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What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill?

February 17th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Let’s say you could become an expert in only ONE marketing discipline. Which of the following would you pick — and why? Which would serve you best either as a business owner, Internet marketer, or marketing professional?

A–Search engine marketing.
B–Online video.
C–Viral marketing.
E–Graphic design.
H–Computer programming.
I–Social media.
J–Metrics and analytics.
M–Direct marketing.
N–Planning and strategy.
O–Other (please specify).


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 7:26 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

52 responses about “What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill?”

  1. What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? | Search Engine Secrets said:

    […] What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? 17 February 2009 1 views No Comment Let’s say you could become an expert in only ONE marketing discipline. Which of the following would you pick — and why? Which would serve you best either as a business owner, Internet marketer, or marketing professional?A–Search engine marketing. B–Online video. C–Viral marketing. D–Copywriting. E–Graphic design. F–Flash. G–HTML. H–Computer programming. I–Social media. J–Metrics and analytics. K–Branding. L–PR. M–Direct marketing. N–Planning and strategy. O–Other (please specify). See the original post here: What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? […]

  2. Posts about social media as of February 17, 2009 said:

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  3. Paul Moore said:

    I was going to say copywriting, since most of the other items are more mechanical and can be outsourced. But in retrospect, I think that (N) Planning and Strategy would be my answer. Even copywriting can be outsourced, as you do so well for your clients, Mr. Bly.

  4. mark allen roberts said:

    The most important skill is knowing your market, discovering its unresolved problems, and solving them

  5. Cheryl Goldberg said:

    I’d say (N) planning and strategy as well because they’re a prerequisite for everything else and they have to be done in-house. Only you know your business so you have to plan and develop your strategy. And you can’t do PR or direct marketing or copywriting without a strategy in place. With a stratey in place you can outsource most of the other tasks on your list.

  6. Posts about Viral Marketing as of February 17, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge said:

    […] expletive-filled tirade delivered by Christian Bale to the movie’s Director of Photography What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? – 02/17/2009 Let’s say you could become an expert in only ONE marketing discipline. Which […]

  7. Michael Kelberer said:

    I’d be an expert at K – Branding, because a strong Brand is the font from which all marketing/PR blessing flow.

  8. Note Taking Nerd #2 said:

    A business owner who owns websites, a list of customers he serves out a brick and mortar store front or a marketing consultant blessed with expertise in direct marketing would be the person I’d bet on.

    I say this because someone well versed in direct marketing can maximize every single one of those other options on the list because they know the purpose of being in business is to get a customer, not make a sale.

    They can sub out stuff they don’t choose to be experts about and they’ll always be able to critique the results by asking the question “Is this strategy or tactic raising the lifetime value of my customers or is it purely a waste of time and money.”

    Knowing the purpose of marketing is what makes maximization of everything else possible.

    Note Taking Nerd #2

  9. What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? | No Brainer Profits said:

    […] See more here: What’s the Most Important Marketing Skill? […]

  10. Fiona Fell - websitePROFITS said:

    TIE (I know it is against the rules!)
    D – Copywriting
    M – Direct marketing

    If I could use simple words to sell a product or service, then turning my hand from selling one item to another, even across different industries would, I feel, be easier and much more profitable than the other areas.

    But Direct mail, if incorporating the cpyrighting above, and ‘finding’ or ‘growing’ the list would be a very close second.

    Now…I am off to practice writing promational pieces to build my list.

  11. Patrick Giammarco said:


  12. Jason K. said:

    Bob: Not sure if it should be obvious to the rest of us, but I’d be curious to hear your answer!

  13. Bob Bly said:

    Jason: there is no right answer. If you want a high-paying staff job, I would sasy A or I. If you want to make your marketing make more money, I go with M.

  14. Susan Martin said:

    I’d agree with Paul, you can’t really do any marketing until you’ve completed (research), planning and strategy in which you pinpoint your ideal client, the pain that they suffer from that causes them to need your services, what makes you different and better than your competition and what results people just like them get from doing business with you.

  15. Eric S said:

    It’s gotta be D, copywriting!

    The essence of marketing is to develop a persuasive message that will prompt your target audience into recognising their need for your product or service.

    So if the business owner, Internet marketer or marketing professional you referred to in your question could develop just one skill, it would have to be copywriting.

    Research, planning and strategy are best outsourced, because the business owner is likely to be too close to her/his business to be truly objective.

    Good question, though, and it’s interesting to read what others have to say.

  16. Juri Saragih said:

    My answer is D, Copywriting.

    I figured out how i can enjoy with that field.

    Juri Saragih

  17. Ryan said:

    I think copywriting is the most important and something not on you list is selling. Nothing that is manufactured or created for profit lasts very long in the marketplace if it can’t be sold.

  18. Tom "Bald Dog" Varjan said:

    I would go with…

    M–Direct marketing.

    Then some other bits and bobs can come later.

  19. Dr. Andrew S. Linick said:

    Listen closely Grasshoppers of all disciplines-

    The one marketing discipline I choose covers A, B, C, D, E, I, K, L, N.

    You can outsource F, G, J, to another top expert who is a pioneer in his/her field.

    Why is this the best answer, you ask?

    Like most of you reading this blog, I too am a business owner, Internet Marketer and lifetime student of the craft of marketing. Perhaps the difference between you and I is my forty years of experience. In my humble opinion you need to be all three to be at the top of your game.

    I chose the ONE discipline, which encompasses advertising through any medium, designed to generate a response by any means (such as email, mail, phone, fax) that is measurable and accountable (by using a simple coding system) and best of all, delivers BANKABLE results!

    Okay Grasshopper, you’ve been a good listener so here is your reward:
    Do you want to know what really makes successful Direct Marketing the right answer and encompasses all the other disciplines? Why business owners and Internet marketers must learn everything there is to know about Direct Marketing?

    The basic answer is: you offer the right products or services (making sure you have the right mark-up where the major selling benefits outweigh the price) via the right targeted media with the best persuasive offers to overcome human inertia, positioned with the most dramatic formats, proved profitable as a result of the right marketing strategy, testing, and analysis.

    If response can’t be measured, if cost and income can’t be precisely recorded and verified, it’s not Direct Response Marketing.

    If this sounds pretty simple, it isn?t. But that’s another Grasshopper story to be continued?

    Andrew S. Linick, Ph.D.,The Copyologist®
    Founder-Copywriters Council of America

  20. Jaime Saba said:

    I´d say planning and srtategy as well becasue they are the cradle of all.

  21. Male said:

    As to me, I see my list in this order:
    1.Metrics and analytics
    2. Search engine marketing
    3. Copywriting
    The better your skills in above areas, the better results you get! At least this helps me a lot.

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