writingAt several conferences that last few months and in several emails, there is one question that keeps popping up, what is the critical skill for marketers to have today.

Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist recently said that the “…sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians…The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it.” I agree with Mr. Varian completely. However, I’d like to add the other sexy job of the next decade, the copywriter. Being data centric and being able to use that data to communicate to your customers effectively and in a human way is what will differentiate companies in the decades to come.

It’s all about creating engaging and effective content. It doesn’t matter if it is words on a page, a script for a video, a status update or an ebook or whitepaper. The challenge will be how you communicate your message effectively in a world where our attention is constantly slammed, while continuously shrinking.

Copywriters in the 1960’s used to say that copy needed to be like a lady’s skirt: long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to be interesting. My brother Jeffrey Eisenberg recently observed, “The skirt just seems to be getting shorter and shorter.”

AdWords, Twitter (microblogging), social media, text messaging, Google’s seeming preference for pages 500 words or shorter and the continual assault of data on our senses is raising the bar. What do you think copywriters in the 2010’s will say copy is like?

What other skills do you think will be necessary in the decade to come?

P.S. Want to improve your copywriting skills? Be sure to subscribe to my friend Jeff Sexton’s blog.

Please share if you think others would benefit.