Digital Profits Podcast – Episode 7: What Makes Top-Tier Digital Marketers Elite?

Are you a digital marketer looking for creative ways to build an effective team? Are you trying to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of consumer demand and needs? Then it’s time to learn how connecting people and products can help create successful marketing initiatives. With changing trends, customer demands, and technology, it’s more important than ever that marketers have the right tools in their toolkit.

Understanding how your business connects people and products is one of those tools! In this post, we’ll discuss why connection is so vital when developing a marketing plan, which strategies will give you the best results, and some tips on making strategic connections throughout every step of your business strategy.

Understanding the Basics of Digital Marketing  

So, you’re interested in digital marketing? That’s great! In today’s world, having a basic understanding of digital marketing is crucial, whether you’re a small business owner or a social media influencer. To put it simply, digital marketing encompasses all the marketing efforts that are done through digital platforms like social media, email, search engines, and more.

Understanding the basics of digital marketing can help you reach a wider audience, increase your brand awareness, and ultimately, drive more sales. Some of the key components of digital marketing include search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). By understanding these basic principles, you’ll be on your way to creating a more effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

Crafting a Comprehensive Strategy to Reach Your Goals  

Crafting a comprehensive strategy is essential for anyone looking to achieve their goals. It’s important to start by identifying your objectives and then breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. You need to create realistic timelines and deadlines and ensure that you have the resources you need to succeed.

By setting clear goals and objectives, you can focus your efforts on what truly matters and avoid getting bogged down in distractions. When crafting your strategy, it’s also important to build in flexibility and be prepared to adjust your plan as needed. Remember, the road to success is rarely straight or easy, but with a well-crafted plan in place, you can overcome obstacles and achieve your dreams.

Leveraging Technology to Support Your Efforts

If you’re looking to up your game and truly take your efforts to the next level, you need to start leveraging technology to your advantage. Whether you’re trying to streamline your workload or gain a competitive edge, technology can provide you with the tools you need to succeed.

With the right software, you can automate processes, analyze data more efficiently, and even connect with customers on a deeper level. But don’t let the potential complexity of technology intimidate you. With a bit of know-how and some guidance, you can master the tools that will help you achieve your goals like a pro.

The Art of Storytelling for Impactful Messages

As someone who understands the importance of crafting impactful messages, you know that storytelling is essential to making a lasting impact. A great story engages and captivates its audience, leaving a lasting impression that lingers long after it’s been told. No matter what message you’re trying to convey, weaving it into a narrative that your audience can connect with is key to getting it to stick. A well-crafted story can transcend cultural boundaries and language barriers, making it a powerful tool for reaching people from all walks of life. So, the next time you’re trying to make an impact, consider the power of storytelling to get your message across.

Finding the Right Content for Your Customers

When it comes to finding the right content for your customers, you want to make sure that you’re delivering exactly what they want. But with so much content out there, it can be overwhelming to decide what will resonate with your audience. That’s where taking the time to truly understand your customers comes in. What are their pain points? What motivates them? What topics are they interested in?

You can craft content that speaks directly to their needs and desires by answering these questions. Additionally, consider testing out different types of content, from blog posts to videos to infographics, to see what gets the most engagement. Remember, the key is to always put your audience first and deliver the valuable content they’re looking for.

Building the Right Team to Achieve Success in Digital Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, building the right team is crucial in achieving success. You need to gather the right people with diverse skills and expertise to create a well-rounded team. But don’t just look for people who fit the job description. Look for those who are passionate, eager to learn, and committed to delivering excellent results.

Remember that digital marketing is dynamic and constantly changing, so having a team that can adapt and innovate is essential. Invest in your team by providing them with the necessary resources, training, and tools to help them grow and excel. With the right team in place, you can leverage each other’s strengths and maximize your potential for success in digital marketing.

Digital marketing can be a daunting task, but with the right skills and know-how, it can be used as an incredible tool to drive more business. It’s important to remember that digital marketing requires a balanced mix of knowledge, strategy, and technology to make it work effectively. While it is critical to understand the basics of digital marketing, crafting a well-thought-out strategy goes a long way in achieving desired goals. Leveraging the right technologies and exploring storytelling techniques helps refine messages for maximum impact.

