What is Digital Marketing?
What are the basics of Digital Marketing?
What kind of job opportunities are there in Digital Marketing Industry?
What are the skills required for a successful Digital Marketing Career?
If you came here looking for answers to these questions. Read on, this article is for you.
Now, the response to first question: What is Digital Marketing, is- often referred as ‘web marketing’, ‘online marketing’ or ‘internet marketing’ too, Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for marketing various products/services using digital platforms. These platforms can include various devices/platforms using internet e.g. websites, applications on computer, laptops, mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
The millennials (also referred as Generation Y) and Generation Z, wouldn’t even know how the world was without internet and digital platforms. But believe it or not, Digital Marketing as a term didn’t even exist before the 1990s. The term ‘Digital Marketing’ started getting used in late 1990s, however certain attempts of carrying out digital marketing functions can be found as early as in 1980s.
Before we start serving you Digital Marketing dishes for your lunch today (or dinner, whatever you prefer :)), let’s first review what Marketing stands for.
Back to Basics: What is Marketing?
Marketing is one of the longest standing study and management of relationship functions, and remains one of the Core concepts of Business Management. We emphasize on ‘Core’, because companies generally don’t outsource Marketing activities and like to control all its aspects on their own, unlike other management activities such as accounting, legal activities, human resources and sometimes production etc.
Marketing has been, over the years, defined by various professionals – individuals, associations and corporates. Let’s look at one of the key definitions, given by the American Marketing Association – “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Basically, with Marketing you cater to the goals of your company by keeping and satisfying your customers – current, past and potential. In this process you also create customers (and customer needs), if required; and provide feedback internally for product/service or process improvements.
These are peculiar times to be marketer, especially a digital marketer. Most of the Digital Marketing professionals have not had traditional training in marketing theory and basic concepts. Their background is mostly comprised of streams like computer science, web designing and such. Nothing wrong with that, but the fundamentals of marketing theory applies to Digital Marketing as well. So keep working on your marketing knowledge too, if you aim to create any real value for your clients and your own career as a Digital Marketer.
However, at the same time, Digital Marketing is different in many ways than traditional marketing practices. The skill-set and tools at the hand for a digital marketer are also different.
Therefore, time to move our focus from what is Digital Marketing back to Digital Marketing overview.
Digital Marketing Overview
The modern customer spends a lot of time ‘online’, uses multiple digital channels/platforms and has abundance of choices for most products/services. With digital technologies, companies can now personalize their marketing efforts and target their relevant segment with more precision. They can provide a cross-channel, continuous personal experience to their customers.
What is Digital Marketing?
Simply put, Digital Marketing is use of digital technology for carrying out marketing activities. Firms across the globe have woken up to this new tool available to them to reach out to more and more customers in number of ways. Digital Marketing is also referred as ‘Online Marketing’, ‘Internet Marketing’ and ‘Web Marketing’ in various countries around the world.
Various Tools available in Digital Marketing Industry
Digital Marketing comes with number of tools with it – content marketing, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), website designing, web banner ads, paid search (SEM or search engine marketing), affiliate marketing, mobile marketing (SMS, MMS in-app marketing), email marketing, social media management, social media advertising etc. And the important thing to keep in mind is that it is continuously coming up with more such tools and platforms, and the marketers are both spoilt and confused with so many powerful options at their disposal.
These are exciting times to build a career in Digital Marketing. Don’t you agree?
Career in Digital Marketing
The world is going more and more digital, and all the companies are now aiming to have digital presence. This creates lot of career opportunities for Digital Marketing. According to industry search reports, digital economy is going to grow about 10 times faster than the traditional economy over next 3-5 years. And the firms that operate with digital presence are the ones who are going to create most of the jobs.
Career Opportunities in Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing provides with plethora of career options. Plus, you don’t have to mug up crazy formula and definitions that you are never going to use in your life, and it’s fun. If you love coding, go into web designing and related options; if you can write better than most – content marketing is for you, and so on.
Typical Job Profile in Digital Marketing
Many of the roles I am going to mention below are related and more often than not, a digital marketer is responsible for more roles e.g. you may be responsible for both social media management and search engine optimization.
Web Designer/Web Developer
There is difference between the two, with web designer covering more functions than web developer. In brief they are responsible for designing, re-designing, coding, testing and modifying websites – making it more user friendly, more appealing (i.e. User Interface and User Experience).
You create content that is potential viral material, making sure it is optimized well through SEO, incorporate inputs from other relevant teams e.g. product, operations, etc. If you can writer better than most of others and can create superior content, this is the role for you. Content is not only limited to text, but any other form that you see on web, mobile apps etc. Creating timely and relevant content is the key here.
