The arrival and evolution of the internet has changed the way people work, interact and purchase. In this new digital age, the skills that job seekers and working professionals need continues to evolve to keep pace with the demands of a booming job market.
While some traditional marketing tactics still hold water, digital provides a wealth of new opportunities. Not only can it help marketing graduates engage with people in real-time on a more personalized level, but it also provides insights on behavior through data helping tailor communications to engage with prospects at all stages of the sales process.
For many in the educational sector, this mass shift to digital poses a challenge. Traditional marketing courses that once proved popular are now seen as incomplete without the inclusion of digital marketing. As a result, students are enrolling elsewhere to learn and upskill, driving down higher education college enrollments particularly in the 24 years and over cohort.
In this article, we explore the unique elements of digital marketing and look at why it needs to be treated as a critical string to any marketing graduate’s bow.
Data is key
In today's world, we are swimming in data. In fact, it's predicted that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second, for every person on earth.
Despite this wealth of data, around 3 out of 5 people in leadership roles state a failure to get on board with big data could lead to obsolescence.
This wealth of data is invaluable to marketers as they can not only learn a great deal about their audience but can also use technologies to target people on a personal level, presenting them with content they are genuinely interested in, meaning they are more likely to click through, consume and engage.
For graduates looking to work in marketing, this understanding of data takes a level of know-how deeper than a basic foundation of how to read these metrics, stats and insights. To be successful, individuals need to be able to conduct detailed analysis through platforms such as Google Analytics and Woopra and map that knowledge to customer behavior and make changes accordingly.
As a result, students need to understand how to analyze data and provides insights that can optimize campaigns. Being able to do this will help drive personalization and result in increased conversions, heightened brand awareness and improved customer loyalty.
In 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion global social media users. This figure represents a captive audience that are active and marketable across a range of networks that keep evolving.
Social networks are unique places for marketers as they provide access to consumers in unique ways in real-time. Their interactive nature makes them the ideal place to interact with consumers making them a priority for businesses that want to be influential online. This, in turn, means they want employees with the skills to use them to their full extent.
While traditional marketing tactics rely largely on people picking up an advertisement or hearing the mention of a brand on television, social networks mean that people can be tracked across the internet and targeted at different points of their consumer journey. What's more, customers that are retargeted online are 70% more likely to convert.
Considering that so many people are digitally active and just how potent the medium is, not including them in as part of a marketing qualification means graduates will have a significant gap in their skillset for any key marketing role.
Measuring ROI is optimized and simplified
For any marketer, it’s key to prove ROI on all marketing efforts. After all, no matter how clever or visual a campaign is, if its goal is to convert and it doesn’t deliver, then it cannot be classified as a success.
While ROI as a metric is simple, measuring it and knowing how to grow it can be a challenge. However one of the advantages of digital is that it offers an effective way to measure ROI. By using a range of platforms (coupled with digital know-how), marketers can track a range of relevant metrics that provide insight into what content and messaging resonates and converts.
Due to the nature of traditional techniques, this level of insight is not possible and marketers require knowledge to understand how to make the most of this data and optimize campaigns to focus on what works and converts.
Local can also mean global
While traditional marketing relies on a blanket approach, online marketing allows marketers to target specific groups or personas. In addition, its lack of physical boundaries means that it can target anyone in any location be that a small town in a US state to major cities across an entire country.
Going beyond that, people can be targeted at the times that they are most active online and on the days the most searches for courses in that take place. This flexibility and targeted approach not only extends reach but ensures the right people are being targeted in the right places at the right time.
In addition, when you consider that 30% of mobile searches are related to a location, knowing how to boost local as well as global marketing efforts is a key part of any digital marketer's arsenal.
Customers are easier to reach & influence
According to a recent study, consumer engagement is driven by likeability (86%), trust (83%) and price (81%) with convenience only ranking in importance for 55% of consumers.
What this shows is that the reputation and value offered by a brand influences customers. While traditional marketing tactics can go some way to boosting a brand, digital can help marketers interact with consumers in real-time providing solutions to their issues or guidance when needed at all points of the sales journey.
In addition, in the online space, marketers can use a variety of tactics to persuade people to provide their personal details more easily than traditional methods. Through a simple click or swipe, a potential customer can sign up for a newsletter, download an eBook or chat live with a customer service operator.
Being able to use these important points of contact with ease is key for any marketer responsible for driving customer engagement making it crucial to know tactics and methodologies.
Customer service is enhanced
While customers once relied on visiting a bricks and mortar store or writing a letter, the realms of the online world mean that people can reach out to brands or businesses using social media or live chat functions, and in return, get a timely response.
This new relationship allows brands to deal with consumer complaints more easily, quickly and on a personal level reducing the risk of negative reviews or a communications crisis. In addition, being able to converse in real-time also builds brand trust and loyalty.
In today's customer-centric landscape, marketers have to be able to provide value to customers. By learning digital tactics, a marketing graduate has the ability to add value to any business by building rapport and turning customers into brand advocates.
In recent years the role of marketing has become more important with the CMO now an influential part of the C-suite. As such, 68% of business leaders expecting marketing to be the primary driver of revenue and business growth. And, this growth relies on digital technologies and the knowledge of a workforce to use them.
For graduates looking to succeed in any industry be it marketing, sales or otherwise, digital is now a crucial part of their skillset and even entry-level jobs require some fundamental understanding of how it works and adds value to a business.
In this brave new digital world, there is no room for putting traditional methods and digital into silos. They can both be drivers of effective marketing and when overlayed and optimized, together can prove to be a very successful and a valuable part of any marketer’s knowledge base.