Ideally, a digital marketing strategy employs both left-brain and right-brain thinking. Curious, empathetic, prepared, decisive, and creative: Does this sound like you? If so, you can use both sides of your brain; you fit the description of a rockstar digital marketing strategist!
What is a digital marketing strategist? In this article, we will discuss what a digital strategist does, and the skills, education, and experience needed to get the job.
Job Description of a Digital Marketing Strategist
Digital marketing strategists are in charge of the digital marketing strategy, SEO, and brand management on marketing teams. They plan, develop, implement, and manage the strategy for their brand. In bigger companies with larger marketing teams, they also manage, train, and help guide their team members.
Typical duties and responsibilities
What the digital marketing strategist does varies from brand to brand. This depends on company size, marketing team size, and the needs of the business.
Some small businesses will hire a digital marketing manager who is in charge of all marketing duties, including the strategy. Then there are also those companies that will have a dedicated position for the digital marketing strategist.
To break it down, let’s explore all of the possible duties the digital marketing strategist will do in an organization.
- Identify unmet business goals, needs, challenges, and opportunities.
- Create, plan, implement, and oversee the digital marketing strategy through initiatives.
- Use consumer insights and data to meet the objectives of the brand.
- Use market segmentation to identify the demographics of your target buyer personas.
- Measure return on investment (ROI) and key performance indicators (KPIs) to regularly review brand success and adjust strategy as needed.
- Keeps track of the budget for the digital marketing team.
- Manage, train, motivate, and help guide team members.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) to analyze web traffic, identify opportunities, and improve brand visibility.
- Manage search engine marketing (SEM) digital channels including Pay-per-click (PPC) and Google AdWords.
- Assist with content creation and making sure it sticks to the marketing plan.
- Use and manage the various digital marketing channels including social media accounts, email automation, analytics tools, and paid media.
- Determine which tools will be most effective in displaying the brand’s value proposition.
- Keep up-to-date with trends and technologies that are important to the consumer; identify opportunities to use them to enhance the overall strategy.
- Understand and follow best practices in the industry.
- Pay attention to competitors’ marketing campaigns and adjust strategy to be in line with industry standards.
- Build brand value and equity by implementing sustainable frameworks.
- Regularly determine whether the brand and organization objectives align.
Digital Marketing Strategist Job Outlook and Salary
Digital marketing strategists are typically well-paid because there is a high demand for skilled workers. Glassdoor estimates the average salary to be $62,475 per year in the U.S. Additional pay (cash bonuses, commissions, tips, profit sharing) can be up to $25,635 a year, making the total salary $88,110!
The most likely pay range is between $62,000 and $132,000.
Does that sound good? Well not only can you find great pay, but there is also a lot of growth happening in this industry. It is predicted that between 2018 and 2028, the job opportunities for digital marketing strategists will go up by 20%. This means 139,200 new jobs are expected to become available in the U.S.
Employers know that knowledgeable digital strategists are hard to find, even more so because of the pandemic. A study done by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK revealed that marketers’ skills in things like content marketing and social media marketing have declined between 2020 and 2021. Additionally, skills like digital strategy, digital advertising, and e-commerce have stagnated.
This noticeable skills gap is the perfect opportunity for you to step up and shine!
How to Become a Digital Marketing Strategist
Are you ready to get started with your new career? Let’s take a look at how you can get started on your career as a digital marketing strategist.
The first thing you’re probably wondering about is education. We’ll say it: It is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree to get a job as a digital marketing strategist. That being said, having a bachelor’s can improve your chances of getting a job.
About 78.5% of those employed in the field have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field. Want to go all the way? To reach the top of the ladder, consider also getting a master’s in marketing (14.9% of those currently employed have a master’s). In this case, there are many different programs and specializations you can go for.
There is, however, a difference between an MBA in Marketing and a traditional master’s degree. If you want to work in digital marketing strategy as a marketing specialist, it is best to stick to a traditional master’s. We say this because a traditional master’s will teach you a more technical curriculum, while an MBA is more suited for managerial types.
Specialized programs like Master’s degrees in Marketing Research or Social Media Marketing will train you well for these specialized types of jobs.