Additionally, it is equally important to find the right content that resonates with your customers and build the right team: an experienced strategist paired with savvy creatives ensures success in any digital marketing endeavor. Doing all these tasks correctly will set you up for successful campaigns and give you an edge over competitors in this ever-changing landscape!

Discover the secrets to building a successful marketing team and becoming a thriving digital marketer when you listen to the latest episode of the Digital Profits Podcast on Connecting People and Products. Gain insights that will elevate your digital marketing career and help you build a high-performing marketing team as the Profit Squad explore the core values, specialized expertise, and evolving skills necessary for success in today’s competitive landscape. Tune in now and unlock the secrets to success in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing!

Welcome to the Digital Profits podcast, where you’ll learn how to grow your business faster using paid traffic and SEO. Each episode will feature a breakdown of digital marketing trends and answers to your burning questions that will provide actionable takeaways to make your marketing better. So join us, Ben Page, Ray Sawvell and Blake John, as we guide you on your journey to higher profits. Remember to join the profit and get ready to profit in 3, 2, 1.

Ray Sawvell: Hey, guys, we’re in the studio today. The whole crew is here. We’ve got Blake. Hello, Ray. Hello, Ben and myself. And today we got a fun topic that we decided to slot in a little bit last minute, but something that we’ve all seen for years, and we’re going to talk about the top digital marketers from a people and talent perspective. What are the traits that top digital marketers possess? And we think this will be helpful for you whether you’re a brand or your agency side, if you’re looking to grow or develop your team, you should get some value from this episode. So, guys, I’m going to kick things off with a question like we often do, and I’m going to ask your opinion here. What is the number one most important trait for a digital marketer to possess? Blake John.

Blake John: It’s a great question. I kind of have two ways to go about this. First and foremost, I think a great marketer is really dedicated to their job, their craft, and they want to learn. And specifically, they are dedicated to uncovering and pushing further and never taking that first answer or piece of data and always going a little bit further and digging and always trying to find more. And that willingness to learn, the willingness to grow is ultimately one trait that makes a marketer a great marketer because obviously in our industry, in niche kind of things are evolving so fast and changing all the time. So a willingness to kind of stay up to date, dedicated to your craft and always pushing forward and trying to learn more. It’s one of the top traits, in my opinion.

Ray Sawvell: That’s interesting. It sounds almost like multifaceted. I almost want to say that was like three traits, but we’ll go with it. Ray, what’s yours?

Ben Page: Blake, first of all, great answer. My favorite one is honesty or integrity. Just because we deal with so many numbers and people and situations that you have to put yourself in as part of somebody’s team where you may not always have the best news to deliver to someone. And being able to be honest and transparent with the information that you’re sharing, either internally or externally, is just so important. So being able to have somebody who has integrity is just very important.

Ray Sawvell: You want to avoid black hat tactics and SEO Ponzi schemes, for sure.

Ben Page: I’ve fallen for a couple of those.

Ray Sawvell: I know. Yeah. Well, that maybe that’s a future episode. Wow. For me, it is so multifaceted. I almost want to say, what’s that killer instinct? I think it is like, almost curiosity. I think it’s something like what you were describing, Blake. It’s like that hunger for growth and development and learning. Maybe it’s learning. Right? It’s like that dedication and understanding that it’s like that driver of mastery. I think that’s how I would best describe it. Never sort of being satisfied and always being open minded to new ways of approaching your craft, new perspectives. Now I’m rambling. And that could also be, like, three different traits. So maybe I’ll go with curiosity. Ray, you’ve got the integrity, and Blake.

Blake John: You’ve got willingness to learn.

Ray Sawvell: Willingness to learn, sure. Super interesting. So some common threads in there.

Blake John: Yeah.

