May 11, 2023

T-Shaped Marketer: What Is It And Why You Should Become One Now

Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

Protect and advance your marketing career in an AI world

A recent report by Goldman Sachs predicts that Generative AI could hit 300 million full-time jobs. This is not just a big number. To give you an idea, that’s 90% of the US population.

The Atlantic also wrote that: “no technology in modern memory has caused mass job loss among highly educated workers. Will generative AI be an exception? ... While it is difficult to predict the exact extent of this trend, it is clear that AI will have a significant impact on the job market for college-educated workers.”

Marketing roles (and many others) will evolve quickly in the next few years.

You can either worry or take action. We strongly encourage you to go for the latter. 

In a business world driven by AI, data, and automation, the T-shaped marketer reigns supreme. If you don't want to be left behind like an old floppy disk at the bottom of a drawer, you must become the marketing pro big companies crave.

This post uncovers the secrets behind this coveted role, its in-demand skills, the challenges you'll conquer, and your fast track to becoming one.

Stay ahead, evolve, and dominate.

What is a T-Shaped Marketer?

Meet the T-shaped marketer, a.k.a. the holistic marketing superhero. They've got deep expertise in one area and a goodie bag of skills in others.

Imagine being a generalist AND a specialist. Sounds wild, right? The vertical line of the "T" is your deep-dive expertise, while the horizontal line is your versatile skill set.

You're a copywriting pro who can dabble in analytics for an ad campaign. Or you're a paid ads guru creating a visually stunning landing page.

The T-shaped marketer's toolkit has three layers: fundamental, generalist, and specialist skills. Start with the fundamentals for a rock-solid foundation. Then level up with generalist skills to collaborate like a boss. Finally, hone your specialist skills for that cherry on top.

For instance, you need a growth mindset and understand analytics (fundamental skills) to do rapid experimentation (generalist skill). You can then leverage that knowledge to become a Conversion Rate Optimization wizard (specialist skill).

Why Should I Become a T-Shaped Marketer?

It's simple. To stay relevant in an AI world and get better roles, advancement opportunities, and a higher salary.

Employers crave T-shaped marketers because they can do more using their superpowers: deep expertise in one field (hello, vertical bar) and knowledge across the biz (meet the horizontal bar). They're the ultimate catch, fitting into companies at any stage - traction, transition, or growth.

Picture this: you're a one-person powerhouse in a seed-stage startup, crafting a growth plan by understanding the business inside out (key metrics, agile processes, research, analytics) and implementing the strategy using your technical skills (UI/UX, copywriting, marketing automation, CRO).

In a growth-stage company, you're working deep on activation, doing user research, sharpening the messaging, and collaborating seamlessly with your product and engineering colleagues.

T-shaped marketers outshine the one-trick ponies. They're more valuable to companies and clients. They're flexible, bring fresh perspectives, and use their diverse skill set to solve problems (instead of just reporting them to their manager).

And the cherry on top? As a T-shaped marketer, learning new skills, shifting focus, and adapting is a breeze. The world is spinning fast, and we’re at the brink of massive changes. Remember the 300 million jobs at risk?

You must be able to grow and adapt.

Key Characteristics of a T-Shaped Marketer

In essence, a T-shaped marketer is:

Fearless experimenter

They're bold, daring, and ready to dive into fresh strategies to boost growth while keeping risks in check. They test hypotheses and analyze the outcomes. 

Instead of overthinking and overengineering ideas and tactics, they use a test-and-learn approach. That's how successful businesses stay ahead of the curve. 🚀


There's nothing worse than a marketer who doesn't understand the business. It's like having a proud young adult who knows a few magic tricks and tries to show off and get attention at a funeral. Completely self-centered and disconnected from the context and reality. 

T-shaped marketers use their skills and toolbox as a means to an end: to achieve the company's vision and objectives. They know they are part of a team. They understand budget, resource, and strategic constraints that all companies have. They find a way to score big wins without breaking the bank. 💼💰

Customer journey master 

The T-shaped marketer knows what customers want at every stage of the buying process. They get the full funnel and are skilled at blending SEO, paid social, and other marketing tactics to create a seamless experience that turns prospects into loyal fans. 🛍️🎉

Tech-savvy executor 

They don't just talk the talk – they walk the walk! Let's take the example of performance marketing. These marketers possess the technical chops to set up Facebook pixels, craft landing pages, automate email campaigns, and analyze results like a pro. 🖥️📊

What areas of expertise are in demand for the future?

The report "How Skills are Disrupting Work" (a collab between Burning Glass Institute, BHEF, and Wiley) says digital skills dominate 75% of the fastest-growing jobs!

Scrolling on Instagram or TikTok doesn't count, though.

Image: Burning Glass Institute et al.

With 228 million job ads analyzed, the study shows AI/machine learning, cloud computing, product management, and social media are the fastest-growing, highest-demand emerging skills sets on the market.

Image: Burning Glass Institute et al.

If you want to stay in the game, mastering these skills is a game-changer. But the real secret sauce? 

Staying in the loop with current events and developments. 

Keep an eye on tech, culture, organizations, society, and the economy – after all, digital development is a big factor influencing all of these spheres of human life.

Let me explain further.

Tiago Mattos, Futures Investigator and founder of Aerolito, identified four universal laws that drive digital development:

  • Everything that can be digitized will be digitized
  • Everything that can be automated will be automated
  • Everything that can be personalized will be personalized
  • Everything that can be distributed peer to peer will be distributed.

Ring a bell? 🛎️ We're living it! ChatGPT and AI pals are digitizing, automating, and personalizing our world

Marketing plans, videos, copy, distribution, and data analysis? All AI-powered. This blog post? Well, our little friend, did quite a bit of leg work here. I can see him sitting at his desk. Sweating quite a bit!

The T-shape evolves with new fields and skills, but its core (behavioral psychology, strategic thinking, branding, growth mindset, analytics, and funnel marketing) stays put - at least for now.

Here's the deal: as AI gets smarter, targeting dream customers, crafting perfect ads, and writing like a human, it's crucial to stay in the know and ride the wave, not get swept away by it. 🌊🏄‍♂️

Challenges of becoming a T-shaped marketer and how to become one

Let's be honest: transforming into a T-shaped marketer isn't a walk in the park. Finding someone to teach you all the skills? Tough gig. Courses and certifications? Often pricey or just plain repetitive.

Many seasoned T-shaped marketers learned the ropes with a lot of sweat and tears: working in startups, where "many hats" is the dress code. But there's a shortcut! 🚀

We crafted a high-quality, hands-on course for young marketing pros, startup founders seeking traction, and ambitious entrepreneurs investing in their future biz.

GROWTH MARKETING: Win, onboard, and retain more customers.

You'll discover the exact system that drove the shocking growth of companies like Dropbox, Twitter, and Hubspot. You'll also learn how to run experiments, amp up your marketing skills, find lead-gen hacks, and attract customers without breaking the bank. 💸💥

Nobody "hacks" their way into playing in the NBA. It takes a system, the right mindset, and consistency.

That's what you get with this course. Curious? Already 3,006 people took it! Click here to learn more! 🎓🌟

Wrapping Up

The rise of the T-shaped marketer is a sign of things to come. As we continue to digitize our world and move towards a more digital economy, businesses need people who can successfully navigate this new landscape. 

The rapid development of AI makes it even more vital for you to keep your experience and skills sharp and up to date. 

Be part of the parade. Watching it won’t necessarily be much fun. 

To be a successful marketing professional today, go T-shaped, and watch your career soar sky-high, no matter how the wind blows!