Those with an interest in digital marketing may be daunted by the thought they need to be a computer coding genius, and be all up on other tech skills to break into the industry – which is certainly an exciting one in the current age of social media and mobile devices everywhere you look. But is this really the case? Not always.
Here are some reasons for this…
Digital marketing is wide field
The truth is digital marketing is a field with a number of different roles, suited to different skill-set – which involve varying degrees of technical skill. If you look up digital marketing jobs, you may find some role descriptions requesting a combination of marketing-management and technical skills. Others may specify one or the other.
Most marketers these days are expected to have a sufficient level of technical skills, but generally speaking these are the kinds of things you pick up throughout school and higher education – such as producing documents, spreadsheets, basic analysis of variables, and knowing tools that help grow an online presence.
The tech spectrum
Have you heard of the ‘digital marketing model’? Royle and Laing created it to show how the different roles found in digital marketing sit along a spectrum, marketing-management abilities on one end, and technical skills on the other.
On the marketing-management end of this, we’re looking at aspects like brand management, and management of the relationships between clients, customers, and online communities. Strong communication skills would be the main point of interest for the company when in comes to these kind of roles, with online communications being the realm of tech experience needed.
As you move toward the other end of of this spectrum, we find roles such as market research which entail data assessment. On technological extreme, we find things like web-development which is where you will find the coders.
How big is the firm?
In smaller firms, everyone may need to have a degree of both tech and marketing-management expertise under their belt. However, larger marketing companies may have a specific department for the technical side of things, such as coding and operating websites – although it must be noted it isn’t always mandatory for marketers to have the IT skills to code, but an understanding about this aspect and how different digital tools can be applied.
On top of this, digital marketing is an adaptive field, engaging with new technologies as they’re developing. With this there are new and changing roles coming up in the industry, affecting all roles within the organization.
You may find employers looking for a willingness to learn and enthusiasm about the dynamic digital age, over ultimate skill. A worker in any position from marketing-management, to research and monitoring, to web development, is bound to encounter a shift in the digital tools being used.
Significant changes we’ve already seen include…
- New or changed tools on social media channels such as Facebook
- Big data which has revolutionized analytics
- Artificial intelligence, as embodied in various technologies like smart phones
A growing overlap in digital roles
Technology isn’t the only thing that’s lead to a change in digital marketing roles. The traditional departments of digital marketing, customer service and public relations have undergone functional transformation and now tend to have a fair degree of overlap. For example, customer service may inform digital marketing, which may draw on public relations skills in the creation of a new campaign.
This may be exacerbated when it comes to managerial roles. If you apply for a position of digital marketing manager, advertising manager, or SEO manager, or other department, you may well find a crossover in the technological and communication skill requirements. All three of these, from example job descriptions, were found to request a knowledge of Google Analytics and SEO for the positions.