The five key skills every marketer needs today

Mark Schaefer
4 min readNov 6, 2023

I am getting this question A LOT: What are the skills every marketer needs today? Of course there is a lot of interest in that! The world is changing at an incredible pace. How do we stay relevant?

I had a great opportunity to gain insight into this issue from Denis Sison.

Denis Sison has more than 30 years of experience as a global marketing executive for iconic companies such as P&G, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Blackberry, The Hershey Company, and, most recently, Johnson & Johnson. In his most recent role, Sison was responsible for leading the global marketing excellence team with the goal of reimagining and driving the J&J worldwide marketing capability agenda, including the development of the New Modern Marketing Playbook: The Next Generation of Brand Building.

Sison has been chair of the Association of National Advertisers’ Talent Forward Alliance from 2017–2019 and co-chair of the Talent Reskilling Committee of the ANA.

When I asked him about the essential needs today, he provided a wonderful and concise answer. Here is wisdom from Denis in his own words:

The S Skills Every Marketer Needs

From my interview with Denis Sison, edited for style and brevity:

For many years, I’ve advocated that marketers should have four basic skills — The four S’s of modern marketing.

Number one, everybody has to be a socializer. This is an ability to be able to share your ideas, communicate effectively both offline and online, grow an audience, and build communities for the brands you’re advocating. These fundamental communication skills are super important.

The second S Skill is “ scientist.” In this digital world, you must move as quickly and as accurately as possible. You must have the ability to understand and appreciate what data means, interpret trends, and apply data-based insights to the business. You have to be able to respond to results and changes decisively. Like a scientist, your job is to test a hypothesis about the world around you. It also means you must have a methodical and data-based approach to learning.

Third, you need to be a solid storyteller. It’s critically important to establish the narrative…

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Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!