Search Engine Optimization Executive
They are responsible for generating traffic on the website and improve rankings in SERPs (search engine results page), which in turn improves business. An awesomely designed website will be useless for business if it doesn’t have traffic on it. They conduct keyword research and use right keywords optimally, make website search friendly, apply SEO tools, build sitemaps etc.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
You work within a budget for pay-per-click accounts on Google adwords, Bing and search platforms. You maintain and monitor keyword bids, within daily and monthly budget caps. With these, you are responsible to generate leads for your company. You would plan, run and review several campaigns. You will work with keywords, ads, landing pages and generate monitoring/review reports and provide feedback to your content team.
Social Media Manager
You get paid for Facebooking and Tweeting here. But of course it goes way beyond what meets the eyes. You need to have deep knowledge of all major and upcoming social media platforms, keep track of latest social media trends and plan your social media strategy accordingly. You coordinate with your content and client servicing team, and ultimately manage a client/brand’s online presence on social media channels.
Other than the key profiles listed above, there are many other profiles which you can consider such as – thought leadership articles (paid blogs), email marketer, analytics executive etc. It is not uncommon for Digital Marketers contributing into more than two or more roles discussed above.
At the cost of repeating myself, I want you to keep in mind that it’s a progressive field with technology developing everyday, and you need to keep updating your digital marketing skills to stay relevant and grow your career in this field.
Advantages of Career in Digital Marketing
There are numerous benefits of building a career in digital marketing. I am listing the key benefits that come to my mind here.
- A Wide Range of Career Options – as you would have noticed in our discussion above, you get to choose from a wide range of roles. Furthermore, the companies keep coming up with even more roles, given the dynamic nature of the field. You can do SEO, or Social Media management, or be a content developer, or a web developer, and so on. And you can carry your skillset from one company to another company.
- Flexibility – Hours and Location – Most of these roles are based on internet, thus the companies allow employees to work on their choice of hours and their choice of place. Due to the nature of work in most of the Digital Marketing, you can deliver while working from home or a distant location. You can choose to work as a freelancer and work on your own terms. Your potential clients, thousands of them, are online 24*7 and keep needing some or other assistance from a digital marketer all the time. Good for you.
- Be Your Creative Self – Digital marketing requires creativity, logic and common sense. You would need to dig in your imagination and innovative ideas to come up with good content which has potential to go viral, and at the same time is relevant to your specific company goals.
- Make Your Own Career – Digital Marketing space provide you number of opportunities to choose from. And at the same time, you don’t need to wait for a formal degree or internship or graduate placement to take up these opportunities. If you are good at it, nobody is going to ask you to show your degree. You can start blogging today or create your Twitter handle and build your own follower/fan base. This follower base will speak for you to the potential employers.
- It is in-Demand – Digital marketing is becoming imperative for companies in present age – must to survive and standout. And, it is still evolving and becoming even more important. Various studies indicate that the job opportunities in Digital Marketing space are going to grow at even faster pace in coming years, and there would not be enough skilled people to take up these jobs. You know what it means when the demand is more than the supply is. You get offered higher salary packages!
How to Start Building your Digital Marketing Career
While requirement of no formal degree, internship or recognition for start working in Digital Marketing, is a boon for us; there is a downside to it. Sadly, there are no good formal courses in reputed marketing schools yet. I did one myself in my college, or wait, I wanted to do one .… but, there was no elective on Digital Marketing in my college.
And even if the colleges offer a course, it doesn’t prepare you for any real Digital Marketing job. It is just introducing you to Digital Marketing and is completely outdated. In their defense, the Digital World is moving so fast that the academia is always behind the actual tools/platforms being used in industry, unlike traditional operations and production industry where academia actually leads trends in industry. Further, Digital Marketing has become a vast subject in itself, to be covered in few electives.
There is a solution to this though. You can get yourself taught a specific part of Digital Marketing that you are interested in, or all of it.
Go and attend Digital Marketing webinars, meetups, events. Check out lot of material available online. Follow Digital Marketing professionals on social media. You can talk to few marketing professionals in your or your friends’ network and ask their opinion. If you are planning to switch career to digital marketing, you can get started learning Digital Marketing while still at your current job. Invest in a good course from reputed training institute. There are few good institutes, who offer really relevant courses. Choose one of them.
And knowing what is Digital Marketing is not just for the entry-level professionals. Experienced marketing professionals can get a shot in the arm with digital marketing knowledge, which can augment their capabilities in their current role or they can start covering wider spectrum.
So, go on. Time is now.