Ray Sawvell: Wow. Well, let’s break it down. I mean, let’s talk about some of the different ways you could evaluate or traits you might want to maximize for if you are growing, managing, and leading team of marketers, digital marketers. Well, in big picture, maybe that’s something to note or something I think about a lot is I think about the idea of being a marketer first and foremost, before you get into digital marketing, before you get into SEO, before you get into PPC. The idea of, like, do you understand connecting people and products at a fundamental level? Can you bring a product to market? Having that sensibility is kind of like what underlies this whole domain, this whole discipline. But where should we begin? Should we talk about values and the importance of values fit in marketers? What do you guys think?

Ben Page: Let’s do it.

Blake John: Yeah, I think it’s a good place to start.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah. So maybe we can approach this from the lens of you’re a marketing leader in house, and you are now recruiting for a new digital marketing role, whether that is a specialist or a generalist coordinator, digital manager, or something like that. So first and foremost, is this person do they demonstrate in alignment with your organization’s values, whatever they may be? Like, where does this fit? What are your thoughts on this?
Ben Page: Yeah, I mean, I would say depending on whether you’re a brand or if you’re looking to get into the space, finding somebody who shares values similar to yourself or your brand are extremely important. So getting those aligned is something crucial to do in that conversation. So I would definitely start there. Blake, what do you think?

Blake John: Yeah. I think you have to take a step back and just understand, first and foremost, ask yourself what really is important to me and what kind of relationships do work with me and work with my brand or my company? And what do we need to continue to kind of build on, to grow our brand, to grow our marketing department, to push the needle further? And ultimately choosing, if you haven’t already, if you haven’t identified your core values and what those are going through, that process can be really powerful. And then you can begin to hire or look for freelancers based on that and start to kind of build like a community of sorts, really, around a few four or five core values that are kind of the heartbeat of your entire operation.

Ray Sawvell: Should we specifically name drop EOS here and talk about that? Because the idea of having established core values at the organization level, we’re kind of talking about this conceptually, but it’s like, how do we make this real for people? Especially if it’s a hiring manager or someone that’s trying to recruit and evaluate different candidates for a digital marketing role. I mean, this is true for any role, right? And what does that value alignment look like? I think in order to do this well, you need to have your core values defined. And then in EOS, the idea is that you’re hiring, firing, rewarding, promoting, demo your people function in the organization is based on core values. It’s also based on roles in rocks, in the EOS system. But the idea that if you have those defined, then you can actually evaluate by making them explicit. So we’re not talking about values like motivational posters on the wall, but we’re talking about having stories and in a sense operationalizing your core values to say, I don’t know, maybe you have one that’s like, excellent customer service is a value or something. Right. And then, okay, well, what does that look like for your organization? What are examples? What are stories of someone living that out at any level in your organization? Right. Then you can actually develop questions to sort of evaluate a given candidate against that and give them real tangible feedback of you’re always demonstrating customer service excellence, sometimes or never. And therefore you can start to make more objective assessments. I think what’s a bad thing is from a value side if you’re misaligned with a candidate or a team member, usually those are the hardest issues out of the gate to solve because you can make adjustments. If someone has the right skill set well, let me reframe if they have the right values but the wrong skill set, maybe they’re just in the wrong place in your organization, but culturally they’re a great fit. But if it’s the inverse, where they have the skills but there’s a values clash or a culture clash is what we would sometimes call that, then usually it’s not going to work out in the long term, or if they remain, there’s going to be friction and so on. But yeah, I mean, are there any examples of values, whether they’re our own values, which obviously are kind of personalized to our organization, our agency, or just like generally. Right. If we think about what are some of the values that we think top digital marketers would share, like, Ray, you opened with the integrity angle. Are there other core values that you think are important for digital marketers?

Ben Page: Yes, I think one of the bigger ones. And we kind of are a little maybe over detailed with this one we call one of ours customer obsession. But in my mind, if you’re a brand and if you’re working with someone, you want to have someone who feels like they’re part of your team. So the way we classify it is we’re obsessing over our customer or our client, and we’re figuring out their pain points, how they can grow. But if you’re a brand, you’re going to want to find somebody who really feels like they’re a part of your team. And it’s not like a vendor type of relationship, so it’s more conversational versus transactional. And that’s a big different that I tend to see in the space is, do you have somebody who really feels like they’re part of your team? Especially if you’re going out and seeking an agency type relationship.

