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Over the past decade, the marketing industry has seen many women rise up the ranks to become influential thought leaders and trailblazers.
This feat is despite the fact that less than a third of the digital marketing workforce is female.
So, while there are still challenges for women in the sector such as representation, access to senior roles, and closing the gender pay gap, significant progress is being made as many female marketers continue to push boundaries.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we explore the contribution of women to the field of digital marketing and look at the impact they have made in seven distinct ways across the sector.
1) The Pioneers
Women succeeding in digital marketing is not new news, they have taken the lead in the industry for as long as the discipline has existed. However, gender bias within the sector has led to female positions being undervalued by 21% compared to their male peers!
Drawing on their technological and creative strengths, women such as Ann Handley, Madalyn Skylar, and Ardath Albee were early pioneers in the sector. They paved the way for other females to make valuable contributions.
Even now, young pioneers use digital marketing in innovative ways to create a foundation for other women to succeed.
Spotlight: Ann Handley
Ann Handley is a prolific speaker, best-selling author, and all-around digital marketing powerhouse. She’s a digital marketing pioneer; her company ClickZ, sold in 2000, was one of the first major resources in the sector.
Ann has gone on to train marketing professionals across the globe, deliver successful strategies for her clients, and receive industry recognition. She’s also a tap dancer and vintage typewriter collector – we’re impressed!
2) The Educators
Successful female digital marketers aren’t afraid to share their expertise.
Whether it’s through publications, at conferences and seminars, or on a one-to-one mentoring basis, women are empowering other women within the industry.
Spotlight: Amy Porterfield
You might already have heard of Online Marketing Made Easy, a popular podcast from Amy Porterfield. This is just one aspect of Amy’s multi-platform success story.
She’s a marketing expert, author, and educator who has given more than 250,000 budding entrepreneurs the confidence and the toolkit to transform their ideas into businesses.
Amy’s talents have cemented her as a go-to online marketing expert, who knows exactly how to use social media, online content, and email marketing to reach business objectives, no matter the size or structure of an organization.
3) The Social Media Experts
The swift development and uptake of social media have influenced and accelerated the practice of digital marketing over the past few years.
Women have been pivotal in responding to this rapidly changing sector and have positioned themselves as industry experts.
In fact, 68% of social media influencers are female and harnessing the power of social selling. They know which platforms are hot and how a marketing strategy can be built around them.
Spotlight: Amy Vernon
Amy Vernon is recognized as one of the most talented social media strategists in the world. She’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the New York Times, and written for numerous publications, as well as her own successful blog.
She is a speaker and consultant and has presented at several international industry events, including SMX London, Social Media Week, SXSW Interactive, and Inbound.
In recognition of her work, Amy was an inaugural inductee to the New Jersey Social Media Hall of Fame. She describes herself as a ‘digital Swiss Army Knife,’ and we can’t help but agree!
The Adwords performance score of accounts serviced by women is, on average, 9 points higher than those serviced by men.Tweet This
4) The Innovators
Women don’t take the back seat when it comes to great leaps forward in the digital marketing space.
They use novel approaches to address the challenges of a uniquely fast-paced sector. Female leaders are innovators, propelling the industry into the future.
Spotlight: Lilach Bullock
Hailing from the UK, Lilach Bullock was an early innovator at the intersection of social media and marketing. Establishing her first business in 2006, Lilach tapped into the emerging social media landscape, recognizing that it was to become a powerful marketing force.
Her early success formed the foundation of a prolific career, and Lilach is now one of the most renowned experts in lead generation and social media selling. She is also an advocate for ethical online marketing, setting high standards for herself and her clients.
Lilach is a perpetual innovator, always looking for fresh approaches to digital marketing. She has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers, Career Experts as their Number 1 Digital Marketing Influencer, and Oracle as the Social Influencer of Europe. An impressive portfolio!
5) The Strategists
The capacity to develop and implement a successful strategy is a core component of digital marketing.
Women in the industry have become renowned for their strategic abilities, drawing on experience and education to develop plans that help clients to reach and exceed their objectives.
Spotlight: Beverly Jackson
As the Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy at MGM Resorts International, Beverly Jackson is in charge of social campaigning for one of the world’s largest hospitality and entertainment companies.
She’s an innovator in the field, with a keen interest in disruptive marketing strategies. Beverly is also a prolific speaker, delivering keynote presentations at conferences around the world.
6) The Disruptors
Due to the pace of the sector, digital marketing needs thought leaders that can move with new developments and succeed in the wake of digital disruption.
Across the industry, women are expanding their skillsets and taking on new challenges to drive success in traditional industries that are struggling such as publishing and retail.
It's in this disruptive environment that many women are finding their feet as influencers and trailblazers.
Spotlight: Samantha Barry
As the new Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine, Samantha Barry moved from CNN as an executive producer for social and emerging media to take the helm of the primarily print-focused publication to take it into the digital age.
Since taking charge she has grown monthly unique viewers by 12% to 6.3 million, while subscribers to Glamour’s YouTube channel have increased more than 110% to about 1.6 million.
Commenting on Samantha Barry's hire, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour said: "I am thrilled with her plan for Glamour’s future. She’ll be reaching the title’s loyal readers on the digital and social platforms they use most while using the power of print to highlight tent-pole moments like Women of the Year.”
7) The Diverse
Digital marketing is a broad church, combining a wide array of skills and backgrounds.
Women in the industry work across different countries, cultures, and languages, constantly evolving and adapting to each unique scenario.
The age of digital makes the world stage a complex one, but female digital marketers are tackling it head-on.
Spotlight: Aleyda Solis
Taking an international outlook, Aleyda Solis has built a successful SEO consultancy across North America, Latin America, and Europe. Her secret? Working in both English and Spanish.
She’s an author, speaker, and influencer, and has been recognized by Forbes, Hubspot, and Huffington Post as one of the leading international experts in digital marketing.
8) The Next Generation
For young women currently in education and on the cusp of their working lives, a career in digital marketing is an attractive prospect. The meeting point of creativity, technical ability, business nous, and strategic ability offers boundless scope for professional success.
Some of the best global universities for marketing degrees offer scholarships to women. Imperial College Business School in London, UK has several options for female students, while Columbia Business School in the United States offers the Forté Foundation Scholarship.
There are also scholarships that aren’t linked to a specific school and can be accessed by all eligible female students. Options include the Jo Caldwell Meyer Scholarship for Communications Majors, the Interpublic Group Scholarship and Internship, and the ESA Foundation Scholarship Program for Minority Students.
There are countless paths into the sector, and women interested in exploring a career in digital marketing are encouraged to learn key skills, check out industry leaders, attend webinars and seminars, undertake work experience, and explore every networking opportunity of other female pioneers.
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Rachel is the Global Marketing Director for the Digital Marketing Insitute with over 15 years’ experience. Her specialisms include digital marketing, strategy and planning, leadership, stakeholder management, content marketing, communications and media relations.