A t-shaped marketer in practical terms is somebody who has expertise in about 1-3 main marketing facets. For example, you may be great at content marketing. You have a proven track record of doing awesome things with your content and content strategies but are also savvy in other marketing facets like pay-per-click ads, building communities, and SEO. They’re just not as savvy as they are in the first two facets.
The T shape comes into play when broad marketing knowledge is coupled with the depth of knowledge and expertise.
The broad marketing knowledge is broken down into 2 kinds – base knowledge and marketing foundations.
Base knowledge is the non-marketing-specific area that will suit you well no matter your job. Examples Understanding consumers [Sociology / Behavioural economics], Discerning useful and actionable data [Data and analytics / Research], Design Appreciation, UX, Branding fundamentals, and Social listening.
Marketing foundation is a marketing-specific subject that is useful across almost all marketing channels. Copywriting, Statistics and Excel, Deck preparation and presentation, Storytelling, Funnel marketing, Customer experience, etc
The depth of specialization is the degree of competency at core facets and channels. Examples Community management, Event, Email, Paid Ads, Optimization, SEO, Social media, Partnerships, Multimedia, Design, PR, Influencer management, Viral, Project management etc
For different positions, the T shape varies. Below are generic job descriptions at an agency and their T-shaped chart.
So, how to become T shaped marketer
- Always start from the basics, then work your way to specialization and stay curious
- T-shaped marketers are often forged from what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what your team needs. So plot your Venn diagram and know what facet on focus as time goes on
- Aim for rare and unusual combinations, the less common your combination the more valuable you are for leadership roles
- Choose an emerging channel, this connects to the scarcity concept in number 3
- Never forsake freelance and agency experience, these are where the best kind of T-shaped marketers are forged.
At Webcoupers, everyone is T-shaped and our interns are often rotated around departments to forge that diverse mind in them. That has been one of our secrets to specialization and efficiency. It has worked for us, as a team and as individuals. Why not you too? Start your journey.