Ray Sawvell: So maybe going deeper, double clicking on that, because I do think it’s super important. Obviously, we’ve agreed on it for ourselves. It’s the idea of, right. Like, you’re not Just There doing A Set Of Tasks as a marketer, but you’re understanding the bigger context of where this organization, this brand, this company fits. This product fits in the market. Who the competitors are, who the customers are, how the Customers Talk, what their Needs are, how we meet Their needs, how we could Better meet Their. Going into those Deeper Angles, I think, is what customer obsession is all about, especially if you’re, like, in House Blake. Any other examples come to mind for you?

Blake John: Yeah, I’m actually going to lean back toward Ray, what you open with, which is kind of the integrity maybe like trustworthiness angle here a little bit. But I just think it’s so valuable to have a partner who is willing to give you the bad news and not try to spin everything to be good news because we’re not always going to have every single month, every single week, it’s going to be you’re going to increase 10% every month. It’s never going to happen that way. And sometimes there’s going to be things in the data when you’re digging in, whatever it might be, that could be an issue, and it needs to be surfaced, it needs to be discussed, and you need to tackle it. And sometimes if you don’t have that sort of integrity value personally, your marketer is missing, that really important information could be missed or glossed over or just completely ignored because they’re not willing to have that tough conversation to really move things forward. Because, again, if it’s not, it’s going to kind of just be a black hole, and it’s going to be an issue that goes unserviced, unmonitored for how long? And then it’ll show itself and it’ll be uglier than before. Right. So it needs to be brought up. And I think at the end of the day, that’s kind of an integrity piece that is just absolutely crucial for, I think, most roles everywhere in the world all the time, but also in digital marketing too. Right. It’s just very important.

Ben Page: And that’s like a red flag to look out too. If you’re getting on a call with someone who’s in house on your team or a partner or an agency, and if you’re just having surface level conversation and if it’s a reporting type of call and you’re reading things like, clicks are up 10% and conversions are here, blah, blah, blah. And you’re not having those deeper conversations where it’s like this new competitor entered the market. They’re attacking your product from this angle. Here’s what we think we should do about it. Or, hey, this campaign that we ran, it fell on its face. Here’s the reasons why we want to try XYZ moving forward. If it’s not conversational, it’s like, almost, why are you working with that person? To some extent, because I don’t want to say it’s a waste of time if you’re just like, reading the numbers and you’re doing blah, blah, blah, but it feels like that, you know what I mean? And you can get more value out of just having those deeper conversations.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah. If you believe in the data led approach, you want to avoid spin, right. I think that’s kind of what you’re both saying, in a sense. You want a low spin factor. And the way that we define integrity in our agency is open, honest, accountable. And you could also maybe add that transparency factor just like, hey, we’re going to have good weeks, we’re going to have bad weeks. We’re going to be real about what the numbers are telling us and not fabricate a story that’s favorable based on the numbers, but we’re just going to present the numbers as they are, and we’re going to have recommendations and so on. And this goes into what we call leadership, right? Being proactive and taking ownership and following through. That’s much better to do as an approach. But I don’t know. We’ve hammered on values. There’s so much more to talk about. What about this notion that’s been debated, I think, for years? Is it better to be a marketing generalist or a specialist? I feel like I’ve seen this swing back and forth over the years. What are your guys thoughts?

Blake John: I tend to lean towards specialty. I mean, ultimately you want to have somebody who on your team who is truly an expert in their given craft. And this kind of goes back to being dedicated to your craft. Because at the end of the day, that’s the person that you can really rely on to be proactive like we’ve kind of been mentioning and to uncover new revenue streams or new ideas or new content that’s going to really increase your visibility or whatever it might be. Whereas somebody who has just that surface level knowledge, it can only take you so far usually, or they’ll make mistakes and you’ll be going backwards instead of forwards because they don’t have that experience or knowledge to really read through the lines and uncover the most important piece of data or whatever it might be. I definitely lean towards this specialty side, but for me, myself, I feel like I landed that specialty side, so maybe it’s a little bit you’re asking a specialist to say prefer specialist generalist.

