If you operate in the digital marketing space then there’s a good chance that the term, “T-shaped marketer or marketeer” has hit your radar.
These future-proofed pros are at the epicentre of business growth strategies looking to diversify their marketing efforts.
Because digital marketing is a multifaceted career, that requires marketers to continually educate themselves on new and emerging channels, this constant evolution has opened up a pathway for people that can meander between different marketing methods.
Professional hybrids, if you will.
Fortunately, to become a hybrid you won’t need to plug yourself into power outlets to produce supercharged results (pun intended).
Instead, you’ll aim to educate yourself on the fundamentals of several marketing strategies but choose to specialise in only one or two key areas.
This is what is known as the T-Shaped marketeer.
Crossing the “T” and deepening the “I”
The above image represents the T-Shaped marketeer as we see it.
With a wide range of skills forming the horizontal line of the “T” and a couple of in-depth areas forming the central “I” of the T-shape.
For example, you may be an expert in SEO marketing (this would be your “I” section) but you also have a good understanding of Content Marketing, PPC, Social Media Marketing and Email Marketing (these skills form your “T” section).
At Growth Tribe, we embrace folks that carry an understanding of different skill sets.
For us, this creates a symbiotic workplace culture where team members can be empathetic and conducive to each person’s role within the company.
No one person is or can be an expert on everything but having a basic comprehension of multiple disciplines, creates a collaborative and progressive workforce.
And we think that’s awesome.
Author, David Epstein talks about this in his book, Range where he argues that a broad range of skills and interests is preferable over specialising in solely one thing.
By building a foundational national knowledge of many different skills, marketers can formulate more robust marketing strategies that fuel company growth.
The profile of a T-Shaped marketeer
The first row highlighted in dark blue refers to non-marketing subjects and leads into the two subsequent marketing-specific rows.
Moving from left to right, we have the following:
Having a growth mindset is believing that you can cultivate and improve your skills and abilities through practice and effort.
A fixed mindset is where you impose limits on what you can achieve with the belief that your intelligence and characteristics are unable to be changed.
When we think about how these mindsets influence the workplace, it becomes clear that employers and colleagues value those of us with growth mindsets, over fixed ones.
This mindset shift allows us to become more collaborative rather than competitive, big-picture thinking makes us more innovative and overall, more trustworthy to both colleagues and employers.
Data analytics is the process of taking raw data and translating it into actionable conclusions.
What might first appear as incomprehensible numbers are then organised, analysed, and transformed into layman terms that help drive business decisions and strategies.
There are 4 types of data analytics:
- Descriptive analytics - determining what has happened over a fixed period.
- Diagnostic analytics - understanding why something has happened.
- Predictive analytics - trying to predict what will happen in the near future.
- Prescriptive analytics - suggesting what can be done as a course of action.
Strategic planning helps teams to work towards a common and clear goal. A typical strategy would be formulated by taking the following steps:
- Conducting a SWOT analysis - essentially this is an internal and external audit of your business where we identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
- Implementation - this is where the goals and targets are established and as a result, allocating resources to realise the company’s vision.
- Evaluation - where performance is measured against company targets and revisions are made to the strategy where needed.
Strategic planning is another example for promoting collaboration, structure and revealing individual talent within an organization.
Problem-solving is an invaluable skill when it comes to digital marketing. Mainly because the digital landscape is constantly evolving which in turn, presents new challenges in reaching and engaging audiences.
This is all about being able to identify, understand and present solutions to problems.
A great deal of time and effort is dedicated to understanding what drives consumers to take action.
Behavioural psychology is a vast and excruciatingly complex field but in marketing terms, it can be applied to virtually every customer touchpoint.
As marketers, we use this knowledge to create stress-free, intuitive and pleasurable customer experiences.
2. Marketing Foundation
This level of the T-shape represents a set of marketing-specific skills that pretty much encompass the entire process of bringing a product to market and beyond.
Lets look at this tiers skillsets:
Through a looped process of testing, measuring and adapting; marketing teams edge closer to success with each iteration.
Automation and API’s
A marketing campaign can quickly become a laborious task when you’re buried in repetitive tasks, keeping you from innovating and pushing the campaign forward.
This is where automation and APIs come in.
Rather than setting a timer reminding you to upload that post to social media or to send out that follow up email, you’ll have automation software that does this for you and works to your schedule.
Attribution models allow marketers to analyse and assign credit to specific touchpoints along the customer journey.
In other words, they help us see which parts of a campaign have had a direct influence on the customer outcome.
It’s rare and unlikely that a person will just jump online, head straight to a website and make a purchase immediately with no diversions.
What’s more probable, is that they have undertaken some light research; checking out the social media page, navigating the website, maybe reading a blog or listening to a podcast.
With so many possible touchpoints all sharing responsibility for customer conversions, attribution models dissect the data to assign credit where it's due.
Product marketing is the process of creating a product, bringing it to market, promoting it, and selling it.
Copywriting is the art of using persuasive language that gets users to take the desired action.
Like all conversion-oriented practices, it can be misused and if done improperly, manipulative. But great copywriting is about connecting with people. It’s taking the time to do your research and really get into the minds of your target audience. Copywriting is what connects the brand to the consumer.
3. Channel Expertise
The tier below this then represents the field of expertise that you may specialise in.
Remember though, the idea of a T-Shaped marketer is to simply understand the premise of each marketing tac to help inform strategies; you’re not expected to have deep knowledge of every single one.
Let’s look at these this tiers skillsets:
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
A conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action. For example, email sign-up, purchase, downloading an e-book, etc.
Conversion rate optimisation refers to the marketing methods we can use to increase that conversion rate.
Typically, A/B tests are conducted to increase website traffic, reduce bounce rates, reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions.
Also referred to as split testing, this marketing method lets companies test two variations of a campaign simultaneously.
So version A will be tested with one group, and version B of the campaign will be tested with another.
Refers to increasing a company’s search engine ranking (typically Google) using non-paid, organic marketing methods.
Organic methods could be:
Search engine marketing refers to using PPC methods to advertise your website.
PPC gives massive exposure that can otherwise be difficult or costly to achieve, and the trade-off is that a fee is paid each time a person clicks-through the ad link.
A marketing channel that lets companies send promotions and communicate with their audiences en masse.
Email still reigns supreme as the leading ROI of any marketing channel. It’s a fantastic channel for personalising messages and keeping customers in your brand’s ecosystem.
A closed marketing system whereby the output is fed back into the input, creating a loop.
Some of the main benefits of growth loops are their low cost, as their results compound over time. For example, you might spend a bit of money acquiring a new app user but once that user refers one or two people, the effect is compounded.
Social media marketing
This is about learning how to stand out on social media amongst a plethora of competitors in a crowded, digital space.
Paid social advertising
This refers to paid methods for increasing visibility and traffic on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Retention and loyalty
This refers to how businesses keep customers using and paying for their services.
For a lot of digital products offering freemium or tiered subscriptions models, the focus on retention and loyalty has never been greater.
This refers to how businesses can improve the likelihood of being recommended by users. Through storytelling and creating positive customer experiences, brands can promote themselves with referrals. A happy customer is your best salesperson.
Finding your expertise
Now that we’ve looked at the profile of a T-shaped marketer, all that’s left is to figure out your expertise.
If you’re unsure about where to start, take 5 minutes with our T-Shaped Quiz to find out what skills you’re best suited for.
For more on digital marketing, check out the Growth Tribe blog section for tons of additional resources and guidance for the industry’s hottest skills.
And if you’re thinking about expanding your repertoire or just want to brush up, have a look through our certified courses.