We often talk about the “T” shaped marketer, where you have an in-depth knowledge of one discipline and a minor understanding of several different disciplines.
Today, we’re going to dig into why this is such a useful way to train your digital marketing skills in the practical day-to-day operations of how companies function. We’ll approach this from the view of a PPC professional.
First, let’s take a look at how traffic flows to your website and turns into revenue so you can keep justifying your job.
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Website Traffic Flow
When we look at traffic flow, there are a few significant steps.
Traffic is just that, traffic. It doesn’t automatically turn into corporate revenue. The second step is to ensure the website can convert that traffic into sales. CRO or conversion rate optimization is the science and art of increasing conversion rates and revenue from existing traffic.
The third step is saving all the data into your CRM and analytics systems. This could include additional systems such as audience managers and so forth.
You then use all this data to determine how traffic is converting so you can make adjustments to your traffic drivers.
If you are a PPC professional who only knows one aspect of this entire system, you can’t influence the other steps in the process. Often the best way to increase PPC bids is by working on CRO so your make more revenue per click and thus can increase bids. Landing Page Quality Score is dependent on useful webpages. Creating effective PPC audiences is dependent on examining your analytics data to leverage audiences appropriately.
Everything is connected, so understanding each piece of this puzzle helps you make better decisions as a PPC professional and work well with other teams.
Cross Channel Coordination
Working well with other teams means you can coordinate marketing efforts across teams. Consider these types of synergies:
- Using TV Commercial taglines in PPC headlines
- Showing remarketing ads that reinforce the initial ad and offer the user viewed that attracted them to your website in the first place
- Looking at what products each audience buys in the next set of visits to your website to highlight those potential sales
- Using PPC ad testing to help the SEO team test title tags
- Testing new landing page designs with PPC before rolling out new page templates across the entire website
The list of how channels can work together can be quite endless. No matter how skilled a PPC professional you are, if you don’t know the basics of each discipline, then it is easy to miss these opportunities. In addition, this often means you start working with other departments, such as publishing, IT, offline marketing, etc.
This exposure across your company can make you more visible, leading to promotions and salary increases as other departments are noticing your work.
Wearing Many Hats
These initial examples are based upon working within a larger company or agency where there are many departments. There are many jobs within smaller companies where one person is the entire PPC, SEO, email, and social team.
In these instances, you have to wear all the different hats - PPC professional, SEO engineer, email marketer, social media expert - at once. This means you can be very nimble in executing marketing campaigns, but only if you know how each one functions.
There are many ways companies structure digital marketing organizations, but let’s choose this basic organization as a starting place.
A newly-hired PPC professional is often put into a junior analyst role. If you have a few years of experience, then you could be hired into an analyst or even a senior analyst role. The higher your role, the more it is necessary to connect and work with other teams. Speaking their language can help dramatically with the communication and tests the company puts into the palace.
However, to become someone who oversees multiple teams, such as a digital director or online manager, you need to understand what each team does so you can effectively lead each team.
To lead multiple teams, you need to:
- Know what the team should be doing
- Propose high-level changes and execution strategies
- Be able to read their reports to understand how the strategies are working
- Know the correct questions to ask the team lead
- Know if the team lead and members of the team are doing a good job
- Interview new candidates
- Direct multiple teams to work together
- Prioritize the work each team is doing and how it might affect another team
While there are many other duties of a manager, if you do not speak the language, you will not be able to effectively communicate with the teams and properly coordinate their efforts.
A manager is not expected to know every technical detail. They are probably not logging into Google Ads or Google Search Console every day. They are expected to understand the terminology used and direct the teams to execute strategies and influence how the teams get it done.
If you aren’t cross-trained in the various disciplines, then you cannot effectively lead multiple teams.
Where to Start
When we look at a starting point for cross-training from the perspective of a PPC professional, we first start with understanding PPC and becoming an expert in that discipline.
The next evolution is usually making sure your traffic converts (CRO) or learning analytics for audience creation and data evaluation. These skills directly affect how your PPC account is run and is necessary to become a Sr. PPC Analyst. Basic knowledge of analytics is expected from an analyst as well.
Once you’ve gained those skills, the next step is to make your PPC accounts even more effective. This generally comes from a few areas.
This often starts with creating landing pages for new products/services or new pages to increase landing page quality scores. This involves a mixture of CRO and copywriting skills. In a big company, this means working with the design or UI teams in terms of content and layouts that will convert.
Then you often branch into looking at sequential marketing that can involve email, video, or just the overall customer journey pathways and optimizing the pathway.
Once you go down these paths, you often find that there’s better data you can be working with and that there are conversion gaps or data integrity issues. How can you get better data?
This leads analysts to question their current data and see what they can do to improve it, which means better decisions across the entire marketing funnel. If you are using total leads now, should you be using marketing qualified or sales qualified leads? If you are using actual revenue, can you move to revenue projections instead of old data?
As you can see, you need skills beyond those of an expert PPC professional to lead this kind of cross-functional project. You need a good handle on analytics, overall data flows, and PPC to understand all aspects of the project. While these skills can be difficult to implement at times, they are incredibly valuable to the company.
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By cross-training into multiple disciplines and becoming a T-shaped marketer, your opportunity to work with other teams, and ultimately lead your own teams increases significantly.
The first step is to become an expert PPC professional. Once you’ve done that, then you want to look at the most complimentary fields for expansion. If you are not sure what is next, you can’t go wrong with CRO and analytics training. Finally, you then want to branch into the other areas you have not covered yet, which is commonly the other traffic drivers.
If you are not a PPC professional but are starting instead in SEO, CRO, or analytics, then there are different paths you can follow to become a T-Shaped marketer.
We looked at the various disciplines within digital marketing to layout the primary, secondary, and tertiary skills for the common marketing disciples as well as other skills every digital marker should know. You can see the webinar and written recap here: The 7 Skills Every Digital Marketer Needs to Succeed.
If you are a PPC professional and want to advance your career, then training to become a T-Shaped marketer and cross-training into other marketing disciplines will put you on the path to success. Simplilearn's Advanced PPC Course will transform you into an industry-ready paid marketing professional with hands-on experience in managing paid marketing initiatives.
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