In the post below, Garrison Yang shares his insider tips on transitioning roles, key marketing competencies, and how AI is transforming the industry. He provides actionable advice on how to develop the high-impact abilities today's marketing organizations need most.
Here’s a full video of the interview with Blake Emal:
Importance of Communication to Your Career
Marketing and engineering may seem like different disciplines altogether, but according to Yang, they share critical transferable skills.
Both fields require a deep understanding of consumer and user needs.
Yang states that in order to understand your audience’s unique challenges and pain points, you must be able to empathize with them.
Strong communication is essential as well.
While marketers aim to convey the value of products and services to customers, engineers must collaborate cross-functionally to gather user requirements and feedback. In both scenarios solid communication is key to generating valuable insights.
To strengthen your communication skills, Yang has shared these tips:
- Look for opportunities to develop empathy and communication skills in your current role. These transferable abilities open doors across fields.
- When considering a career transition, articulate how your experience has built expertise in understanding audiences and conveying ideas effectively.
- Emphasize your people skills. Technical expertise matters, but connecting with humans is critical for marketing success.
Experience Equals Growth
For marketers new to the industry, Yang recommends pursuing diverse roles across channels, disciplines, and industries to build adaptable skills.
For example, seek hands-on experience with SEO, email, social media, content, and work at both B2B and consumer companies to understand different business models and audiences.
One will quickly learn that the cross-channel, cross-industry experience equips you with transferable skills and knowledge that apply anywhere. Best practices from different fields can be “mixed and matched” to form strategies that will optimize outcomes.
Specialize later in your career, Yang suggests, and keep the focus broad at the start. Develop your flexibility and well-roundedness as a marketer and that will also ultimately lend itself to a leadership role down the line.
Yang’s key takeaways:
- Seek diverse marketing roles to build adaptable skill sets early on
- Gain experience with both B2B and B2C companies to expand perspectives.
- Listen and learn from cross-functional partners to increase knowledge.
- Leverage broad experience later when leading integrated strategies.
Hybrid Skills are Valuable
The data shows product marketing is one of the fastest growing specializations.
For example, many tech giants like Google, Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb have expanded their product marketing teams significantly. These companies need people who can straddle product development and commercialization.
Product marketers thrive because they wield both technical savvy and marketing skills. They translate complex product details into compelling positioning and messaging. A technical background lets them deeply understand roadmaps and capabilities. Marketing knowledge ensures the product launches successfully.
According to Yang, digital marketers should aim to improve their competency in hybrid roles like product marketing and focus on developing their technical proficiency alongside their marketing skill set.
He adds that the unique mix of left-brain and right-brain abilities makes these product marketers an asset and well-suited for leadership positions.
Yang’s recommendations for how to embrace the hybrid:
- Develop technical fluency in your field—understand the product specs, limitations, roadmaps.
- Build marketing skills in positioning, messaging, campaigns, and sales enablement.
- Identify gaps between technical and business needs and find solutions to bridge them.
- Gain expertise spanning both domains to become an invaluable resource.
- Pursue product marketing roles to accelerate your career growth
Creativity vs. Artificial Intelligence
AI and automation technologies are taking over high-volume repetitive tasks like basic content production, media buying, and data processing.
As this removes rote work, it enables marketers to focus on more strategic, creative responsibilities.
With AI handling execution, Yang asserts that marketers need to level up their critical thinking and problem solving skills to develop the ability to identify meaningful problems worth solving and opportunities for innovation.
Since AI cannot replicate this creativity, human-generated ideas and strategies remain as essential as ever.
For instance, AI tools can rapidly produce ad copy based on inputs, but marketers still need to strategically determine campaign goals, target audiences, and creative direction.
The storytelling, positioning, and messaging rely on human ingenuity.
- Embrace AI for automating repetitive tasks to free up strategic time.
- Continuously build creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities.
- Focus on high-value work like developing campaign strategies and innovative solutions.
- Provide vision, goals, and creative direction to complement AI’s execution capabilities.
- Upskill in areas difficult to automate like strategic planning and creative ideation.
The future role of marketers is to supply the imagination, strategy and vision while leveraging AI's efficient execution. Combining the best of human and machine makes marketing teams stronger.
- Develop empathy and communication abilities - these transferable skills enable successful career transitions between technical and creative fields like engineering and marketing.
- Gain broad experience across channels and industries early in your career - this builds adaptable skills and knowledge that support future leadership roles.
- Pursue product marketing to blend technical prowess and marketing acumen - this emerging hybrid role will be highly valued.
- Embrace AI for automating tasks while focusing your strategic thinking on high-value work.
- Continuously build creativity, critical thinking, and strategic skills that are difficult to automate - become a visionary and innovator who can adapt as marketing evolves.