Marketing leaders come in many different forms – from master data crunchers to poetic copywriters to surgical video editors, sometimes marketing can seem like one of the most diverse fields out there.

But what are the traits that really take marketing to the next level – and how do you stand out in such a multifaceted area of expertise?

We’ve found that five attributes really take marketers to the next level.

1. Be curious beyond your own backyard

Curiosity is one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing. Being curious and trying to assess and predict future trends is the bread and butter of digital marketing. But to really become a marketing leader, you need to lead your team outside the box.

Daniel Burstein from MECLABS, the largest research institution dedicated to discovering how people make choices, discussed how curiosity is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing world:

“My curiosity led me to follow up on what wasn’t being said. People who work in every company have a blind spot from being so focused on their own products.” 

Pro marketers need to look beyond where a company or product is confined, and seek out creative ideas from different verticals, channels and industries. Work in B2B Saas? Check out what the consumer goods industry is doing. Work at a marketing agency? Take a look at how political campaigns are run to get new ideas. There are lessons to be learned in every industry that can be applied to what you’re doing, and take your skills to the next level.

2. Know the power of (a few) words

It’s no secret that being a good communicator can help you become a better marketer. However, the best marketers know the power of being concise. Figuring out how to say something with impact and without fluff is a skill that takes years to master. Most marketers love to fill slogans and pages with unnecessary jargon – but the most effective marketing is often done with the simplest message.

A perfect example is Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign that motivated people around the globe to set and accomplish their goals with just 3 simple words. The campaign was launched in 1988, and featured professional and amateur athletes speaking about the emotions they felt while exercising. The campaign was, and still is very successful both on a universal and personal level. In the first 10 years of the campaign Nike’s market share went from 18% ($877 million) to 43% ($9.2 billion). Being concise in the marketing world is often overlooked, however replacing unnecessary communication with productive communication will ultimately take your skills to the next level.

3. Look beyond your target audience

Now that we know the power of a few words, how do we really get the people going? One of the most crucial elements of being a digital marketer is setting your sights on your target market and making sure that your message is well received. Once you’ve understood your target audience, you need to go beyond the confinement of one market and aim your digital marketing campaigns to resonate with as many audiences as possible.

A tactic for this is to brainstorm and bring together all of the different audiences that can relate to your campaign, even if it’s in the slightest, and adjust your messaging accordingly to meet different cultures, locations or personalities. So, how do you figure out what speaks to your wide audience? Tons of research, cutting out jargon, relentless testing, and always keeping sight of whether your marketing messages can be understood by both your target audience and human beings as a whole.

4. Use data smartly (and their platforms and tools to their advantage)

Now more than ever, companies are navigating their marketing tactics based on the data they compile from a number of sources whether it be customer insights, preferences or the surrounding environment. But with all of the tools out there, this can feel overwhelming. And data is only useful if you actually analyze it!

Pro marketers know that working smarter – and not harder – is the key to managing all their data. Using platforms like a Work OS can help you integrate tools into one place so you aren’t spending time transferring data into spreadsheets.

5. Are agile to the extreme

Especially in hyper growth startups and in fast-paced industries, agility makes or breaks a marketer. As a marketer you’re dealing with both changes in your organization – and changes in your environment. How do you adapt to both? First, having a team that embodies agile marketing traits is crucial. Agile teams overcome inevitable challenges, while prioritizing cross-collaboration, accountability, and engagement in order for everyone to understand the vision the team is working towards.

Second, it’s helpful to make sure your tools and platforms are as agile as your team is. Clunky systems that force you to work in a certain way – rather than the other way around –  simply aren’t made for the fast-paced world of marketing. A Work OS platform, for instance, can support your team by centralizing all communication in one place. Teams have full transparency and can easily ensure everyone is aligned, so marketers can focus on their talents.

We believe that these 5 qualities will give you that competitive edge in the sea of digital marketers, however they’re not the only qualities that top marketers embody. Marketing is constantly changing and being adaptable in such a fast paced environment is essential, so sometimes a little help is required.

Want to hear more about how to adapt faster? Read what 500 marketing execs have to say about crisis marketing here