Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post written by RedefineYourMarketing
Research shows that content and digital advertising are the most sought-after specializations in the marketing field today. Experts in content strategy, digital project management, data and analytics, brand marketing, SEO, web design and development, and e-commerce are all in high demand. That’s great news for tech-savvy marketing professionals and students.
With the digital marketing field looking so lucrative, career hopefuls would do well to find out just what it takes to be a successful digital marketer. So we’ve put together a guide to the seven most important skills digital marketers should develop.
But first, read on to learn a little more about the role of a digital marketer.
What do Digital Marketers Do?
Any marketing manager’s job is to understand the customer’s needs, then tailor and communicate a value proposition to that customer.
Digital marketing is no different. Digital marketers work with lots of data to gain an understanding of audiences, their pain points, and how they’re using a particular product, then use that understanding to inform messaging and sometimes product strategy.
What sets digital marketing apart from other modes of marketing is its communication methods, which happen online, of course. Digital marketers also rely heavily on digital data analysis for market and user research, though they may incorporate more traditional research methods, such as focus groups.
Digital marketers reach audiences through any and all of the following:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Also known as Paid Search or Pay-per-Click (PPC), this is the practice of placing advertisements on search engine results pages. Those posts at the top of your Google search results are examples of Paid Search ads. Paid Search marketers bid for spots on SERPs, paying for the ads based on user engagement rates.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO refers to making sure a particular website shows up organically in top search engine results. Rather than paying for ads in top spots, SEO marketers instead optimize the design of websites, as well as technical and in-text aspects of web content, to communicate their authority and relevance to Google.
- Content Marketing – A crucial component of SEO, content marketing aims to increase brand awareness, conversions, and ultimately sales through high-value, relevant, authoritative written and visual online content.
- Social Media Marketing – Digital marketers seek both organic reach and paid advertising opportunities on social media, which helps marketers segment audiences and better differentiate their messaging.
- Email Marketing – Email marketing, like mailing lists and re-marketing campaigns, takes advantage of the personalization capabilities of email as a communication method.
Seven Traits of Successful Digital Marketing Managers
Digital marketing is a highly dynamic, demanding job in which your labor can take a long time to bear fruit. Below are some of the most important skillsets successful digital marketers possess:
1. Adaptability and Creative Problem-Solving
Digital marketers face something new every day. Whether it’s negative customer reviews or a Google update that has your site rankings plummeting, digital marketers of any specialization are constantly faced with novel challenges, trends, and tools of the trade. To stay on top, they must be willing to go with the flow and embrace change with open arms.
2. Curiosity and Love of Learning
Along with the need for adaptability comes the need for a natural curiosity and love of learning. Technology and trends today change at breakneck speed, placing ever new demands on digital marketers to adapt to the new Google algorithm or master that new analytics tool. It takes a true love of learning to be up to the task.
3. Leadership Skills
Digital marketing managers are just that – managers. To do their jobs well, they must be able to communicate clearly and conscientiously to a team of differentiated specialists, steering a coherent strategy toward meeting customers’ needs. This requires a blend of hard and soft skills for fostering team-driven problem-solving.
4. Business Acumen
In order to meet customers’ needs profitably, digital marketing managers must be able to balance user interests with the scope and interests of the business. This requires a keen understanding not just of best business practices, but of the particular business providing the product or service.
5. Communication Skills
At their essence, digital marketing managers are communicating a highly targeted message to a consumer in need. They must be able to craft a brand or product story that will engage audiences on an emotional level. This requires supreme command of written, visual, and even non-verbal communication.
Beyond customer reach, digital marketers must also be able to communicate gleanings from data about user experience and pain points to the rest of the marketing team and, possibly, to product management in order to inform product strategy.
6. Analytic Skills
While digital marketing managers may oversee content marketing campaigns, they operate at a remove from the frontlines of production. Instead, they’re responsible for aggregating and analyzing the data that will inform strategy, then mapping out and communicating that strategy to their team. This role requires command of current and developing analytics tools, as well as the ability to comb through data with great attention to detail.
As mentioned above, digital marketing isn’t focused on events, but processes. In the field of digital marketing, what you plant today may not be harvested for many months. Digital marketers may not see the fruits of their labor right away, and as technologies and trends evolve, the job comes down to a lot of trial and error. Successful digital marketers are persistent problem-solvers who take failure (or uncertainty) as an opportunity to grow.
Why Digital Marketing Matters to Product Managers
A product manager’s goal is to ensure the overall success of a product. They’re essentially captains of huge problem-solving ships. Product managers are responsible for hearing a customer’s problem, using consumer data and business acumen to objectively consider tech-forward solutions, then choosing the best one and mapping its development through to market – before anyone else does.
If product managers are driving ships of problem-solving, digital marketers present the case for why that ship should be allowed to enter a particular port. They communicate to the consumer exactly how a product will solve their problems.
Since digital marketers must have their fingers on the pulse of customers’ pain points, they can be invaluable resources for product managers. The best product development strategy includes dynamic inter-departmental communication between digital marketing managers and product managers, allowing the data insights gleaned from each to inform the other’s strategy so that the business can stay ahead of rapid-fire evolutions in consumer trends.
The more product managers know about user experience, the better they can tailor their products to fit a need.
How has digital marketing informed your product strategy? Let us know!