2020?
  • What sort of talent-related challenges marketers will face in 2020? 
  • How to overcome these challenges?

What are the key priorities for marketing in 2020?

In 2020, consumers are expected to engage with brands digitally more than ever due to the emergence of new platforms and technology shifts. This trend will subsequently impact customer expectations around experience and interaction quality. 

A survey of more than 500 marketers around the world carried out by The Economist Group in collaboration with the Digital Marketing Institute found that a significant percentage of respondents (84%) identified customer experience to be very important or somewhat important. This is followed by other key areas like strategy & planning/brand management (79%) and Data analytics (76%). 

Key priorities for marketing in 2020

There’s a clear indication that the line between “digital” and “traditional” no longer exists and that marketers are increasingly focused on CX, UX, and data analytics compared to traditional advertising. This trend is closely tied to changing consumer expectations and how marketers have to realign their strategy to meet those expectations. 

Read more: Marketing Technology Trends for 2020

What are the emerging trends for marketing skills in 2020?

Increasing participation of the customer in shaping the marketing narrative, the pace of technological changes, and the need for digital transformation – all have collectively forced businesses and marketing leaders to take a hard look at their digital strategies and capabilities. Marketers are taking up the challenge of creating meaningful and deeper connections with their audience. 

Drawing on this change, marketers will need a steady mix of a range of skills in their teams. Here are some skills which are likely to be most in-demand in 2020, bifurcated into strategic, technical and soft skills. Mastering these skills is going to be the key to every modern marketer’s dream job.

Strategic Skills

1. Digital strategy and planning

Marketers are increasingly being expected to generate long-term measurable goals for the businesses. This requires them to be involved in business decisions, account business goals, and consider future trends & challenges in order to plan the overall marketing strategy and activities.

The Digital Marketing Institute’s research suggests that ‘Digital Strategy and Planning’ is considered as one of the most important skills by the marketing leaders for their organization currently.

2. Data analytics and reporting

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Data analytics is the very fabric of all things digital; without it, you cannot say what’s working and what’s not for your organization. 

A range of changes – new and stringent data regulations, the emergence of NLP, unified view of the customer, and the increasing use of AI/ML and many more – are anticipated in the current year.

These changes will require a specialized set of skills from marketers. It is likely that marketing managers will pair technical skills like using SQL or ML algorithms, for instance, with the ability to layout and manage overall data strategy for the organization. 

Read more: How Will the Data & Analytics Landscape Look Like in 2020?

3. Research and insights

Since customers expect brands to provide them with highly personalized experiences, it becomes an utmost important responsibility for the marketing function to understand their target audience and their needs.

Working closely with the data analytics and reporting resources, marketers will need to generate data insights and intelligence that can further be put into the system to conceptualize, iterate, and scale the marketing initiatives. In the absence of this skill, companies are likely to struggle in the face of competition. 

4. Leadership and management

Marketing leaders value leadership and management skills as another most valuable skill. Without these skills, it is likely that marketers will find themselves often caught up in dealing with short-term issues. Focusing on the long-term vision and goals is a sign of leadership. 

These skills also play a significant role when it comes to driving change, initiating cross-departmental collaborations and also breaking silos in the system. For a brand to be able to operate at the full capacity of its talent model, these skills become necessary. 

Technical skills

5. Marketing automation skills

This ‘left-brained skill’ is credited for quantitative planning, tracking, and performance of the various marketing initiatives coupled with a deep working knowledge of the technology. 

In this omni-channel and multi-channel customer experience world, this skill becomes even more indispensable as it helps in streamlining and simplifying workflows and processes.

Marketing automation largely impacts the UI (user interface) and CX (customer experience) and remains relevant to the whole customer journey at any point in time. 

6. Social media

Social media has become a primary source of communication and information between the content creators and consumers. In fact, it has become deep-rooted in the current fabric of society. Understanding how consumers interact with brands using social media and various influencers, you can maximize the conversions for your business.

Undoubtedly, it is one of the most crucial technical skills required of every professional in the current times. Many universities have recognized this and are helping students acquire valuable skills and practical knowledge to boost customer engagement. 

