Practice makes perfect is an adage that many of us likely heard as children. As with many of those nuggets of communal wisdom, there is a lot of truth attached to the phrase. Just about any endeavor that you undertake will involve practice if you have any desire to get better at it. If your goal is to become one of the best in any given field, your devotion to practice will be one of the overriding factors that determine your success or failure.
The purpose of practice in any field is to refine the skill set that is required to perform better. Even after you have obtained a level of mastery, practice is essential to keep sharp and not lose your edge. This is true whether the skill is hitting a golf ball, playing the piano, or marketing to grow your company’s business. There is a skill set that you employ to perform your work and you can improve your skills by practicing them.
Let’s examine some of the areas where weekly routines can help to improve your skills.
1. Time Management
Time management is a challenge for many professional marketers. It seems there is simply not enough time in the day to get everything done. Spending any time practicing and improving your marketing skills will involve some time management to carve out the necessary space in your day.
There are a number of components to successful time management that you can practice every week. One is to prioritize tasks and focus more fully on those that need to be done today. This involves planning, which is at the foundation of time management. Get into the habit of creating a weekly plan of attack and prioritizing the most important points.
Be honest with yourself at the end of the week when you take account of how your planning coincided with reality, and use it as the springboard for next week’s plan. Iterating this process over time will sharpen your time management skills.
2. Critical Reading
The ability to read is obviously a skill that all professionals in any field need to master. The capacity to take what you read and use it to further your goals as a marketer is a skill that you can develop. One of the best ways to do this is to consult lists of the best marketing books and obtain a few of the volumes that interest you.
The fact that these books are on a “best of” list means that there is a very good chance that other marketers that you may be competing against are reading them as well. Carve out some time every week for some serious reading to keep up with new ideas that you can use in your marketing efforts.
3. Mastery of Your Industry
In addition to being able to market your company’s product or service, you should take it upon yourself to learn as much about it as you can. This will enable you to intelligently discuss business-related topics with clients, even if the subject matter was not on your agenda. By mastering your industry and the marketing strategies that are being employed you can become a thought leadership marketing resource.
Thought leadership indicates a level of expertise that is denoted by the acceptance of your views and insights by industry peers. By regularly spending time increasing your knowledge of current and future trends in your field, you will build trustworthiness among your colleagues and clients.
Creativity is a vital skill for a successful marketer to possess. You need to be creative when coming up with a strategy for a new product or in deciding the best way to approach a new client. While it may be hard to be creative when putting on the spot in a meeting, you can practice creativity through the week as it naturally flows through your thinking.
Keeping an idea book to write down ideas when you have them is an excellent way to tap into your creative mind. It can be a physical book or an app on your mobile device, but try to use it daily to put down ideas that may come in handy later.
5. Using Online Resources
There is much to be gained by studying online resources. Following particular sites that pertain to your business, or blogs from industry leaders is a great way to keep up with events and trends that can influence critical decisions when planning your next campaign.
You can gain insight into a marketing strategy that is being employed by other companies, and tailor some of their ideas to suit your goals. Practice viewing these resources with a critical eye and identify their strengths and weaknesses and how they can be used in your business.
All successful marketers need to have the ability to write well. Your writing needs to be versatile, as it may be used in ad copy, website landing pages, or other marketing materials. You need to be able to communicate with clients as well as co-workers.
One of the features you want your writing to have is the ability to impart the same information effectively to different demographics. A great exercise to help facilitate this kind of thinking and writing is to take a newspaper or magazine article and rewrite it for a different audience. Using this as a method of practice will add to your ability to communicate with any target audience.
7. Public Speaking
This is another key skill that you can improve over time by practicing. Simply use your smartphone or tablet to record yourself giving presentations. Be honest in your self-criticism and see where you think you can improve your performance. The ability to give an engaging presentation can be crucial to closing a deal or having your proposal chosen for the next campaign.
These are just some of the ways you can practice your skills and increase your knowledge in the drive toward becoming a better marketer. Don’t let your skills get stale and rusty.
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