Why Choose a Career in Digital Marketing?

Author Emma Knightley
Topic Careers

There’s no getting around the fact that almost all businesses, sooner or later, must include digital in their marketing activities. And with the demand for digital marketers outweighing the supply, there are plenty of opportunities out there for those looking to get into the field.

So, what’s all the hype about? Read on to learn more about this fascinating, versatile field.

What is digital marketing?

In some ways, digital marketing is not that different from traditional marketing: you’ve got a product that you need to sell, and you’re looking to ways to engage with customers to build brand awareness and eventually “close” a sale.

Digital marketing encompasses, even more, roles and skills than marketing ever before, and it’s this flexible, versatile nature of the business that makes it so fascinating. Here are some general areas that a digital marketing professional will likely touch on during their training or career:

  • Video/audio production
  • Interactive technology (such as AI)
  • Mobile marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Social media
  • E-commerce
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Content management and curation
  • Web development
  • Web design
  • Copywriting and editing
  • Analytics
  • Business/marketing strategy

It’s a good idea to think about getting training in at least one or two specialty areas, unless you’re in management, in which case you’ll probably need to know quite a bit about them all.

What skills are in demand?

The digital economy is embedded in every corner of our lives, and it’s definitely not going anywhere. There’s a solid budget going into digital marketing now as opposed to the traditional marketing. 93% of online activity starts with a search engine, and ensures the continued effectiveness of SEO as a superior marketing strategy while about 80% of Americans make an online purchase at least once a month. Anyone thinking about starting or leading a business needs to have a basic understanding of digital marketing in order to convert customers.

There is plenty of room for people looking to enter the world of digital marketing and related careers. According to Smart Insights, some of the most in-demand skills for 2017 were digital advertising, content creation, content strategy, and social media, which is great news for those who veer towards the creative, social and business end of the spectrum.

For those who are more technically minded, there’s still plenty of demand and quite a high earning potential for those who specialize in technology like SEO and SEM since this is what can be at the base of what drives profits in any business. Content marketing relies on traffic and anyone with the technical expertise to analyze these patterns is going to be a valuable asset, especially as these types of jobs become more complex with the advent of AI.

Why choose a career in digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a career that has plenty of room for techs, creatives, and business people. There are so many avenues that you can follow; it’s best to focus on one or two things that you do best, then you can always learn more from there. If you have a business or communications background, you may want to consider going into management.

This is a field that’s ever-changing and engaging; there’s always something new to learn. And if you work in an agency, you’ll always be working with different clients, which means you’ll probably never get bored.

Beyond this, here are a few more reasons to consider this career. 

There’s a Digital Skills Gap: There’s a growing demand for people with digital skills, particularly for those in the middle-income bracket, specifically soft skills, and according to this study, it’s most pronounced in the US. So, sticking with ongoing training in this area, even if you’re not a complete tech geek, is a good thing to bank on into the foreseeable future.

Versatility: If you choose a career path or specialization in this field and you decide to pivot later, you’ll likely only need a little training in order to make the switch. In this sense, you can build on existing skills while still learning new ones, but still stay in the same field. There’s plenty of choices, here, and ongoing learning opportunities, where different skills fit together in different ways.

The Industry is Always Evolving: As the industry grows and changes, there’s always something new and interesting to learn, and you can follow along and learn, whether you’re taking the lead on these initiatives or not. Since there will be a variety of specialists working in a given agency, you’ll likely be working alongside professionals with a variety of backgrounds, with everyone having to come together to build marketing strategies.

Earnings: When a job is in demand, that means there’s more opportunity to negotiate remuneration whether you are working in-house or as a freelancer. So long as you “show” your work through the job search process, you’ll be able to bid higher and higher the more experience you get. According to the Creative Group, content writers early in their career will likely start at a salary of at least $45, 000 and a new SEO specialist will probably be earning about $50,000 to start.

Be Creative: Not only is there plenty of opportunities for creatives to do their thing in writing, design and even video and audio production, there’s also plenty of room for day-to-day creativity in a general sense. You’ll always be having to think of new ways to market products, solve problems, and engage audiences.

Train at Your Own Pace: You can start working on building this specific career now, from the comfort of your own home, and do it your way. Take online courses, build a blog or a website, work on your own social media, get some volunteer or freelance work, and you’re on your way to building a solid portfolio from the comfort of your own home. For most specialties, there’s no need to spend thousands of hours and dollars sitting around in a classroom—you can really build your skills and get training in a way that suits your lifestyle. 

Work with Different People Every Day: You’re always going to find something new to do in this field - and have someone new to talk to. Whether it’s a new client, a colleague with an interesting specialty, or finding fun ways to engage and expand your audience, anyone with an interest in working with people will do well in the social and business end of this career. And if you’re a little more on the introverted side, you can stay behind the scenes doing writing or web work.

What types of people excel in this field?

All sorts of people can follow a career that touches on marketing; it depends on what your interests are. Having an extremely technical background isn’t usually necessary, though if you do know a thing or two about web design or coding, you’re probably going to be ahead of the competition.

Because this is such a dynamic field that requires ongoing learning, you pretty much need to be a self-starter—that is, willing to teach yourself new skills and technology on an ongoing basis. To this end, you’ll need to be a creative problem-solver. If you are curious, innovative, proactive, a natural leader, adaptable, creative, and have a good business sense; you’ll probably do well in most areas in this field.

How do you get trained as a digital marketing professional?

If you already have a background in marketing management, copywriting, web development or even design, you’ve already got plenty of transferable skills to go into digital marketing. You’ll probably want to get started on your own personal branding and build a portfolio in order to build your own unique digital presence.

It’s tough to stay on top of all of the latest trends, but getting a solid understanding of the basics of up and coming trends like AI and virtual reality in the context of how they’re being used for marketing is an excellent place to put your focus as well.

You should certainly make sure that your social media streams are consistent with your skills and aptitude--in other words, talk about what you are interested in and learning about publicly and as often as you can. Start a blog over at Medium and join some Facebook groups in your field of interest.

You’ll want to also look for a comprehensive, reputable training program to get official certification in one or more core areas. Once you’re officially certified, you’ll then have a leg-up amongst your peers when it comes to searching for fulfilling opportunities.

Emma Knightley