7. Mobile marketing

Mobile-focused marketing strategies are quite critical to today’s businesses. Mobile is both the present and the future – that’s why we need marketers who have the necessary skills and knowledge of optimizing a brand’s experience using apps, social media channels, mobile search, and mobile-optimized websites. 

Since the customer is mostly online on their mobile phone, shuffling between various apps, it makes sense to view marketing campaigns from this perspective. And the demand for mobile marketers is not going to die any time soon in the future. 

8. Website optimization and design

Website optimization and design encompass all the technical and marketing skills required to acquire, engage and convert visitors into prospects and buyers. In fact, it can be considered an umbrella term that requires the knowledge of content, aesthetics, technical SEO, A/B testing, user experience, measurement, and analytics.

The application of these skills remains relevant at all times for a business. Marketers who have experience in website optimization and design are likely to find themselves in demand in 2020. 

9. Content marketing

Unquestionably, content marketing is one of the most important marketing skills and it will remain so in 2020. From brands – big and small – we will see more and more experimentation on creating personalized content that resonates with the audience. While this happens, content marketers will grapple with increasing competition in distribution.

Marketers who have mastered the art of cutting through the noise will find themselves at an advantage in 2020. 

Soft Skills

10. Creativity

Traditionally, creativity in marketing was seen as something alluding to aesthetics, designs, words, and concepts of ad campaigns. However, this has changed significantly with the penetration of technology.

Creativity, now, has become much more complex and demanding. It permeates data analysis, marketing strategy, content, leadership, planning, and many other functions in marketing.

Creativity is also what gives a brand distinct leverage over others. It helps deliver great marketing success even in the face of a challenging and constantly evolving landscape. 

11. Agility and adaptability

If there’s one thing that’s not going to stop ever – that is the pace of change. It would be naive to assume that we are going to have a breather from all the technological changes at any time in the future. 

It is also true that the skills that are in demand today won’t be needed in five years’ time. Individuals who score high on agility and adaptability will continue to find themselves in a potentially advantageous position in hiring.

It also must be noted that – agility and adaptability are more than just skills. At any given time, they can be a huge asset to company culture and therefore, result in a competitive advantage.  

12. Analytical, problem solving and critical thinking

Another skill set organizations are laying the most focus on. Businesses are dealing with an acute shortage of these skills. A 2019 study ‘State of the Workplace’ published by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recognizes analytical thinking, problem-solving, and critical thinking to be among the top 3 missing soft skills. 

In essence, these skills are about the ability to make reasonable judgments with absolute clarity. More than a skillset, it tends to be a mindset that helps you avoid bias, challenge assumptions, reason with logic, and ask the right questions. 

13. Broader business knowledge

Going beyond the functions and operations of marketing and connecting the marketing with all facets of an organization brings much value to the businesses. 

It helps marketers proceed with confidence in their marketing strategies. Marketers can also use this understanding to reinforce and develop an overall customer-focused culture in the organization. 

All these skills fundamentally pinpoint the need to rethink and reflect on the question – what does it mean to be a successful marketer today and in the future? Clearly, the modern marketer needs a fusion of abilities – technical, strategic, and soft skills. 

A study by Atrium, a marketing recruitment firm, suggests the following specific positions to be in demand in 2020:

  1. Content Strategist
  2. Digital Marketing Manager
  3. Digital Strategist
  4. Email Marketing Specialist
  5. Front-end Web Developer
  6. Hybrid Designer
  7. Marketing Analytics Manager 
  8. Project Manager
  9. SEO/SEM Specialist
  10. Social Media Manager
  11. User Interface (UI) Designer
  12. User Experience (UX) Designer

What sort of talent-related challenges marketers will face in 2020? 

Despite the fact that a lot has changed in marketing over the last couple of years, only a few changes are seen in how we approach marketing. There is little to no change in how we assess performance, plan hiring, establish team structure, organize and approach tasks. 

As a result, businesses are not able to make full use of the latest technologies and platforms that require them to be agile, and effective.   