Ben Page: I agree with what Blake’s saying, but we were joking about this before, but in my mind, it is both in some capacity, because you have to yes, you need to be an expert. Blake is an expert in SEO. I’m an expert in PPC. But we know enough to be dangerous, as folks like to say. But we know enough in each other’s discipline, where if we see something, we can call it out and then determine next steps. So it’s almost like you don’t have like a blind eye towards your specialty only, or you’re hammered in on your area of focus. If you see something in the data or in the strategy that you may have seen somewhere else before outside of your discipline, you’re able to then call that out. So definitely being a specialist is the way to go. But being open to learning, which is kind of goes back to the values that we were talking about earlier. Being curious, willing to learn, understanding other disciplines is very important because then you’re able to call out different patterns that you see, and you might not be able to solve that problem. But, hey, if I find an SEO problem, I’m going to Blake. But I’m not just saying, Blake, go fix this issue for me. Blake, I think we have a gap in XYZ content. Can you check this out based on this keyword? So it’s just different conversations that you’re having that’s getting you one step closer to a potential resolution.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, that’s interesting. I’ll kind of comment on what you guys have said before. I share my own thoughts. I think the value of specialization rises in disciplines as they mature, if that makes sense. So the longer SEO happens, or paid or, oh, now TikTok advertising, as any channel matures, the difficulty score goes up, the competition levels heat up. And so if you’re a generalist, you don’t have enough specialized knowledge to break through the plateau of achieving results in that area. That’s kind of how I think of it. And the height of that line goes up as insures. Like I said, I guess. Certainly. But I think for me, the counterargument is like, you need enough of that marketing mindset, like, that general marketing mindset. And you also need enough generalist knowledge across disciplines, things like principles, mental models, or the fundamentals, the 80 20 of SEO, email, social paid analytics, whatever. Right. Like you said, Ray, to sort of recognize patterns, problems, opportunities, when they arise, or if you are maybe the person that we’re speaking to. More on this podcast. If you’re a marketing head or something like that, head of growth. You need to know enough to know where to place your bets, in a sense. And on a different episode, we’ll talk about metrics and stuff to evaluate success in your marketing. But if resources are finite, dollars, time, energy, whatever, it’s like, well, should I do email or should I do TikTok posts? I don’t know. I mean, should I do Google Ads or should I do more SEO content development? You need to know enough broadly to make a well informed decision there, or enlist the help of others that can help you do that. So that’s what’s up. And then I’ll service this idea of the T shaped marketer. That is not my idea. It’s a borrowed idea, I think possibly Rand Fishkin. I’m probably misattributing this, maybe not rand, but like, years ago, some smart folks in the industry came out with this idea, this very concept, right? Like, you need to have a base foundation across disciplines, but then it’s good to have one, maybe two really deep pillars so that you can be not only a good operator, like if your job, if your role is to just crank out X, work SEO all day, great. But also whether you’re in house somewhere, you need to be a good collaborator. You need to be able to communicate to your other team, the other specialists, your boss, your boss’s boss. You need to communicate to customers. You need to communicate to vendors that are servicing a specialty that is adjacent to the one that you’re deep in. And that’s why I think T shaped is valuable there, as it is, like Ray, I think some of your perspective is informed by the agency experience and then right, like cross department collaboration or spotting of opportunities that might have otherwise gone unnoticed if you were blinders on only in your discipline. So, like, super valuable there, I think, too.

