The Top 5 Qualities of an Exceptional Digital Marketer

Author Ian Dodson

It’s well known that digital is thriving and fast establishing itself as the most appealing industry in which to work. The demand for skilled digital professionals has been a direct cause of increasingly lucrative salaries and competitive benefits packages. A career in digital can not only profit you monetarily, it provides a fast-paced, constantly stimulating environment that exercises your abilities on a daily basis.

Whether you aspire to enter the industry or are already enjoying a fulfilling digital career, there are always opportunities to improve your prospects and continue your journey. Below we’ve shared with you a list of the top 5 qualities of an exceptional digital marketer. Harnessing these characteristics will make sure you’re in the best possible position to evolve in sync with this exciting industry.

1. An analytical mind

Digital marketing is a data-driven practice. While many organizations would struggle to determine the ROI of a television or billboard ad, every digital tactic you execute results in a specific and measurable action. This is important, because marketers that calculate ROI are 1.6 times more likely to receive higher budgets. If you can demonstrate an improvement in performance as a direct result of your digital activity, you’ll be able to gain buy-in from the stakeholders that matter most, and generate more leads and revenue as a result.

The benefits of digital specialisms are extensive, but in order to reap the maximum rewards, any effective digital marketer should be able to translate data-driven insights into action. This requires a comprehensive understanding of analytics tools, which will allow you to drill down and examine granular metrics that will help you to reiterate or refine your strategy. Whether it’s Pageviews on a particular landing page, or how many social shares your Tweets receive, analytics are the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing plan – the degree to which it’s successful is entirely dependent upon how familiar with and competent you are at using these interpretive tools.

Top tip: select a combination of analytics tools that will form the foundations of your regular reporting. Google Analytics is an indisputable staple, while social media tools like SproutSocial and Klout can also fast become essentials. 

2. Creativity

Digital marketing isn’t a solely scientific practice – it encompasses the intersection between practical skill and verdant imagination. Measurement is integral to a marketer’s success, but creativity defines to what extent you’ll succeed. Advocates of content marketing experience almost 8 times more traffic to their website than non-advocates. It is one of the most fundamental digital specialisms you could master, and it is entirely dependent upon a capacity for creativity.

This creativity can manifest itself in various forms – maybe you have an aptitude for writing compelling ad copy or incentivizing blog articles. Maybe you have an eye for imagery and design. Perhaps your strengths lie in being able to conceive a high-level campaign concept that will provide your business with the ultimate competitive edge!

Whether you can write, design or strategize, you need to possess the kind of cognitive process that will help set your brand apart. Creativity is closely linked to the ability to innovate and willingness to take risks — if you are able to harness these qualities, and leverage analytics to measure their effectiveness, eventually your artistic efforts will pay off.

3. Resourcefulness

Your Click-Through Rate has hit rock bottom and the total number of site visitors has fallen off a cliff. While adopting digital is a foolproof way to guarantee success for your organization, it’s not without its faults. Figures can fluctuate and your overall performance can falter – what matters most is how you respond to these less than ideal situations.

The key is to adapt and survive. An ability to interpret results and a propensity to think creatively will certainly help you flourish, but these qualities need to be accompanied by a flexibility and thoughtfulness that will enable you to find a solution when your business needs it most.

Attitude is everything. If you can remain level headed in a crisis and adopt a positive, proactive approach in order to manage the situation, you should have no problem proving just how exceptional you are. A study conducted by Forbes revealed that 9 out of 10 employees reported bad attitude or behaviour as the source for job failure. If you can avoid admitting defeat at the first hurdle, and solve problems rather than submit to them, you will be able to cement your successful status. 

Top tip: for every digital strategy you execute, try to think of potential pitfalls, and suitable work arounds from the outset. This means you’ll be better equipped if something does go wrong. 

4. An appreciation for sales

Now more than ever, there is a confluence between sales and marketing. Many marketing professionals are held to KPIs that encompass sales targets, and in order to generate and nurture the best quality leads, there needs to be impeccable communication and collaboration between the two departments.

According to SiriusDecisions, 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. As traditional marketing functions have largely adapted to online channels, sales are now starting to follow suit. Both are undergoing this digital transformation because the buyer has transformed – from how they carry out product research, to the platforms through which they purchase.

If you are marketing an ecommerce business and website, your involvement in sales is certain. If you’re a B2B marketer for an organization that doesn’t sell online and would rather focus on brand building, a knowledge of sales may seem like less of an important requirement.

Nevertheless, regardless of the details of your job description, you should have, at the very least, a basic knowledge of your business’ sales performance. This data will inform everything you do. It will set your monthly lead target. It will shape your target personas and customer segmentation strategy. It will determine the digital channels you choose and how much you spend on them. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to accomplish. 

5. A desire to upskill

59% of companies say they are worried they may be too late with their digital transformation efforts and will fall behind their competitors. This is an unsurprising statistic, considering how unstoppably the digital industry develops. New platforms are released, algorithms updated and tools upgraded on a regular basis. As a result, ensuring that you’re consistently exceptional can seem like an overwhelming prospect. In our 2016 Digital Skills Report, results showed that 67% of marketers in the USA feel they will need to improve their digital marketing skills to progress their career and guarantee ongoing success, compared to 59%in the UK and 80% in Ireland.

67% of US marketers feel they will need to improve their digital marketing skills to progress their career.

The answer is simple – always seek to upskill. Promoting a constant culture of learning will ensure you stay on top of essential industry updates and perform at your peak. You could bookmark your favourite industry blogs and read articles, watch videos and listen to podcasts on your daily commute. You could take on extracurricular projects to perfect your practical skills. Maybe you’ll choose to follow thought leaders on Twitter and check in for their individual insights. Your approach may vary, but the outcome will be equally brilliant.

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Ian Dodson
Co-Founder @ Digital Marketing Institute