Research by the Digital Marketing Institute has identified a series of challenges for marketers in 2020. The greatest challenge of all was found to be the pace of technological change followed by recruitment and difficulty in creating engaging content. 

These trends highlight the fact that businesses are struggling to keep up with the latest developments, lack of preparedness, creativity, and other fundamental skills for digital transformation.  

It poses several risks like losing out on revenue and audience to competitors, lack of innovation, and engagement.  

Marketer's Challenges
Source: The Digital Marketing Institute

However, that is not all. There is distrust, and lack of confidence among marketers within their teams as well.  

According to a survey of more than 1000 executives around the world by The Economist Group, 88% of CMOs are much more likely to be confident of the skills of their marketing team compared to 64% of the non-CMO cohort.

Survey by The Economist Group on Confidence in Employees Marketing Skillset
Source: The Economist Group

The reason for low-level confidence among relatively younger marketers could be a need for more training as it is their biggest need and they crave it. Another reason could be that marketers feel that their colleagues’ skills are not matching up to the ideal pace of change.

This points us to the direction that marketing leaders need to encourage the implementation of skill training programs to deal with some of these challenges. Also, there is a universal need for pan-industry standardization and qualifications for evaluating talent. 

How to overcome these challenges?

Marketing is definitely complicated. It is transforming rapidly. By looking at where we lack in the current times in terms of skills, we can take goal-oriented and specific actions needed for the future. 

There are many steps that can be taken to resolve this. Note that the effectiveness of the various remedies can vary from one industry to another across different geographies. And each business or industry might need different solutions altogether depending upon their unique issues. However, some of the broad solutions to these challenges can be:

For the organization

  • Recognize that there is a definite skill shortage in the workforce and invest in training both the existing talent and new entrants. 
  • Promote a culture of upskilling, and reskilling as much as the use of newer technologies – both in technical and soft skills. This will increase employee mobility and help individuals transition to new careers with ease. For example, businesses in Denmark place a strong emphasis on in-work training and the government allocates funding for two weeks of certified skills training per year for adults. 
  • Uphold talent diversity in all realms whether it is gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Such a systemic change is the need of the hour to attract a larger pool of talent. 
  • Provide financial support to the systems in the organization while taking into account the new thinking and mindset shifts needed for more agility and upskilling. 

For the CMO

  • Keep in mind the long-term vision and strategy while planning marketing activities. Doing so will give you a view of the bigger picture and align your marketing talent strategy accordingly. 
  • Go beyond the four walls of the organization and take cognizance of the huge amount of talent available around you – in terms of freelancers, gig economy workers, influencers, consultants, full-time employees and many more. Use these options to build a talent model that aggregates each person’s capabilities and talent and ultimately creates a stronger team. 
  • Develop a strong understanding of disruptive changes so as to bring a correlation between perceived priorities and innovation strategy by the top management with the talent strategy. 

For others in the marketing team

  • Understand how each marketing activity connects itself to the business results. Take it to the level wherein you can explain it to others and yourself also. Doing so will help you develop big picture skills along with technical ones. 
  • Develop a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs and wants. Use this information to champion their perspective and the use of technology for marketing initiatives. 
  • Give equal importance to acquiring strategic, technical and soft skills. 


In 2020, we need to shift our thinking about ‘digital transformation’. It is not something that is in the future. It is already underway, and will always be. Businesses that are well-run have already taken this into notice and are ‘digitizing’ their culture and customer experience. These businesses have got themselves much enviable competitive advantage. 

Hence, marketers would need to prepare themselves to be in a state of readiness for constant change. There is no way they can undergo this change without upskilling and reskilling the current talent pool and cultivating the newer talent. Emerging technologies are only going to push the need for organizations to promote professional development and both in-house and outsourced training. 

In addition to this, marketing skills will grow closer to business goals and objectives. Running effective and successful marketing will require a merger of strategic, technical and soft skills. And constant upgrading of one’s skillset is a must.

Personalization and Travel: Delighting your Customers all the Way!

