If you’ve never heard of a t-shaped marketer, you might think we just made it up. But, we swear—it’s a thing. And it’s a pretty big deal.
The reason being a t-shaped marketer is something all expert marketers strive for is because it allows them to do more as a marketer. It gives them a basic understanding of all the necessary parts of marketing (like SEO, funnels, social media, influencer campaigns, etc.) and creates a cohesive marketing strategy.
When your marketing strategy flows perfectly from somebody becoming newly aware of your business (the first stage of the Customer Value Journey, Awareness) to ascending into your higher-tier products (in the sixth stage in the CVJ, Ascension)—that’s when you have a winner.
T-shaped marketers create and maintain that perfect flow between all of the different facets of marketing. Here’s how you can become one.
What is a T-Shaped Marketer?
A t-shaped marketer 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 organic strategies.
But they’re also savvy in other marketing facets like email marketing, pay-per-click ads, building communities, and SEO. They’re just not as savvy as they are at the first two facets.
This is a t-shaped marketer.
The horizontal part of the “T” is the broad knowledge about marketing. It’s all of other facets that you’re familiar with—but not necessarily absolute expert in.
Then, the vertical part of the “T” shows the singular depth of knowledge on one subject. It’s the marketing facet that you are an absolute expert on. In this case, it would be content marketing.
T-shaped marketers aren’t specialists, they’re generalists with one specialty. They can look at an entire marketing strategy and understand each part of it, even if they’ve only run a few PPC campaigns in their day.
And that’s what makes them so valuable.
What’s the Benefit of Being a T-Shaped Marketer?
Being a t-shaped marketer means that you can help clients with their marketing strategy from A-Z. While you’ll have your bread and butter (like SEO, social media, paid ads, or community building), you’ll be able to create winning strategies amongst other marketing facets by collaborating with your marketing team.
This is what makes t-shaped marketers so valuable. They’re not going to come in and create converting marketing strategies only from SEO—they’re going to do it across the board. They’re going to be able to put together an SEO strategy that feeds into a content marketing strategy that feeds into an email marketing strategy.
Businesses need t-shaped marketers to steer the ship of all of their marketing strategies, from SEO to email. T-shaped marketers do this by using their expertise and their knowledge of other marketing strategies to steer that ship towards more traffic and more conversions.
How to Become a T-Shaped Marketer?
Starting to see why being a t-shaped marketer makes sense? At DigitalMarketer, all of our marketing team members have an understanding of every facet of marketing. This isn’t just because they’re living in a marketing world, it’s because we want them to be able to flow between SEO strategies and email marketing strategies.
That’s a winning team (and that’s why we love them).
To become a t-shaped marketer, you want to start with the basics:
You want to start with a general understanding of basic marketing principles across the board. This doesn’t mean you need to go get a marketing degree, but a broad training or certification that gives you a little bit of everything is a great way to start.
THEN you need to ask yourself:
What am I an expert in or what do I want to become an expert in?
For example, you could know the ins-and-outs of SEO, or of creating a winning content strategy, or a killer email funnel. This list should have 1–3 facets of marketing on it that you’d call yourself a marketing specialist in.
If you aren’t already an expert (or you want to tune up your skills), take a few courses on your core discipline. You want to layer trainings, certifications, and continuous learning to make sure that your expertise keeps up with changes on the industry.
Once you know what you’re an expert in, or want to become an expert in, you can ask yourself the second question:
What facets of marketing am I weakest in?
For example, you might be beyond savvy at SEO, but maybe you need to brush up on your email marketing terms and strategies. Or maybe the copywriting skills from the first step just didn’t stick. You’ll want to go over those again.
Remember, you don’t need to become an expert in everything, but you want to know enough to get around, and enough to be able to weave your marketing strategies together.
Becoming a t-shaped marketer is one of the most valuable things a marketer can do for your business and marketing skills. It gives you the breadth across all disciplines and the depth in your area of expertise. It’s the best of both worlds while still being achievable.
T-shaped marketers are the ones that can pull together a marketing strategy using their generalist database of knowledge and are able to collaborate with team members across all marketing facets to create an incredible strategy.