Why Writing Skills are Necessary in Marketing

Writing skills important in all marketing jobs

Effective writing is valuable even on small, internal projects. Photo via Flickr user restlessglobetrotter.

In our programs, we include grammar, spelling and punctuation among items graded on typical assignments. Students who struggle with writing skills often complain and wonder why we grade them on written communication in a non-English program. The answer, from our perspective, is very simple. Writing skills are necessary in marketing!

General Demand for Writing Skills

Before isolating the importance of writing skills in marketing, consider the general demand among employers for written communication skills. The National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, presents an annual report on primary skills employers search for on resumes. Not surprisingly, “leadership skills” and “teamwork” were reported as the most-searched skill areas. However, surprising to some is that written communications skills was searched by 73.4 percent of employers in the survey. This search rate made it the third-highest skill searched. As a comparison, verbal communication skills, which we often emphasize to students, was searched by 67 percent of employers.

Importance of Writing Skills in Marketing

The ability to write well has always been beneficial in marketing, but that point is even more clear in 2015. Digital marketing areas, such as content marketing, social media messaging and search engine optimization all have close ties to quality writing. Of course, companies and agencies still have tremendous need for people who can draft engaging, impacting and well-written copy for print ads, brochures and fliers. Copywriters also create powerful scripts for radio and television commercials.

Perhaps someone pursuing the more analytical side of marketing thinks that writing abilities aren’t as vital. In fact, you could argue that marketing research analysts need writing skills equal to or better than peers in creative marketing roles. Analysts must interpret what data shows, and communicate the results to team members who build targeted and engaging creative pieces. Without clear, concise and well-articulated research interpretation, “big data” is little more than a fancy term dawning marketing and technology magazine covers. The language and writing style are normally more direct and technical in research careers, but the importance of writing skills is very similar.

Building Good Writing Skills

After we get beyond convincing students that they need writing skills in marketing, the next step is to get them to make improvements as needed. We do have some students that come to us with fairly well-established writing abilities. However, others need some polish to help them land a job, and then to build a successful marketing career. In classes, deducting points for poor writing is one strategy to emphasize the importance of writing skills in marketing. However, a critical follow-up activity is for students to take advantage of additional writing support from English experts through our on-campus Academic Achievement Center. Students hone skills by taking courses like Composition as well.


Generally, students come to college to develop themselves in pursuit of particular career opportunities. The evidence is clear from the NACE study and similar research that effective written communication abilities are high on the list of important skills employers want. It is also clear to us that, in addition to marketing instincts and technical abilities, our students need writing skills for marketing jobs they seek.

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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