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How to be a great marketer: the complete guide to being brilliant at your job

Think about the top marketers you respect: they make essential tasks look easy, from crafting campaigns and optimizing channels to elevating the user journey. They live up to their role as wizards of the marketing world. 

Their secret weapon? Data. Great marketers use data to delve deeper into their users' pain points and desires. By tapping into these valuable insights, they create personalized experiences that leave a lasting impact.

Last updated

24 Nov 2023

Reading time

6 min


Now it’s your turn to impress and make a difference—no magic spells necessary. All you need is the commitment to build the habits and hone the skills successful marketers possess.

Let this guide help. 

Read on for an overview of the vital processes and tools included in a well-rounded marketer’s workflow. Then, dive into the following chapters for a more solid understanding of the steps, and become a marketer who advocates for your users while generating growth for your business.

What does a marketer do?

Marketing has become increasingly specialized, so there’s no single answer you’ll get when you ask, “What does a marketer do?” Aside from the familiar social media and content marketing roles, a midsize software-as-a-service (SaaS) company may hire a product marketer, while a large ecommerce business may have an entire performance marketing team. 

Yet, no matter the role or function, marketers are marketers because of a set of skills, habits, and tasks they share. Below, we distill five factors that help shape you as a marketer.

1. Clearly communicate value to target customers

Of course, you’re tasked to deliver tangible business results, like boosting your revenue and generating return on investment (ROI). But as a marketer, you must also focus on leaving a positive impact on your customers. 

Before this happens, it’s critical to convey your value proposition to your prospects. A value proposition is a unique reason that compels people to buy your product. At the same time, it’s a reminder for your business to make decisions that align with its promise.

Building safer journeys for its users is one of Uber’s value propositions

2. Understand why people behave the way they do

A truly data-informed or data-driven marketing team goes beyond reporting the numbers for reporting’s sake. Instead, its team members dig for insights revealing how customers feel about their content, product, or campaign. This enables them to build their strategy around users’ needs.

A/B test variations of your landing page to see which performs better, and then use a behavior analytics platform like Hotjar, which features tools like Heatmaps and Recordings, to know why visitors click the call-to-action (CTA) button in the winning variation—and why they don’t in the losing one

3. Support customers during major changes

What do launching a new product, expanding your market, and pivoting to a different industry have in common? They all mean 'change' to your customers. And it's your job to guide them during the transition to ensure they adapt and you prevent churn.

Nike survived the retail apocalypse when it went direct-to-consumer (DTC) during the pandemic. The digital push was powered by various efforts, such as driving traffic to its app, making access to the Nike Training Club app free, and introducing Nike Experiences, which connects users to activities in their local communities.

Great marketers uncover user insights to drive growth

Hotjar helps you understand the reason behind people’s behavior on your product or site. Use the insights to improve their experience.

4. Identify and connect with a specific audience

Remember: qualitative data complements quantitative data to uncover user needs. You’ll have enough non-numeric data if you’ve run your website or online campaigns for a substantial amount of time. If not, quickly integrate your quantitative analytics tools with a product experience insights platform to start qualitative data collection. 

Once you’re set, create buyer personas based on the user insights and tailor your communications accordingly. Personalization—either manually or through AI—should occur at every level. This includes your website design, blog pieces, social media posts, and advertising copy.

5. Master the art and science of marketing 

As a good marketer, you've learned to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. But sometimes, you need to forget what you've learned, break the rules (which may no longer exist a decade after you studied them in school), and make new ones. 

For example, you might consider replacing your positive messaging with something rooted in the Pratfall Effect. Phill Agnew, Senior Product Marketer at Buffer and host of Nudge, the United Kingdom’s most popular marketing podcast, describes this as:

The tendency for one’s likeability (especially that of competent people) to increase when they show imperfection, such as a smart yet clumsy quiz participant spilling coffee on themself

Check out Phill's own experiment in applying behavioral science or psychographics in marketing to the promotions of his podcast. In this case, he also tapped into his creativity to craft engaging copy that piqued people's curiosity.

Phill created two Reddit ads, one containing positive messaging and the other applying the Pratfall Effect—even without the visual cue, we’re sure you could guess which performed better

What makes a good marketer? 4 must-have skills, and a process tweak

As we said, great marketers are fearless in pushing the limit and trying new things. So, while a typical marketer's workflow consists of planning → launching → reporting → optimizing, the best marketers tweak things to achieve phenomenal results. As such, the steps now occur as follows:

optimizing → reporting → fixing things → planning

This guide follows the modified order, with a chapter on each step. Here’s an overview. ⬇️

1. Optimize and enhance marketing efforts 

Skip the struggle of starting from scratch. Figure out what already works and improve on it. For instance, try the following to bolster the search rankings of your long-form content pages:

  • Track page rankings with Ahrefs or Semrush, filtering pages that rank in positions three to ten to spot opportunities

  • Enhance content with Clearscope reports to meet search intent

  • Use Engagement Zones in Heatmaps to see how users engage with your page and pinpoint any on-page issues

2. Create insightful and actionable results

You want to identify the top performer in a multi-channel campaign and share your findings with your teammates. 

Here’s what to do: source the performance data from various analytics platforms, including Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads. Then, use qualitative data analytics tools like Hotjar to visualize your marketing funnel, get a firsthand glimpse into the user journey, and paint a broader picture of the trends.

3. Spot and fix site issues 

Bugs or errors in newly rolled-out features cause friction in the user experience. To stay on top of things, combine quantitative and qualitative data analysis using reliable software and platforms.

  • Gather the relevant numeric data using Mixpanel

  • Find out the story behind the numbers with Hotjar tools and features: see where users drop off, understand why, and make it easy for customers to flag problems

  • Keep your teammates in the loop for potential issues through collaboration and communication apps

4. Plan and outline new activities

Last but not least, learn how to do market research to unlock new avenues of growth. Google Ads and Facebook Ads help with keyword research. But the real gold is in directly connecting with your audience through user feedback tools like Hotjar Feedback and Surveys. Including the voice of the customer not only sheds light on how your marketing efforts influence UX but also enables more strategic planning.

Be a data-driven, user-centric marketer

Becoming a marketing leader goes beyond mastering tools and tactics—it’s about putting the customer at the heart of everything. This comprehensive guide has equipped you with the habits, skills, and steps to become a full-fledged, customer-centric marketing wizard. 

Leverage performance and behavioral data to optimize, report, fix issues, and plan marketing efforts anew. With this foundation, you're ready to create meaningful campaigns that nurture business-to-customer relationships.

Genuinely connect with customers

Deeply understand your users through our multi-product platform. Tap into user-centric insights to effectively personalize your marketing campaigns.

FAQs about great marketers