digital marketer students cluster around tablets to review their digital marketing campaigns and coursework

Becoming a Digital Marketer

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Digital marketing encompasses the type of jobs that literally market products on a digital forum. There are a variety of specific jobs under that heading.

There are also lots of ways to do the job when you’re talking about standard, “old school” marketing, but a digital marketer’s job is much different in just about every other way you can think of. Digital forums might mean a computer, a cell phone, or a tablet. Instead of billboards and magazine pages, digital marketing might make use of podcasts, emails, apps, text messages, or digital entertainment.

Perhaps one of the most significant differences is how it’s monitored. Digital marketers can see how well their ads are being received at that exact moment and just about whenever they want. With such enormous differences, becoming a digital marketer is going to look pretty different from becoming a traditional marketer. Here’s a look at what that takes.

Digital Marketing in its Youth

The problem with saying “This is exactly how you become a digital marketer” is that digital marketing doesn’t have a clear, straight path into the professional world. In fact, because digital marketing is still so young, there aren’t people with 25 years of professional experience. The types of seasoned veterans that you might find in other careers just don't exist in this field yet.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t even have a spot for it. It kind of falls somewhere between advertisers or marketing managers, graphic designers, and market research analysts because you have to have a grasp on all of those concepts. For the people that want to be digital marketers, this is great news! It means, first of all, that digital marketers are in high demand. The numbers vary but expect around 30% growth by 2020. Second, that demand means a good salary—around $100,000 a year for a solid company if you have significant experience. Third, it means you have lots of options when it comes to deciding on your preferred path to “becoming” a digital marketer.

Background and Requirements

According to Simplilearn, an online professional training certification company, digital marketers need to:

  • Have a knowledge of marketing concepts
  • Know basic digital marketing terminology
  • Understand web analytics
  • Have an overall understanding of the different areas of digital marketing

How do you get that? Well, there’s another nice niche provided almost solely online. Digital marketing certification degrees are offered from a variety of places (Simplilearn, HubSpot, and even Google offer courses, along with dozens of other sites). These can be really great opportunities for marketing professionals who want to get into a different branch of marketing. There’s even a Digital Marketing Institute out of Ireland. For someone who wants a more traditional learning path, colleges and universities are quickly adding Digital Marketing degrees to their course work. NYU Stern, for example, offers a digital marketing MBA degree.

Coursework

The types of classes you might take include instructional courses on how to effectively use social media (like Facebook and Twitter), YouTube instruction, and Google Adwords certification to advertise a brand or product. You might learn about search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) advertising, or website conversion rate optimization and other analytics monitoring. As fun as those sound, you’ll also have to learn about market analysis, digital marketing strategies, and content marketing. Each course will be a little bit different. The ones worth their weight should require an examination that ultimately supplies you with a certificate to show you know your stuff.

Specialties

Whatever path you choose, it’s important to have an idea about what you want to do with that digital marketing degree or certification. Just as in other jobs, you can specialize in different areas—like SEO, PPC, or social media-specific marketing. Do your research and review job postings. Figure out where your specialty is, and see how the different tracks appeal to you. Digital marketing is a brave new world with a booming market!

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