What Skills Does a Marketing Executive Need?
I’m currently mentoring a marketing assistant in the publishing industry, and the first question she asked me when we met – beyond, who the hell are you – was what skills does a marketing executive need?
To progress from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Executive, there are many different skills I recommend you develop.
You don’t need to be perfect at it!
There is a common misconception that to get a job you need to be perfect at the job in advance – you don’t. You need to have the basic skills to do the job, but you also need to have room to learn, develop and grow. Otherwise, what’s the point of changing to a job that you’ll likely have to remain in for 1-2 years without developing your skills?
With each promotion, you should be going from the top of your game to the bottom. You should be highly skilled at your role and then you should be brand new to it.
As an example, think about an old Playstation game. When you go from Level to Level, the game gets harder. You have to learn new things in order to progress, and you don’t go to the next level knowing exactly what you need to do/having all the things you need to do it. You have to play the game and work it out. That’s exactly the same for a job.
That being said, you need to have some of the skills in your arsenal (even just the basic knowledge of them) in order to progress.
But what skills should you have?
I have a list of a few things you should know how to do before you become a Marketing Executive. These skills may not always be relevant, depending on which side of publishing you’re in, i.e. if you’re in B2B publishing you don’t need to know about NetGalley, and if you’re in Educational publishing you probably don’t need to think about bookstagram so much.
That being said, if you’re looking to become a Marketing Executive from a Marketing Assistant you should know how to:
- Create a Facebook ad
- Upload titles to NetGalley and monitor reviews
- Use social media to a good degree and understand how to write tweets/posts/captions for publishing
- Know how to design assets – even the basic designs on Canva or PicMonkey if not on InDesign and Photoshop
- Use Microsoft Word, Excel and/or Google Docs & Sheets
Those are the genuine skills you need.
There are other skills you should consider.
The plus ones that are always helpful, if you know them, to include.
- An understanding of the market i.e. watching over book campaigns as a reader – looking at NetGalley reviews, if the book is price promoted, making note of designs you like be it animated videos, GIFs, static images or review quotes etc. It would be helpful if you can make a judgement on a ‘good campaign’ vs a ‘not so good campaign’. You won’t know about bad campaigns as that is the literal sign of a ‘bad campaign’.
- Knowledge of publishing terminology and what it is – even if you don’t know how to do it. For example, knowing what Metadata is, what POS and TPB stand for and what the difference between marketing and publicity is (the lines are blurred) is extremely helpful.
- Self-starter skills: if you have a blog, if you have a large social media following on one or more platforms, if you have a YouTube channel… etc. You’re a brand – you understand marketing!
- Knowledge of writing marketing plans. This is going to be a whole other post so keep an eye on that!
There are many other skills that are great to have, but as long as you have the knowledge of the industry and know those five things to a good standard then you are ready to be a Marketing Executive.
What is the difference between a Marketing Assistant and a Marketing Executive?
A Marketing Assistant’s role in publishing is to observe, to support, to implement admin. They do the small jobs that the Marketing Director, Managers, and Execs are too busy to do.
A Marketing Executive’s job is to work on the smaller campaigns for mid-list titles with smaller budgets. Whilst also continuing to assist the Director and Manager on larger campaigns.
If you want to know more about what a Marketing Manager does, take a look at my Day in the Life post.
It’s worth noting that each publishing company has a slightly different variation on the career path in marketing. Some publishers follow the simple: Assistant – Executive – Manager – Director route. Whereas others add in different roles to accommodate different skill sets. For example, I was previously a Campaigns Officer. You can also be a Campaigns Manager, a social media producer or social media coordinator.
I hope this post was helpful to explain the differences between a Marketing Assistant and a Marketing Executive within the industry.
In the future, I want to do more posts like this so let me know via Twitter or comment below what areas of publishing you would like me to cover next.