A study by Hootsuite has shown that we spend an average of 6 hours a day online, to put that in perspective it’s a quarter of our lives. Whether we are scanning social media channels on our phone, ordering groceries through an online app via a tablet or planning a holiday on a laptop, PC or smart TV, access to the internet has become an integrated necessity of our lives.
With so much time being spent online and the decline of other traditional forms of marketing, branding and advertising in the digital space has become a necessity if companies want to compete. This has brought about the rise of a new marketing specialist, the digital marketer and several new opportunities for organisations to expand their businesses into the cyber marketplace.
As a result, digital marketing skills are in serious demand and the digital skills gap is set to widen as brands start putting more of a focus on, and allocating a bigger portion of their marketing budgets to digital marketing than ever before. By 2020, 2 million new digital jobs are expected in the U.K. alone and not enough digital professionals to fill them. This provides those choosing a digital marketing with a unique competitive advantage as this is an industry where soon demand will exceed supply. We are already starting to see this trend emerge. According to Marketing Hiring Trends demand for digital marketing professionals outstrips supply with 44% of companies wanting to hire more digital marketers.
What is a digital marketer?
The ever-growing trend of digitising businesses creates the need for individuals well-versed in the business and art of digital marketing.
A digital marketer is responsible for developing, implementing and managing marketing strategies and campaigns that promote a company and its products and/or services on digital platforms. This individual plays a major role in enhancing brand awareness within the digital space as well as driving website traffic and acquiring leads or customers through online channels.
Digital marketers possess the knowledge and have mastered the skills necessary to harness the power of the internet for the purpose of developing and implementing effective customer journey communication strategies that make use of email campaigns, blogs, web pages, social media content and more.
All of these activities are aimed at engaging with today’s internet-savvy consumers and interacting with them when they are online by presenting them with meaningful content that will stimulate the correct response for the brand concerned. There is a rising demand for knowledgeable and skilled digital marketing professionals in the industry.
In order to have a successful career in digital marketing, it is important to master the following skills:
- Inbound Marketing – possess the ability to utilize inbound marketing to generate new leads.
- Flexibility – The ability to change what is not working in order to move you towards your project goals.
- Strong Organisational Skills – The ability to manage various different campaign aspects at the same time.
- Sales Experience – Essential to have hands-on sales knowledge and expertise. Digital marketing requires being able to understand and anticipate changes in sales trends.
- Branding Experience- It is important to possess the ability to create an effective branding strategy.
- Landing Page Strategy – The ability to craft great landing pages for websites
- Knowledge of Content Writing Platforms – such as WordPress is beneficial.
- Strong Social Media Skills – Must be able to create effective, potentially ‘viral,’ social media content aimed at increasing brand or product awareness.
- Ability to conduct analytics reports in order to measure your success.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Having a broad understanding of how SEO works is critical to increasing where your website will rank. The higher your website ranks, the more likely people will click on that website in the search engine results.
- HTML Knowledge is preferable – Being capable of using HTML to create eye-catching sub-headers and other visually appealing content is a huge plus.
- A strong ability to utilise Advertising Platforms, such as Google AdWords, to create effective ads.
- Good online listening skills – Understand the importance of listening to customers for the purpose of creating trusting relationships and loyalty.
- Goal-Oriented – Set both short-term and long-term goals, and diligently work towards fulfilling those goals.
Possible digital marketing career options
There is a wide variety of digital marketing jobs out there with a wide variety of specialisation options. Here are a few examples:
- Video/audio production
- Interactive technology (such as AI)
- Mobile marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing
- Email/Direct Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Content Management and Curation
- Web Development
- Web Design
- Copywriting, Editing and Blogging
- Business/Marketing strategy
- Paid advertising
- Online Public Relations.
Benefits to a digital marketing career
There is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of the industry. This means that individuals with the right skills can negotiate for great salaries but also land great benefits and perhaps even bonuses depending on their role. In more traditional careers like advertising you’d have to wait for an internship or graduate placement to open up in order to gain experience. The digital marketing world, however, provides a host of opportunities for you to kickstart your own career before you even set foot in a workplace. Digital marketing is such a dynamic sector with a range of disciplines, which means you’re likely to meet and work with individuals from different backgrounds and different interests. Due to high demand for digital marketing skills and the fact you can apply this knowledge to any sector or role makes this an agile career.
But one of the greatest benefits of being a digital marketer is the flexibility it offers you to work on your time. You can work for a company on a full-time basis or you can work as a freelancer for various organisations. Because digital marketing is done primarily online you can work from anywhere the is an internet connection. Our own research has also shown that marketing agencies are less concerned with formal qualifications and more interested in whether the applicant has the right skills and aptitude. This makes entering the industry much quicker for school leavers or those wanting to pivot their skills from another industry altogether.
Digital marketing is not a trend, but how marketing will be done going forward. Marketers that do not upskill will be left behind.
After assessing feedback received from the industry it became apparent to us that we had to develop the best and most relevant 10-month certificate course in digital marketing, and we did.
Our newly launched Applied Digital Marketing course is an online blended learning course with interactive content, webinars, gamification and one-on-one coaching with industry experts. The intention of this course is to provide students with knowledge and then get them to apply the knowledge in order to develop specific skills that are aligned to industry requirements. All of this culminates into a hands-on, skills-based portfolio whereby students can showcase their ‘experience’ to the industry, hence improving their chances of employment.
Included are eight learning blocks and one overarching portfolio project where students will
- build and manage social media business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
- design and create content for social media using online tools
- apply basic writing skills for online copy and blogging
- apply online research techniques including keyword research, blog topic research, social monitoring and clickstream analysis
- develop a good understanding of how to plan and implement SEO strategies and create content for search ranking purposes
- gain skills in building reports and interpreting data from google analytics and other social media insights tools
- build a basic website using Wix
- utilise online tools in the Google Suite such as Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs
- use Mailchimp to create email campaigns
- leverage tools like Grammarly to typo proof copy
- use tools such as Hootsuite as a social media management tool
To learn more visit our website https://www.imm.ac.za/onlineshortcourses/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/