Today’s travelers have a world of opportunity available to them at the touch of a button. Their social media streams are filled with images and opportunities to visit places both near and far. In this “choose- your-own adventure” landscape, travelers may want to book a weekend with extended family or indulge in a week-long cooking class at Julia Child’s former home in the South of France.

The way world travels today, has changed. In this mobile-first world, consumers want to be in control. They’re likely to start research via a smartphone and complete the task later on a laptop — maybe. They want to compare flights, hotels, and excursions on OTA’s, websites, and social media on whatever device is at hand.

This comparison stage can last days or weeks with dozens of touchpoints. Google tells us that search intent narrows once flights are booked. Once the destination is chosen, then it’s natural to look for tours, restaurants, and other activities.

Anything is possible and it all offers online travel companies plenty of opportunity to offer customers personalized and relevant content in this fast-paced, mobile-first world.

However, those opportunities also bring a set of challenges for travel brands.

Continue reading “Personalization and Travel: Delighting your Customers all the Way!”

AI-based Personalization Trends Redefining Marketing in Travel

With Online Travel Agencies (OTA) making travel bookings easier than ever, the online travel sales has seen a rise of 10.4% between 2017 and 2018 and is expected to reach a whopping figure of 817.54 billion US dollars in 2020.

With the industry expanding so fast, and the marketing technologies evolving at an incredible pace, the customer expectations are growing too. The new-age customer has now grown intolerant to all kinds of mass marketing content and expects nothing less than an absolutely hyper-personalized experience. And every brand is now focusing on delivering it by adopting the latest AI-based personalization techniques.

Continue reading “AI-based Personalization Trends Redefining Marketing in Travel”

Personalization in E-Commerce – 7 Trends to Watch in 2020

This holiday season, I accompanied my grandfather to a shoe shop in his neighbourhood. The shop owner already knew his shoe size, the brands, colours, and price range he prefers. He greeted my grandfather, and over a 5-10 minutes banter, the purchase was done. Happy customer, happy businessman!

Continue reading “Personalization in E-Commerce – 7 Trends to Watch in 2020”

A Definitive Guide to Mobile App User Retention

The effectiveness of growth hacking in app marketing is dwindling!

Over the years, product managers and marketers, like you, have been using this mantra to grow your business: Acquiring more users!

While this mantra may have helped you gain that initial traction for your app business, you may have soon realized that this cannot continue since your user acquisition costs eventually skyrocket, resulting in minimal ROIs.

The Problem?

The key problem is the definition of growth. It seems easy when you try to solve the problem of growth by thinking that you just need more users. Isn’t it?

Within 30 days, most mobile apps lose 90% of all their users. The mobile app user retention rate (global) decreased from 38% in 2018 to 32% in 2019.

There are way too many companies asking, “How do we acquire more users?” that should instead be asking “How do we get better at keeping the users we already have?”

Jamie Quint

This is exactly where user retention comes in.

Smart Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1. Will acquiring more users and multiplying your downloads alone help you maximize your company’s ROI?
  2. Has sending unsegmented push notifications and blast emails daily with offers and discounts to your entire user base helped in increasing revenue?
  3. How much time do you actually spend in planning your marketing activity and executing it?
  4. Does it cost you a lot to acquire a new user as compared to retaining an existing one?

User retention is crucial for mobile marketers. It is the leading indicator of your app business and a north star metric that helps in determining future success. It is important to allocate adequate resources and time to retaining your existing users as to acquiring new users.

Defining User Retention

User retention is the ability of a mobile-enabled business to retain its mobile app users over a period of time. In simple terms, user retention is getting your users to keep using your app.

“User retention is the ultimate measure of whether everything your mobile product, messaging, and overall experience is working.”

Hila Qu, VP of Growth at Acorns

User retention has to be the north star metric for data driven marketers. According to Gartner, 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing users. For every user, you retain your profit grows by 1%.

In fact, increasing user retention by just 5% can increase profits anywhere between 25% and 95%. While developing the product is a major focus area for most startups, having a strong customer success team is another key area of focus. The average app loses 77% of its daily active users (DAUs) within the first 3 days after install.

