7 essential geek skills for the modern marketing master

In today's business climate it should go without saying that any business that ignores the internet and associated technologies will be crushed and dismembered by competition that doesn't. In spite of the almost universal acceptance of this fact I consistently run into men and women in senior marketing positions within respected companies that have adopted a "that's not my job" attitude towards learning, adopting and understanding modern internet enabled marketing. If you are one of them (and you know it if you are...) then these 7 skills are written with you in mind.

1. Facebook
I'm simply boggled when I run into marketing directors who fear Facebook. Be you a VP, Director or Manager of marketing, if you don't embrace Facebook, learn it, use it, integrate into your personal life and then look at your competition through Facebook eyes you are, quite frankly, a dinosaur. Like those ancient reptiles, you and your career are rapidly approaching extinction and the slow fade into irrelevance. Simply delegating responsibility for Facebook use to subordinates or an agency is a cheap and ineffectual cop out. Until you "get it" at a personal level, throwing money at consultants is a waste of your marketing budget dollars, since you won't understand the efforts, results or potential.

2. Web analytics
Every website on the planet needs to have an analytic package (like Google analytics) installed. Most do. Unfortunately, what needs to be connected to the analytic package is a human brain. Yours! If your idea of information management is to have someone put a report on your desk once a week, you are destined to always be looking at out of date data. To short circuit this process, learn how to answer basic questions yourself. It isn't hard, and what you will quickly learn is that you and your strategic brain are the best person to pose questions and look for information. Too many marketing people simply dismiss this as "not my job" or think that by delegating it they have solved the problem. Don't be weak minded. Embrace the quant side of your job, learn the basics and you'll be able to get answers to your questions in seconds.

I can already see your eyes rolling. "I don't need to know this". "What a waste of my time". Wrong on both counts. HTML and web construction technology are the underpinnings of the entire world. If you don't have a basic vocabulary and understanding of what web pages consist of, then you are ignorant, vulnerable and out of date. Too many times I've seen smart people unwilling to learn even a little bit of tech, only to be taken advantage of by those who know more about it than they.

4. Email
Seriously. If you don't know how bulk email works, what the can-spam act involves, how to measure email performance, what makes good email design, how to benchmark your email program, how to integrate email into your communication plans, you might as well go home early and enjoy that second martini. In spite of advances in all sorts of groovy new technology, email is here to stay.

5. Mobile devices
If you are a senior marketing manager and are still carrying a dumb cell phone, dial zero and ask for your VCR back. Then take the rest of the day off. We live in a world where many people only have a cell number, email is considered old fashioned and formal and 90% of all non-work activity starts on smart phone. How does your company present itself to a smart phone user? How do you?

6. PPC (Pay-per-click)
Ever notice those annoying little ads that appear when you search for something in google? The ones above and to the right of your search results? You might not ever click on them, but your customers do. Especially if they are relevant to what they are looking for. Especially if the organic search results aren't. If you don't know how a PPC campaign runs, what parameters are available (wouldn't you like to talk to each person who visited your website without buying and offer them something special? Did you know you can? Did you know your competition already is?) and what your PPC strategy is, then you are simply not doing your job. Delegating without understanding isn't delegating. It's called being lazy. Learn about PPC and you'll better be able to make high level decisions about budget and strategy. Plus you'll start clicking on your competitor's ads just to piss them off.

7. Excel
What on earth is this doing here? I'm sure you all are already experts on excel. Just the other day you added a green background to three cells without even using the manual. The most underused application on the planet is excel. Did you know that excel can talk directly to Google analytics AND your internal database? Did you know that this allows your staff to create reports that automatically populate themselves with accurate and current information each time you open the file? Did you know that you can work collaboratively with excel using windows office live? Did you know that pressing control and down arrow at the same time moves to the bottom of a column? Given the amount of time you and your staff spend on excel, getting 5% more efficient can save thousands of hours each year, yet almost no one bothers to learn the more advanced features. Don't be one of the ignorant masses. If you do anything within excel more than 5 times in a row, there is a better way.