Have you ever considered a career in marketing – specifically, digital marketing? A work environment consisting of Google Ads Management, Analytics, Facebook/Social Media advertising and, in some cases, web design? There are a lot of key elements to be learned, as well as a decent amount of prep work, for before you can dive into the industry.
This collaboration blog focuses on two industry professionals from our digital marketing agency in Columbus, Ohio: one who entered the digital marketing industry directly out of college (Stephanie Henty – SH) and one who has been in the industry for a few years (Scotty Moore – SM). They’ll explore the tactics they’ve learned along the way, as well as skills they wish they had learned (or been taught) before entering the workforce.
What Were The Biggest Challenges You Faced Entering The Digital Marketing Industry?
SM: For me, while in college, it almost seemed as if these sorts of roles – social media manager, digital marketing specialist, etc. – were just being invented and quickly legitimized as necessary company roles. There seemed to be an intimidating gap between what was available to learn via classrooms and what I had to learn on my own. For instance, there weren’t specific classes that taught Google Ads, Facebook advertising or even Internet marketing in general. As a result, one of the big challenges I had to deal with was understanding what specific skills companies were looking for when it came to effective digital marketing – assuming even they knew what they were looking for.
That’s why it was critical for me to rely on certification programs online (via Facebook and the Google Skillshop) to develop the essential skills that would prove my worth to potential employers.
SH: The toughest part for me was not knowing which area I was meant to be in, or where to even start. There are so many aspects of digital marketing that weren’t apparent to me while I was in college. I thought of digital marketing as one monolithic thing, not the millions of tiny parts that make up the whole. No matter how savvy your college is, you’re not learning all the components of digital marketing there. Working with Facebook Pixels? Nope. How to understand Google Analytics? No way. How to optimize Google My Business? Not a chance.
When I started applying for jobs, I thought I knew everything about digital marketing, but I soon came to realize that I was behind and needed to start learning. Just when you think you’ve stopped being a student, you’re starting all over again.
Was There A Learning Curve For Digital Marketing, As Compared To Traditional?
SM: The basics will always be important. Understanding consumer actions and buying habits will make everyone a better overall marketer. These core elements are exactly what’s offered in the classroom, so that’s step one. The biggest hurdle after that, I’d say, is transitioning those tactics into an online setting. Consumers’ customs are different in a lot of ways online, so it’s important to analyze as much as possible.
SH: As Scotty says, the basics are important and they are the foundation, but digital marketing will always be changing. The field is constantly evolving, you’re constantly learning new methods and you’re always going to want to be one step ahead (at least!) of everyone else. It’s a challenge because there will always be new things to learn, but it’s also rewarding when your sphere of knowledge can cover so many aspects of the digital marketing world.
What Are The Most Useful Certifications To Earn For A Digital Marketing Career?
SM & SH:
- Google Ads (Search, Shopping, Video, Measurement & Display)
- Google Analytics
- Hubspot Inbound Marketing
- Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification
- Facebook’s Blueprint Certifications
Where Do You See The Digital Marketing Industry Heading?
SM: Nowhere but up. It’s clear that digital marketing is now essential for almost every business, at least in some capacity. If someone tells you it isn’t, they’re either in denial or tragically ill-informed about the benefits. Heck, there are some excessively traditional companies that are still dead-set against marketing online, or too confused by the myriad factors involved to make a serious effort. And yes, these tendencies can cause headaches, but it also makes the job so rewarding because of the value we provide.
As with a lot of industries, digital marketing suffers from a common misconception that automation will eventually take over, but I’ll call that bluff every single time. Yes, automation tools are extremely helpful, but personalization – especially across a variety of different platforms – is critical to success. Because of the importance of that human touch, there will always be important roles for this field.
SH: The digital marketing industry will never go away. Seriously. Think about it: Everything is online now, and the few things that aren’t will be soon enough. There will always be something new to learn about, there will always be something new to try, there will always be something you can do to improve. The tools, skills and strategies that the digital marketing industry brings to the table are, if you’ll pardon the hyperbole, insane. You can never stop trying to get ahead of the curve.
Put more simply: the digital marketing industry is continuously on the rise, and it won’t start coming down anytime soon.
What’s One Bit Of Advice You Would Give Someone Looking For A Career In Digital Marketing?
SM: Question everything. Never become set in your ways or accept things the way they are just because “that’s the way they’ve always been.” Every single day, new tools and strategies to utilize within digital marketing efforts become available (though not all are usable). Encourage exploration, never refuse an opportunity to learn a new skill and always look for ways to get better.
SH: Even though there’s so much to learn about the digital marketing industry and you may feel like you don’t know enough, or like you’re not good enough, apply to that job anyway. In an ever-changing industry, what you know sometimes isn’t as important as how you learn. If you’re willing to learn, put the effort in and help the company grow. As cliche as it sounds, you’ll end up where you belong. Don’t get down on yourself if you get a rejection; one door is closing, but the perfect door for you might open.
Lastly, never stop making connections, never stop asking questions and never stop learning. All these things can only help you, not hurt you.