Due to changes we’ve seen across the world, the emphasis on digital marketing appears here to stay. For instance, SMEs (small and midsized enterprises) should dedicate between 45% and 50% of their marketing budget to digital marketing, according to the US Small Business Administration. Enterprise firms allocated 62.3% of their media budgets to digital efforts in 2019. This emphasis on digital marketing opens vast opportunities for digital marketing careers for those with the right combination of skills and experience.
The emphasis on digital marketing comes from two sources. First, the vast returns possible from digital marketing strategies, as you can see below from a survey of marketers. Notice the above-average returns possible from social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing, and PPC (pay per click) advertising on social and search.
Of course, you can’t build a digital marketing department without the right skills. Today, we share some digital marketing careers and the skills necessary to succeed in these careers.
Fast-growing digital marketing careers and the skills needed
LinkedIn lists digital marketing careers as #6 on their list of the top 10 careers in terms of increased hiring and livable wages (software developer heads the list at #1, in case you’re interested). The site estimates hiring nearly a million digital marketers per year into the future. And, according to Glassdoor, a premier employment site, the average salary for digital marketers is $57K/ year with the highest earners pulling in over $89K a year.
Of course, you can’t simply hang out a shingle that says you’re a digital marketer nor can you apply for lucrative digital marketing careers without training that’s hard to fake. Here are the top skills required by candidates for digital marketing careers.
Looking at this image, it’s easy to see that the most in-demand skills require specialized training and experience. Yet, there’s a vast gap in the number of digital marketing professional skills required and the number of people who have the skills necessary to succeed in digital marketing careers and make high ROI for their employers. Check out the vast skill gap to see which skills are worth gaining if you choose a digital marketing career. You can see the biggest gaps encompass analytics, mobile, content marketing (highly related to SEO), social media marketing, and email marketing. You’ll also note, if you consider this image along with the earlier image containing the ROI of various marketing tactics, that there’s a strong correlation between the ROI of various marketing tactics and the skills gap.
SEO marketing skills gap
Organic customer growth is now the single most important marketing initiative. Organic visits come directly from your SEO efforts that result in showing up higher in SERPs (search engine results pages). SEO is critical because users commonly click on results showing up on the top of the first page of search results and rarely travel to subsequent pages of results. SEO also impacts paid advertising on social platforms since there’s a strong link between SEO and advertising that appears on the first page of results. Finally, SEO impacts a business’s quality score, which affects how much a business is charged for each click in its ads.
So, what is SEO?
SEO is a complex, constantly changing algorithm used by search engines to determine search results and rank those results to deliver the best user experience when a user makes a query. Each search engine has its own algorithm, although Google, which accounts for the lion’s share of search, tends to govern each search engine’s algorithm.
Google doesn’t publish its algorithm, although blogs hosted by key Google Search employees provide hints as to which factors comprise the algorithm and the relative impact of each factor in rank. They also write about proposed changes to the algorithm to help SEO managers adapt to coming changes. Several SEO firms also provide insights based on Monte Carlo experiments to guide managers.
The backbone of SEO is understanding search intent and constructing keywords likely used by searchers in constructing their queries. Implementing a sound keyword strategy involves constructing content on your website and social platforms that use these keywords organically. SEO marketing involves internal linking, outbound links to authoritative or trusted links, effectively writing blog posts that are interesting and use keywords representing user intent, and other elements such as canonical structures that are fairly technical.
Many businesses also require more commerce from their local customers given the way Google highlights local businesses in search (as you can see below), raising the impact of local SEO.
The growing importance of SEO, including local SEO, shows why becoming a digital marketing specialist represents one of the possible digital marketing careers you should consider.
Analytics skills gap
The largest gap in digital marketing skills involves the analysis of data. In the case of digital analytics, this is likely big data.
I know analytics isn’t anyone’s favorite topic of study, but the skills gap means well-above-average opportunities and higher salaries for those with the proper digital analytics skills.
Here’s just some of what’s expected for someone hoping to fill this critical skills gap that represents one of the great digital marketing careers.
- Google Analytics
- Social media analytics
- Advertising analytics from Google Ads and social platforms.
- Basic statistics
While not technically one of the fast-growing digital marketing careers, resilience planning might fit into this career and is certainly related to the growth of digital marketing. Resilience is key to surviving disasters and severe business events. The profession of resilience planning or business continuity planning BCP went into overdrive mode with the combined challenges of the global pandemic and increase in hacking into business and government computer systems.
Businesses must have professionals who can plan for disasters, see adverse events such as blackouts, earthquakes, cyber-attacks, hacking events, malware, financial crashes, and more. A good recovery plan keeps a business going even during a disaster and helps speed recovery afterward. One thing we learned from recent events is that agility is golden.
While some businesses were failing during the recent global pandemic, other businesses were hiring, making acquisitions and merging with other brands. Concomitant with these financial changes, businesses must protect key dependencies and core processes so that, even in the event of a severe shortage of employees, supply chains aren’t broken, they don’t lack government support, and businesses can still keep the most important pieces of their business up and running.
I hope this short post highlights the appeal of digital marketing careers for those considering a career change or training for their career. Pay close attention to the skills needed to succeed in these careers. While we didn’t cover this earlier, recognize that the skills needed for digital marketing careers evolve constantly. This requires those interested in these careers to commit to ongoing study to stay abreast of changes.
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