Blake John: It’ll depend a little bit on your marketing budget if you’re a smart, if you have limited resources, you might need somebody who is a generalist because they can help you manage your email campaigns and do your paid search campaigns. Like, they can do both. Or maybe they can also do a little bit of web dev that could be really valuable to you because now it’s only one person on the payroll or it’s one team or whatever it might be, whereas budget isn’t really a concern. And this is why I think specialists are probably the way to go, because ultimately, at the highest level, like you’re saying, where it gets more competitive, it’s just more cutthroat. That’s when you want the specialists, right? Because they’re the ones who are going to be able to really drive business at the end of the day. But depending on your maturation, just as like a company or an agency or whatever it is, I think that’ll help inform what kind of talent you want to go after. And what you can sort of budget for.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, that’s an excellent point, man. I always think about, right? It’s like that maturity idea. So maybe you’re a and you need like a hacker that can wear all hats and just be your broad based marketing generalist. But then if you look at the top end of the market, where what companies in the world are doing the most digital marketing, and then that’s when if you charts and stuff, like, oh, they have like eight people on a global technical SEO team doing XYZ super special. Even within disciplines. Like, now within SEO, oh, we have SEO copywriters, people doing just on page, people just doing, like, product listing optimization, people just doing tech, and even deeper, oh, now these people focus on international technical SEO. These people only deal with this category of pages on our site or Ray. Like, we have eight vendors, and this agency does our TikTok ads and our this, and they do our Pinterest, and they do our Paid search. And that idea that as resources grow and you’re doing more volume and you’re competing at a higher level in more channels, the level of specialization and intensity just tends to increase. It’s interesting. What about this? If you kind of flip this and now instead of talking to the marketing leader, trying to grow the team, we’re talking to the person who’s just getting into the field, and they’re like, what should I do? They’re like. Blake, should I do SEO or should I do Paid or email or paid? Well, problem skipping. I love all of my children. For me, right? I’m thinking, like, you need to taste all these different disciplines before you can even make an informed decision on which one to go deep in. If you’re buying in on this T shaped marketer.

Ben Page: Yeah, I don’t know. Blake almost hit it on the head earlier when he was going after based on the maturation of that company. For me personally, I did start off as that generalist where I was doing a little bit of everything. I was doing social media marketing. I was doing some web dev stuff. And guess what? There was some Paid in there too. And that’s when I really kind of got lost in the sauce type of thing. And when I kind of learned that discipline, I would say I was maybe doing some on page SEO, but I don’t even want to talk about it because definitely wasn’t it was pointless, I would say, the stuff I was doing there. But if you are just entering the space, being in a generalist role allows you to taste like a little bit of everything. And if the role permits, it allows you to then go deeper on one area that either calls out to you, you have an affinity towards. There’s so many different ways you can approach that.

Blake John: Yeah. To add to it, I want to go back to the T shape and almost say, like, it’s kind of like an upside the way I’m envisioning it.

Ray Sawvell: Because you have climbing every base of.

Blake John: Just general knowledge, and then your specialty goes toward the top. So what I’m thinking like, okay, well, maybe it’s a U shape or something, right? That’s another field.

Ben Page: Like it’s in the middle.

Blake John: Like the u shaped marketer. Yeah, we can claim that one now.

Ray Sawvell: Right.

Blake John: But I think that if you’re just starting off, it’s difficult to say, pick a specialty and run with it. This is who you are.

Ben Page: This is the rest of your career.

Blake John: Good luck. I do think there’s value in learning multiple skills, but I think ultimately identify what you enjoy, like what kind of makes you want to get out of bed in the morning, essentially, and then figure that out. Once you have that, I think it makes sense to lean into it, but also try to stack another skill, another discipline in addition to that. On the SEO side, which is my specialty, I would say learn HTML. So you can do a little bit in CSS. You can do a little bit of front end web design, like just a little bit. You don’t have to be an expert, but you can kind of stack that or CRO or something along those lines where, okay, now they’re so closely related. And I think if you want to become a true specialist in SEO, you kind of have to learn HTML and CSS at least a little bit. But you can kind of take that and say, okay, you can stack these skills. You can become the U shaved marketer. And now your skill set is just extremely valuable, and you can go in multiple directions. Now you can kind of go to the left or the right, and you have options. And I would say start generalist. Figure out what really makes your heart tick, gets you out of the bed in the morning, and then try to stack it. Try to find something that’s closely related and sort of build that U. You started with a T, now maybe you’ve got a U.

