Jan 11, 2018

Traits of a Highly Successful Digital Marketing Manager

by Digital Marketing Institute

It's easy to get to grips with some basic digital marketing strategies and techniques through online resources and training programs. But what does it take to be a successful digital marketing manager? Those who wish to pursue this career must understand that this is a particularly demanding job that requires years of experience in the field, and a unique combination of skills.

Read on to learn more about whether or not you might be a good fit for this exciting and challenging role.

What does a Digital Marketing Manager Do?

Digital marketing managers are responsible for developing and overseeing online marketing strategies for businesses ranging from small startups to large corporations. They are in charge of overseeing projects and ensuring that digital marketing campaigns run smoothly from start to finish. They’d likely be responsible for leading teams as well as act as a key point of contact for clients in a B2B context.

These are essentially business managers in the digital marketing agency, so they need to have good people skills while being able to both manage content and build strategy. To a greater or lesser extent, they may need a fair knowledge of SEO, analytics, advertising, business practices, social media, email marketing, web development and copywriting.

Skills Digital Marketers Should Have

Generally, the field of digital marketing is quite diverse and encompasses a range of hard and soft skill sets. The good news is that if you aren’t interested or good at managing people, there are plenty of other ways you can be involved in this exciting industry. There are jobs for people who are more technical, there are positions that fit those who are more creative, and there are others for those more focused on business.

Regardless of what your hard skill set or aptitude is, here’s an overview of general traits that people going into this industry should possess and practice:

  • Adaptable
  • Interested in learning new things
  • Craves versatility in their job
  • Is a natural leader
  • Takes initiative
  • Curious
  • Forward-thinking
  • Creative problem-solvers
  • Business-focused
  • People-centered
  • Understands business and marketing strategy

Be True Leaders

Let’s just take the “content” part out for a minute and consider what traits it takes to lead any team or department in a business context, or even as a freelance consultant who needs to be able to work with a variety of clients.

Managers need to know how to communicate clearly and assertively in order to ensure that things get done. But they also need to understand how not to be overbearing to the point that it stints their employees’ productivity. They must be adept at sound relationship building in both a B2B and B2C context.

Managers must also understand the fundamentals of strategy, including setting goals, creating processes and procedures, and forecasting ways to achieve set ROIs is key. Not putting all of your eggs in one basket is key, here, as is taking into account both the people side of the business and the technical elements.

Have a Clear Understanding of the Content Marketing (Sales) Funnel

If you’re a part of a digital marketing agency, you’ll need to have a good grasp of what it takes to make a sale, and that starts with a clear understanding of the entire “sales funnel.” You’ll end up being in charge of essentially creating these funnels as a basis for your marketing strategy and promotional campaigns for clients.

Because this is a business-centered role, digital marketers need to have a firm grasp on what it takes to close a sale and will be working in the “funnel” the whole way through. The sales funnel has several steps, which we can boil down to 4 key phases here for simplicity’s sake:

  • Outreach: attracting new customers
  • Conversion: convincing customers to buy
  • Closing: making the sale
  • Retention: establishing brand loyalty and returning customers

Digital marketers must be able to understand the buyer’s journey in order to manage and direct the things that need to be done to improve a company’s ROI. They’ll essentially be directing a team to actually do this work, but they must be able to communicate exactly what’s happening with clients. This will likely heavily involve building brand awareness, which is more at the top of the funnel, but can also involve other marketing activities that are about closing the sale, such as email campaigns and ad copy.

Be Analytical

Digital marketing managers essentially are managing words and language as “data,” so while the idea of content anything might appeal to writers, if you’re more on the creative side, you may want to stick with writing, not managing. Content managers are typically going to be shoulder-deep in various analytics tools as they are constantly monitoring and tracking the progress and success levels of various campaigns. They’ll be focusing on a strategy that’s based on data like SEO metrics.

Digital marketers have to be familiar with the latest tools available to really cover metrics and analysis well. They’ll also be engaging their creative brain to write and deal with numbers on a regular basis.

Understand Social Media

Social media is a game-changer when it comes to digital media, as you probably would have guessed. A good digital marketing manager will be able to try different techniques and strategies without losing too much in the way of time or energy. They should be able to visualize outcomes via data-based predictors. And this is true not only with basic content (for example, the website) but also with regards to how well various tools like social media works.

That being said, if you’re managing a team, you’ll likely have a bunch of specialists - including social media managers - in your department. You’ll be more in charge of overseeing this area and others, rather than, necessarily, getting deep into the details.

Familiarize Yourself With SEO

SEO specialists are responsible for essentially monitoring and building traffic to social media and websites. A manager of a digital marketing agency will have a team of experts working under them who specialize in various departments, and as such, they may not need to know SEO and other key performance indicators (KPIs) in a detailed way. However, they need to be able to understand this type of data well enough to communicate details to clients and other team members. Not only that, they need to be able to explain how it will inform the entire digital strategy.

Pursue Ongoing Training

There’s so much going on in this field, that it’s important to keep up with as many digital marketing trends as possible, but only the ones in your field or area of interest. A good idea is to choose just one facet that you know is going to be trending (for instance, how to integrate automated chatbots into your client’s website), and go from there.

This is also true for your staff. A digital marketing manager has to have their eye on the trends that are relevant to their business and approach and is immersed in ongoing learning not only for themselves but also for their staff.


No matter what, a digital marketing manager must always keep pushing through challenges for their own agency as well as when they’re servicing clients. There must always be an approach that a problem can be solved, and that a strategy can be improved. At times, this will feel extremely daunting, so having a resilient, “never give up” approach, combined with an ability to find unique solutions to problems, is essential.

That being said, this is a high-stress job that never tends to end and encompasses a lot of different factors, so it can be easy to burn out. A great manager will understand how to achieve an effective work-life balance so that they don’t end up losing their mind with all the little details. To this end, a great digital marketing manager must know what parts of the work to manage themselves, and what parts to give away.

Are you interested in furthering your career in digital marketing? There’s a lot you can do on your own to brush up on various topics and get familiar, and there are plenty of opportunities for flexible, online training as well. For starters, you can play around with marketing apps, share blog and social posts about what you’re doing, and develop a solid understanding of SEO and analytics. Joining a Facebook group on this topic is also a great idea. And of course, you’ll want to find a reputable place to learn the ropes and get certified.

Find out what a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing can do for your career.


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