There are plenty of essential skills you need to be a great marketer: you need communication skills, creativity and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, leadership skills, adaptability, writing flair, a deep understanding of data analysis … these are all common skill sets for incredible marketers and brand business leaders.
Yet there’s one more – one that might not fit the mould at first glance but is an incredibly invaluable skill as a marketer – and that’s an understanding of psychology. Psychology as a discipline – and even its sister discipline of counselling – is an undervalued area of study yet arguably essential for the success and growth of a brand. And, in most cases, marketing roles require both analytical and creative skills.
Marketing and psychology inherently pair well together because the best marketing campaigns are rooted in behavioural science. If you can understand why people do what they do, then you can predict their behaviour. This helps you to communicate better with consumers, anticipate their needs before they even know what their needs are, and market products in a way that provides inherent value.
Understanding human behaviour and psychology is fundamental for consumer-focused marketing careers. In a typical marketing degree, you might have some subjects related to psychology and consumer psychology, and yes there are some great degrees out there that focus on marketing and psychology together. But if you’ve already completed a marketing degree and are currently working as a marketer and looking to upskill, a psychology or counselling degree might just be the ticket to take your skills and career to the next level.
Not to mention a counselling course can boost your employability, showing you’ve got excellent communication skills and proving you’re someone who goes above and beyond what’s asked of them. Not to mention a counselling course unlocks plenty of valuable skills that are easily transferable across a variety of careers.
Let’s look at other ways a counselling or psychology degree can help you excel as a marketer and business leader.
Enhanced analysis skills
A psychology or counselling course will help you develop your analytical skills. From researching information to reading studies and interpreting results, being a good marketer requires the ability to analyse complex data. You must be able to dissect and interpret market research and reports, combine varying different sources of information, and make marketing decisions based on that data. Combining marketing and skills in counselling will help you analyse that data with a human lens, which will ultimately give you an even more human-centred campaign approach.
Understand human nature
Human nature is a complex thing – and that’s what makes the study of counselling pair so well with marketing – understanding human nature means better targeting and greater success from marketing campaigns. Counselling and psychology courses help you understand why people do what they do, and what motivates them.
As a marketer, you have products to sell, and how you sell them varies greatly depending on your target audience. But being able to understand that target audience so you can effectively engage them comes down to two core things: data and understanding human nature. With a counselling background, marketers can much more easily know their target markets and engage with them in a meaningful way.
Additional soft skills
Soft skills are one of the most important skill sets in the professional landscape – and that includes in marketing. Soft skills include things like effective communication and active listening, being able to motivate others, effectively working in a team, a good work ethic and more. Counselling studies can help you develop these softs skills through the study of people and culture, including human diversity, inclusion and respect. These are all essential skills in any area of business, but especially marketing because marketers are consistently working with and talking to a wide array of people and cultures.
Marketers are brand and business leaders. As such, it’s important to have a strong grasp of people and interpersonal relationships. Being able to understand what drives behaviour and actions from people can better help you improve your communication skills and effectively engage with the people you work with – all learnable from a counselling degree. Business and brands grow when teams work well together – a well led and managed team creates better work and more opportunities to grow and market the brand.
A counselling degree can also teach you the leadership skills needed to handle disagreements in the workplace, as well as find solutions and compromises. It can teach you how to motivate the team, and inspire others. These are all incredibly important skills to bring to any workplace, but especially in marketing.
Marketing and counselling career paths
Career opportunities for marketers are diverse – especially with a counselling or psychology background. The marketing industry has such a wide array of specialisations, but all facets of a marketing career require you to have a deep understanding of psychological thinking and human behaviour. So, if you’re looking to upskill or niche down your marketing career to perhaps a public relations specialist, consumer psychologist or even a market research analyst, undertaking a degree in counselling or psychology is the first step forward.