4 stages of user retention

When you think about marketing your mobile app, it’s a general tendency that your mind jumps straight to lead generation and user acquisition strategies that focus on attracting new users.

But mobile marketing isn’t just about acquiring new users but it’s also about retaining them. In fact, retention is more important than acquisition.

Acquisition vs Retention

There’s been a long debate on which mobile app marketing framework to follow. Most mobile marketers, even today, follow the “AARRR” model which was devised by Dave McClure more than 10 years ago. This framework majorly focuses on user acquisition.

But, there’s a massive problem with this framework in today’s hyper growth world. It was written in 2007 when acquisition was cheap and most key channels that are now saturated were easy to explore and scale.

The AARRR model is popular because it’s simple and highlights all the important elements of growth. It’s also popular because it’s built around every marketer’s favorite part of growth: Acquisition.

Mobile App Customer Purchase Funnel

“If you only focus on Acquisition as a marketer today, you are just digging a hole for your mobile startup.”

Gabor Papp

While acquisition is crucial in growing your mobile app business, your focus should gradually shift towards including more and more retention marketing in your marketing strategy.

Here’s how you might want to start thinking about retention:

Acquisition Vs. Retention

What is Retention Marketing?

Retention marketing is a strategy that focuses on marketing to existing mobile app users. It brings back users to your mobile app who have already made conversions or performed a specific action.

It also markets to users who are connected to your business using a monthly/yearly recurring membership or subscription.

Why is Retention Marketing Important?

For emerging mobile-first businesses, retention marketing strategy proves to be a smart strategy. The most unsuccessful mobile app businesses have worked hard to acquire new users but failed to retain them by not re-engaging and remarketing to them.

Retention marketing has proven to be extremely cost effective and boost your revenues while using fewer resources as opposed to acquisition marketing. Since we’ve already established that increasing your app user retention rates by 5% can increase your profits by as much as 95%, this is enough validation to understand how important retention is to your business.

Implementing retention marketing strategies in your marketing mix will help you increase profitability by:

  1. Increasing the LTV of users: By increasing the frequency of spends and actions of each user, your LTV gradually increases and so does the profitability
  2. Enabling new channels for sales: Now that your LTV has increased this opens up your scope for exploring newer channel of user acquisition
  3. Increased AOV: According to a study by Adobe, retained users make up for 40% of your sales which represents only 8% of them.

How Can Marketing Automation Help You Overcome the Retention Roadblock?

Marketing automation will ensure marketers like you continue delivering amazing app user experiences. Marketing automation platforms like Smartech are built and designed specifically to drive higher user engagement and higher user retention via multiple channels.

It helps you understand your users, analyse them and their usage patterns on daily, weekly and monthly basis. It also lets you leverage the deep user insights to communicate with them at the best time to multifold your conversions.

Marketing Automation to Overcome User Retention Roadblocks

Here are 7 foolproof tactics to help you leverage marketing automation to overcome your biggest roadblock:

1. Identify and onboard your app users

Marketing automation tools help you identify and segregate both anonymous users and registered users as well. It not only identifies but automates your user onboarding process.

It further takes an incremental approach to activating your app users which will help them in seeing greater value in your business improving retention over time.

2. Track and understand user behavior

When you’re building your app, you must’ve foreseen your target audience or who you’re building the app for. Behavioral data is extremely critical in today’s data-driven marketing.

Using behavioral cohorts, you can define a group of users based on their in-app actions and save them to further predict their actions.

Smart Tip

Find which cohorts produce better retention rates to uncover possible reasons as to why. Did you launch a new marketing campaign? Did you A/B test your campaign creatives? Did you offer a promotion or discount? Can it be attributed to release a new feature? Did you add a video tutorial to your existing product tour?

Figure out what’s been working for you and double-down on your retention efforts.

3. Segment users based on intent

If you’re a growth marketer then you must know how critical is segmentation in marketing. You must be segmenting your users based on various parameters but not all segments bring predictability to your retention rates.

