Modern marketers need to be many different things. They need to be poets, artists, futurists, technologists and data analysts all rolled into one. A few of these things are hard skills, that can be learned pretty quickly by understanding the basic principles at their core. Technology and data analysis are good examples of this. Understand the fundamentals of technology or the sources and measurements of the data, and you can put them to good use.
What’s harder are the softer skills around creativity, but for those of a more rational bent, training yourself in design thinking can help bridge those skills a bit. Design thinking is simply the idea that developing and evaluating of an idea should come from the end user (i.e., the customer). While this might seem to be pretty basic, the end user is often an afterthought and we develop campaigns, products and systems based on improvements over legacy ideas and not from the perspective of our customers.
Here’s a good read from The Atlantic, about design thinking and Ford Motor Company. It’s a nice introduction to the idea of design thinking for those who haven’t given it much thought up to now. Then, you can go into your next meeting and ask, “what would my customer do with this?”