5 ways to become a better marketer

Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about what it takes to become a better marketer.

Here are the top 5 things I have been working on, that have made a difference to my own marketing knowledge and ability.

1. Read more, widely

In an often subjective industry like marketing, knowledge is power. So you should be reading as much about marketing as you can to gain that knowledge.

I have compiled a list of marketing books that I have read over the years that have shaped my thinking. You can also try Amazon’s best sellers list.

Books are great as they go into depth, but in the current environment many are somewhat out of date by the time they are published, so to stay up to date you should also be reading marketing websites and blogs on a daily basis.

Check out some of the ones I recommend on the right of this page. Some useful marketing blog directories are the Australian Marketing Pioneers Blogs and Alltop Marketing News.

So that you can managing drinking from the firehose, set your favourite blogs up in an RSS feed platform such as iGoogle, Google Reader or Pageflakes.

My iGoogle

My iGoogle

But, I think just as important as reading more, is the need to read more widely.

The marketing industry has many specializations. We often get into the habit of only reading about our specialization, which is great for deepening knowledge. 

But the downside is that it narrows our vision and means that we are more likely to miss innovations and opportunities in another area.

So recently I have started reading about advances in psychology, art design and copywriting even though I wouldn’t consider these my specialties.

They have allowed me to have more in depth conversations with my research and creative collegues. 

2. Know what best practice is

To deliver best practice work yourself, first you need to know what best practice is. The easiest way to do this is to review the award show annuals for work that is recognised as the benchmark.

Some, but definitely not all to check out are: Cannes Lions, One Show, Webbys, Effies, ADMA, B&T, AWARD

3. Surround yourself with the best

The best way to grow is to surround yourself with people that will expand and challenge your thinking. If you want to find people like this there are a few ways you can seek them out.

The first is to join industry associations and attend networking events. I have been getting a lot more involved with ADMA over the last few months and have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with such a diverse range of talented marketers.

The second is to attend seminars and hear the captains of industry speak, and not be afraid to go up to the speaker afterwards for a chat.

You will be surprised how accommodating people at the top of their game are for people on their way up, especially if you let them know who much you like their advice!

The best seminar I have attended recently was the mUmBRELLA Social Media Masterclass. I am now following most of the presenters on Twitter.

4. Intimately understand Return On Investment and the financial drivers of your business

This is critical if you are to gain respect outside of marketing, which is important as it is often not marketers that give approval on your campaign. You need to be able to demonstrate and use financial lingo if you are ever going to be able to sell your idea.

Ask your finance or product team for a tutorial on calculating and evaluating Return on Investment and understanding the financial drivers of your business.

They will really appreciate your willingness to learn their jargon. Then you can offer to give them a tutorial on marketing and we all win!

5. Start a blog

Over the last 2 months, I think developing this blog has taught me just as much about digital marketing as the last few years working in the digital marketing industry.

Specifically, I have learnt in detail about information architecture, page design, online copy writing, RSS feeds, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Bookmarking, and Twitter.

And I keep learning more every day as the analytics roll in and I read more blogs.

Another benefit of having a blog, and something that is also a key currency of social media, is the theory of generosity. I think Albert Einstein said it best:

“If I give you a pfennig, you will be one pfennig richer and I’ll be one pfennig poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.”

The more ideas we share, the more the marketing industry will benefit from the wisdom of crowds.


Maloney on Marketing has now been around for 1 year and here are the top 5 posts so far.

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