Start segmenting your user base based on their intent with your app. Save your predictions as campaign objectives and Smartech will automatically create 3 micro-segments for you: users most likely, moderately likely, and least-likely in order to meet your campaign objective. Like any segment in Smartech, these intent based segments are used for targeted user journeys and campaigns.

For example: You’d want to put in more retention efforts to retain a segment of users that are completely dormant and are most likely to uninstall your app as opposed to the segment of users that are hyperactive and are least likely to uninstall your app. Sending contextual messages to the right segment will improve your retention rates.

4. A/B test your push notifications

Automation helps you assess your users’ needs and preferences and the way you interact with them. A/B testing your push notifications is a smart way to know what exactly is working and what is not.

As a data-driven marketer let the data support and guide your marketing decisions. Send different variants of your push notifications to different user segments over time to gauge which variant is positively improving your app engagement and is able to quickly get your users to their “aha!” moment.

There are many elements to a push notification, each of them has the ability to impact your notification’s effectiveness. You can A/B test your push notifications based on:

  1. Type of Notification – Plain or Rich Push
  2. Type of Creative – Image or GIF
  3. Timing of the Notification
  4. Image or GIF Variants

A/B tests influence your campaigns by giving users the best experience and a positive user experience is what leads to long-term user retention.

Also Read: How to A/B Test Push Notifications to Level Up your Mobile Marketing Game

5. Scale up your engagement

Over a period of time, your user base will increase and there are certain tasks that you need to automate using a marketing automation tool.

It helps in sending marketing communications via multiple channels such as push notifications, in-app messages, email, SMS, WhatsApp etc. at scale. The objective is to attain the end results without compromising on the total number of users engaged.

6. Curtail over communication

Over communication always sets a bad example and maybe perceived as privacy intrusion by your users. You don’t want your users to uninstall your app because of over communication.

Decide on the number of notifications you need to send to your audience. This can also happen if you’re not using an intelligent marketing automation tool or if your users are not segmented. A right mix of content and the frequency will play a vital role in uplifting your retention rates.

7. Strategize and design your marketing campaigns

Marketing automation tools like Smartech allow you to strategize your marketing campaigns based on the user analytics that is available to you just a click away.

You can deep-dive into user analytics and understand a particular user behaviour and build campaigns accordingly. Smartech’s journey builder helps you create a conditional flow for your campaigns to be automated and run without your intervention.

Also Read: Is Your Marketing Automation Platform Just a Glorified Campaign Launcher?

Key Metrics to Keep Track of Retention Marketing

In order to maximize the outcome of your retention marketing efforts, you first need to understand what retention metrics to track and how to measure them. Once you have established them, you can begin to put them to work for lasting and profitable results.

1. Retention Rate

Retention Rate = 1 – Churn Rate

Tracking and measuring retention rates over a period of 1, 7, or 30 days helps determine the apps’ longevity in the market.  Retention rates give you a bird’s eye view on what’s working and what needs improvement. It’s a continuous process that should begin after any significant changes in your app to reflect changes in user retention.

Retention Rate

2. Churn Rate

Churn Rate is the number of users who have uninstalled your app or stopped using your app at any given period.

Churn Rate = (No. of Users at the End of the Period – No. of Users at the Start of the Period)/No. of users at the Start of the period

3. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

CLTV is one of the most important retention metric to track as it gives you the actual monetary value of the customer that you have gained. This helps in building an effective loyalty program to identify how much you should spend to retain your most valuable customers

CLTV = APV (Average Purchase Value) x PF (Purchase Frequency) x CLT (Customer Lifetime)

Make Retention the King of Growth Strategy

User retention has to be on the fore front of your core marketing mix. Make retention the king of your growth strategy because –

“The point is, every improvement that you make to retention also improves all of these other things — virality, LTV, payback period. It is literally the foundation to all of growth, and that’s really why retention is the king.”

Brian Balfour, VP Growth, HubSpot

Start using a marketing automation tool to help your overcome your retention roadblock.

Download the Ebook – The Definitive Guide to Mobile App User Retention