Ray Sawvell: That’s what I would say. Wow. I mean, on the same idea, thinking about we could frame this as like, soft skills versus hard skills, where hard skills are like what we’ve pretty much talked about so far. We talk about values, but you’re going to learn SEO and then Blake’s like, yeah, but also learn code. Sweet. Okay, now you’re like a coding SEO, but soft skills are going to help you no matter what. Even if you are the flatline marketer and you quit marketing in five years or something. I’m thinking about that. What are the soft or the meta skills that are like a value added so what are some of those soft skills guys that you would look for a marketer to have?

Blake John: I feel like these are the things on every single job description that’s ever been written there’s, like that five or six bullet point or that list of five or six bullet points.

Ray Sawvell: Excel wizard.

Blake John: Yeah.

Ben Page: Microsoft Office.

Blake John: Ms Office. Three.

Ray Sawvell: Just kidding.

Blake John: Communication skills are just extremely important. Everyone would agree with that. But we could dig into that. Just being able to convey your ideas to stakeholders as an example would be like an extremely valuable skill set for a digital marketer to really own. Being able to send a well written email that gets your point across, I think about, like, from an email perspective, which it’s really an art. Truly, it can be an art. But making sure, especially someone like a stakeholder is really busy. Hey, here’s what’s going on. Here’s what I need from you. Don’t miss this part. And just being able to format that email to make sure you get what you need while also conveying important information. The one other thing that I wanted to mention, though, that I don’t necessarily would think would be on every job description, but probably a lot is just being proactive and taking initiative for yourself. Going a step further, reading a little bit more, doing some research, subscribing to a blog that you think is relevant to your industry, trying to dig. And this kind of goes maybe to what I’ve mentioned at the top. Trying to continue to learn, but digging a little further to uncover a new piece of data that sheds some light. Like just being proactive and pushing forward and trying to gain as much as you can from every new data set or every new blog article, whatever it might be. Every new algorithm.

Ray Sawvell: Update from Google.

Blake John: Things are just changing all the time.

Ray Sawvell: Wow, I didn’t even think of that before Blake, but that one’s so huge because now it goes from the realm of just words, and I like SEO, and I’m an SEO, and it’s cool. SEO is cool, bro. But going from that to the actions of, oh, you’re staying up late to read the docs on the latest Algo update, or you’re reading the blogs of the people. That’s part of that obsession piece, or that passion, that curiosity.

Ben Page: I feel like we can do like a whole episode on communication by itself because everything that Blake said is right on. But for me, the biggest thing I tend to think about is how do you take these big, hairy marketing concepts and put them in bite sized chunks, depending on the audience that you’re speaking to? So if you are speaking to a decision maker or a stakeholder that has 100 things on their plate and they need to hear, here’s what happened, here’s why it’s important, and here’s the next steps. And being able to bite size chunk that as much as quick as you can and as impactful as you can, that’s important. Being able to speak to a specialist like Blake and being able to get into the weeds and perhaps problem. Solve, that’s also important. So it’s truly knowing your audience from a communication standpoint and how to deliver some of these big hairy concepts in the way that they need to be delivered is so important.

Ray Sawvell: Mind equals blown. Well, because I’m thinking, right, what we’re basically saying is, we’re saying like communication and it’s like verbal communication. Can you do that? And I always think, can you do that one to one? Can you do that one? To many written communication, same thing. Can you email? Can you write a report? Do you know how to not marry the lead? Do you know how to format properly like all those things?

Ben Page: AI communication recently, that’s a big one. How do you communicate to the AI? How do you write prompts? That’s a huge one. Moving forward.

Ray Sawvell: Well, that goes into the foundational because right, it’s like the technical stuff all sort of sits at the top of the pyramid. But if you build a base of strong communication skills and meta skills, if you’re good at learning new things. So like learning how to learn, learning how to communicate, written verbal, learning how to think, I believe is one because Ray, this is your point. Can you think conceptually? Can you think in terms of detail and can you express ideas at both levels of thinking? It’s like, can you do that? But then there’s almost like a middle. Like Blake, you hinted at the code thing because you could stack code with any technical. It’s like, oh, now you’re an email coder and AI is going to be in that bucket too. Now you’re an AI PPC. And then other soft skill, like for paid I always think about, but it’s good for any, it’s good for email, it’s good for social, like psychology and behavior and studying influence and studying how to write copy, those are all good ones too. But I think ultimately it’s like we can put people through rigorous training to build the hard skills. But soft skills can be a little bit more challenging at times to train. So maybe there’s some extra value points you’d want to assign there.

