Jan 10, 2018

The Anatomy of a Digital Marketing Agency

by Digital Marketing Institute

Today, digital marketing agencies are commonplace. These fast-paced, target driven environments have a decidedly less formal and structured air with plenty of flexible or remote positions available.

If you’re interested in a career at a digital agency or are considering a move to digital marketing, this blog provides a comprehensive overview of where you should focus your efforts to expand your skill set.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is targeted and data-driven, the depth of information available allows marketers to get the right message, to the right person at the right time.

An effective digital marketing campaign may incorporate many different types of media, including audio, video, and copy, and a variety of different specialists are needed to get the job done well.

Examples of different digital marketing channels and areas include:

  • Social media
  • Content management
  • Design
  • Digital publishing
  • Copywriting
  • Mobile marketing
  • Analytics
  • Business/marketing strategy

What does a Digital Marketing Agency Do?

Traditional agencies would have primarily been in charge of producing television, radio and newspaper advertisements to sell products for companies. This approach involved building a list of accounts, which would then be individually handled. Essentially the agencies would produce the ad for a large sum of money, the ad would then be placed into the appropriate slot for another large sum of money.

These days marketing is much more strategic as consumers are both willing and able to access a broad spectrum of products in a short period. When it comes to B2C outreach, while digital marketing agencies may still be responsible for branding and customer research, they are more likely to take an active lead-generation approach than the traditional agency’s role of developing a campaign and essentially “hoping” it works.

With the Internet, because consumers are so much savvier these days, marketers have to be too. And most people who are running their businesses don’t have time to learn or keep up with everything that’s needed for an effective campaign.

Who Works in a Digital Marketing Agency?

The actual structure of a digital marketing agency can vary greatly, ranging from a few specialists who primarily take care of content strategy and development, to a huge team consisting of a range of specialists. In larger companies with a more traditional structure, there will probably be an accounts team, a creative team, SEO/SEM specialists, and web design specialists.

Because there are such a huge variety of types of companies out there, and many work remotely, whether you’re looking to be hired or hire them, you’ll want to establish some basics about your own priorities in order to find the right one. Things to consider include:

  • Budget/earnings potential
  • Business/career goals
  • Preferred working setup (remote or local)
  • Desired specialty

Types of Digital Marketing Agencies

Well-established, large advertising firms typically have a staff of creatives usually consisting of copywriters and commercial designers with years of experience. They’ll work on large campaigns and traditionally the biggest ones will charge a pretty hefty price tag to take on large companies. These campaigns will often have a global scope and incorporate a wide array of advertising strategies, including traditional print and TV ads.

There are plenty of larger agencies out there that offer a blend of marketing techniques. We can refer to these as full-service agencies. They are able to take on large projects, which encompass a whole range of marketing activities, including print and television, ensuring brand-messaging cohesiveness throughout. Depending on businesses’ budget and industry, hiring this type of agency may be extremely useful. If a company wants the whole package and are prepared to pay for it, they can get a professional, curated, composed and seamless campaign, which incorporates a variety of media formats.

Niche agencies, on the other hand, are typically smaller and more specialized. They will usually have a strong focus on one or a few elements of digital marketing. For instance, website redesign and social media. Smaller businesses and those with a smaller marketing budget may want to consider a niche or boutique business if they need help with just a few areas.w

Boutique marketing agencies, which are becoming more and more common, are often small businesses with a focus on more personalized, and possibly more innovative, service. They are more likely to have a team of specialists, which includes social media, content, analytics, and design specialists.

Digital is All About Data

Digital marketing agencies are specifically data and results-driving in ways that traditional marketing agencies would never have been, simply because they would not have had the tools. The best digital marketing managers will be deeply immersed in testing and statistics to determine the ideal ROI of a given campaign. While there is always some trial and error involved in testing, there’s typically a coherent strategy developed which is based on specific sets of tests that will work towards an achievable goal to boost conversions.

Data collected digitally is key to determining consumer behavior and buyer persona. Through specialized high-tech features like AI, digital marketing specialists are getting more and more adept at assessing the buyer’s journey and build marketing strategies around that.

Digital Strategy

Basic marketing techniques include establishing a unique selling proposition and developing a target persona in order to develop a marketing strategy that truly meets the needs of the customers. Today it is becoming easier and easier to engage with audiences on the social level. But brand differentiation can be more difficult because consumers are being overwhelmed with information.

One of the unique services that many digital marketing agencies can offer is creating a specialized campaign based on not only the relationship-building end of the sales funnel (for example, social media) but actually homing in on what it takes to convert sales. This might incorporate things like:

  • Improving website design and functionality
  • Developing appropriate content
  • Measuring and testing using analytics
  • Conducting comprehensive research to obtain customer data
  • Incorporating SEM and SEO to improve a businesses’ search ranking

A great digital marketing agency should be committed to continually testing, re-testing and refining strategy in order to maximize a businesses’ long-term ROI.

Pursuing a Digital Marketing Career

If you’re thinking about going into a career in the digital marketing, or you’re already working towards it, and you’re trying to figure out what to specialize in, there’s likely an avenue that will fit your specific skill set and passion. There’s so much versatility here and so much opportunity for affordable learning at your own pace.

If you’re already working full time, it’s a good idea to look for a comprehensive training program that will allow you the maximum flexibility in your scheduling. You should also make sure that the training is future-oriented, and the skills that you are going to learn apply to the fast-paced, constantly evolving world of digital technology.d

If you’re a graphic designer or a copywriter, you’ll probably fare well in what used to be called “creative” in regular ad agencies. If you’re a business leader who has a knack for balancing the creative and the logical, you may want to look into going into content strategy or management. And if you’re a logical person who loves working with data, there are plenty of high-paying jobs in web development and analytics.

There are many benefits to pursuing a career in digital marketing; whether you do it freelance or in-house, you’re sure to have a lifetime of stimulating challenges, versatility, creativity, and variety as you work with different colleagues and clients. And if you already have a background in business, communications or advertising, you may already be steps ahead than your peers when it comes to learning the ropes.

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