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Microsoft lists SEO as most important hard skill for marketing in the 2020s

Posted on 6th February, 2020 by Martin Topping

Search Engine Optimisation

Microsoft has published a new study that focuses on the marketing trends for the upcoming decade. As part of the study they ran a LinkedIn poll with 600 global senior marketing professionals in order to surface the most important soft and hard skills for marketers in the 2020s. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the results of this study and what the key takeaways are for the decade ahead.

Most important hard skills

Let’s start off by covering the hard skills that senior global marketing participants listed as being essential for marketers. Hard skills are those that need to be learnt either in the classroom, through books or online courses, or on the job. According to the study by Microsoft the hard skills that will be essential for the 2020s are:

  1. SEO
  2. Data analysis
  3. Copywriting
  4. Behavioural analysis
  5. Automation

Now that we know what skills will be essential in the years ahead let’s take a look at each of these in more depth to find out a little bit more about them and the roles they play in marketing.

SEO

Search engine optimisation, or SEO as it is more commonly known, is the practice of increasing rankings and helping to drive targeted traffic to a website from the organic search engine results pages (SERPS). Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines use crawlers to gather information about websites which they use to build an index. Each time a user carries out a search an algorithm scans the index of hundreds of billions of pages in order to find the results that best answer the user’s intent.

Search engines like Google use over 200 ranking factors as part of their algorithms and attempt to rank pages based on their relevancy, authority, and usefulness. SEO is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to a website and 93% of all online experiences start on a search engine. And, thanks to increased awareness, SEO is now at the forefront of marketing campaigns replacing more traditional marketing channels such as print as we increasingly become a more digital society.

Data analysis

This is a marketing activity that tends to go hand in hand with SEO and it is most often used by marketers to measure the performance of their campaigns. From conducting analysis of historic data to forecasting future data, the role of analysis is to help strategise your marketing activities and turn your data into actionable insights that lead to improvements in performance.

Copywriting

Another essential marketing activity and one linked with SEO is copywriting. With search engines like Google focusing on providing users with results that are relevant, authoritative and useful, it’s easy to see how copywriting can help make the difference when it comes to business marketing. Well written, informative and intent focused content is the key to helping businesses get better rankings in the search engines as well as converting more clicks into customers. Copywriting covers everything from website content and email campaigns to social media posts and business brochures. The ability to write high-quality content that resonates with a businesses target audience is set to become a highly desirable skill in the next 10 years.

Behavioural analysis

The science of learning, behaviour analysis looks at the online journeys that consumers make and how they react to content, brands and campaigns on different platforms and devices. In the 2020s marketers will be using behavioural analysis to inform strategies and empower decisions helping brands to make their campaigns more targeted and resonate with their audience during all parts of the customer journey.

Automation

Machine learning, AI and automation have all come a long way in recent years and this trend is set to continue with more and more tools allowing businesses to take advantage of automating processes and marketing activities. Marketers who understand automation are set to be in high demand as more platforms introduce machine learning to take the guesswork out of optimising marketing activities. Automation will allow marketers to spend more time on strategy and improving performance and less time on repetitive tasks that can be automated.

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