Ben Page: I feel like you can train those hard skills so much faster than you can the soft skills. Not saying that you can’t learn the soft skills because you can, but in the way that you teach those hard skills, they typically progress much faster in my experience, in comparison to the softer skills. Like you can’t just teach somebody how to communicate better. It’s mainly through experience where a lot of the harder skills can be like go listen to this podcast, or go try this. It’s a lot of self-development versus reps and experience from communication. Between the three of us, we’ve been on hundreds if not thousands of calls and have those reps in. So that’s I think one of the main differentiators between the hard and soft skills.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah. So I guess to kind of bring it all home. I want each of us think about our experience in recruiting, hiring, promoting, firing, coaching, collaborating, whatever right, with the people that we’ve met and worked with over our careers. I think we’d all agree there are certain marketers that stand out in your minds, and I bet we’d probably all have names that we’d say, and most of them would overlap from the experiences that we’ve shared. What gives a marketer that killer instinct? This will be kind of our wrap up question. What does that killer instinct consist of?

Ben Page: I’ll go back to my brevity point, being able to take the what so what now? What approach for big, hairy topics? And being able to deliver that in a concise way for me is so important. Because if you can take these big subjects and deliver them in a punch like size format, there’s a lot of value in that. Because you’re not only speaking to day to day contacts, you could be speaking to a CMO at a company or the president. You can exactly deliver why things are so important either in your own discipline or others. And that really takes things to the next level, in my experience. So being able to communicate with everybody, but being able to communicate in bite sized chunks, in my experience, is key.

Ray Sawvell: So integrity communicating, bite sized chunks. That’s Ray’s X Factor Blake It’s tough.

Blake John: For me to one up that I feel like face.

Ben Page: Blake.

Blake John: Yeah, right. What? So what now?

Ray Sawvell: What?

Blake John: I feel like that’s kind of where my head was leaning, to be honest. Just never really settling for surface level data. I think at least in SEO, that’s really how you level up as an SEO professional, is you always want to dig a little bit deeper. You can see the data, and it can be there. It’s like, okay, well, why is this happening? And when you apply that to your own data and you start to go, oh, I can do this for competitors. I can understand why they’re ranking so well or why XYZ Brand is driving so much traffic and go, okay, well, wait. Let’s really drill this down. Let’s flip over all these rocks, uncover a bunch of insights, and sort of reengineer this for ourselves and start to win in places where they’re winning. That’s the killer instinct. And it’s so abstract, but it’s like, okay, well, I learned this principle that what? So what now? Whatnot? Okay, where else can I apply that? And how can I continue to level up and to continue to grow? I feel like the killer instinct is maybe the softest, hard skill, if that makes sense, because it’s sort of buried deep beneath everything else. But when you start to realize how all the dots connect and how you can sort of leverage each piece to really grow your campaign or whatever it might be, that’s when the killer instinct starts to show. And you can drive traffic and drive business and really grow.

Ray Sawvell: Wow. Yeah. For me, I think I open with that curiosity. I think my killer instinct would be relentless as well. Just that drive, that hunger, that thirst for knowledge. If you combine the curiosity and the passion for your skill set with the relentless mindset of I’m going to find a way to use this. I’m going to apply it, I’m going to make connections, I’m going to go deeper. I’m going to find what I don’t know and knowing there’s a lot more you don’t know than you do know. I think that’s right. Regardless of where someone is in their career development and their skills development, if they have that trait, they’re going to have a pretty good acceleration up the U shaped marketer, D shape marketer path. So that’s probably a good place to wrap it up. We covered a lot of ground, guys.

Blake John: Absolutely.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah.

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