If you’d rather fast-track your career goals, consider participating in digital marketing bootcamps. You will learn a lot in a short time, with the ability to start working after 16 weeks on average.
You can also get a digital marketing certification to make your resume look even better. Here are some common certifications that a digital strategist may have:
- AMA Certified Professional Marketer
- DMA Certifications
- Google Analytics
- Google AdWords
- Facebook Advertising
Years of experience
Keep in mind that the amount of education you have is not near as important as the skills you possess and any experience you might have. This is because the field is constantly evolving. Having experience and know-how on today’s industry standards is paramount to job success.
Typically, employers want digital strategists to have at least 3 years of job experience. But, if you’ve got the right skills, you are sure to see improved chances of snagging the job. Half of the digital strategists working right now have between 1 and 4 years of experience, with a third of them having between 5 and 9 years of experience.
Top skills needed
To be a successful digital marketing strategist, you must have a solid blend of both soft and hard skills. Here are some of the top skills that employers look for.
- Leadership: To lead a marketing team, you must be able to easily identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. You must be able to delegate things and encourage growth in each person. It is also important that you keep your team members informed of the marketing goals and content strategy of your brand.
- Proactive: You must be able to stamp out issues before they appear, rather than reacting to problems. This requires you to be able to analyze conditions ahead of time and get your digital marketing campaigns prepared to absorb any potential impact.
- Detail-oriented: When you pay attention to even the tiniest things, you will never pass up an opportunity to improve a system and thus improve profits. Attention to detail in your marketing efforts will give your brand a reputation for excellence.
- Good communication: Marketing is founded on communication. To foster healthy relationships with your team, make sure your communications skills embody confidence, respect, emotional intelligence, and objectivity. To communicate to your target audience, you must have empathy, good listening, accuracy in speech, honesty, and personalization.
- Innovative: Nobody wants to get left behind in this quickly-evolving industry. That is why you must be able to find new markets and marketing tactics that will increase sales.
Most of us have fairly fixed soft skills. However, it is possible to learn these behaviors. If you find that you are weak in one or more of these areas, consider working on yourself. With enough time and effort, you can develop the soft skills that will help you stand out from the crowd of candidates.
- SEO: SEO is one of the top skills for digital marketers. For brands to be visible online these days, they must have a solid SEO strategy. Understand how to use SEO to increase brand awareness, get more traffic, and find more ways to convert.
- Social media: Social media allows consumers to give feedback and interact with their favorite brands. Being versed in various social media platforms is important to understanding your audience and having a relationship with the customer.
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics produces metrics about who visits your site and how often. It will tell you what pages are doing well and which ones aren’t. Understanding marketing tools like Google Analytics allows you to take these metrics and improve the user experience of your site. As a result, you will get more conversions and retain more customers.
- Email marketing: Keeping in touch with your leads and past customers is a great way to continue the customer relationship. After all, it is said that it costs five times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. Knowing how to send emails that keep email subscribers interested in the brand is a special skill that any digital marketer should have.
- WordPress: This CMS powers almost half of the Internet. Since your website is most likely built with it, you must understand how to use it. This is especially true for the SEO and content marketing aspects of your website. It is also helpful to have a working knowledge of web design and HTML.
If you find that you are lacking these hard skills, don’t worry! They are much easier to remedy than a lack of soft skills. These hard skills are teachable, and you can easily take a course on the hard skills you are lacking. Consider developing your education by signing up for a training program for that specific skill.
Land the job
If you’ve got the education, some experience, soft skills, and hard skills, it’s time to land the job! If you have no experience, consider applying for an internship. Online marketing strategists typically start their career path with a marketing internship. Working in an internship is a great way to gain experience that you can then later use on your resume to get the job you want.
Here are a few tips on making the most out of your internship:
- Use your voice: Oftentimes interns feel like they need to keep their head down and do the work. However, every voice counts. Use your creative voice to speak your thoughts, and you might be surprised! Sometimes marketing teams are looking for fresh ideas they haven’t heard before. Being a newbie puts you in the perfect position to do that!
- Ask questions: If you don’t know something, ask! You aren’t expected to know everything, so when you show you have the humility to ask, this proves you are a teachable person. But also, don’t rely on getting the answers from everyone else. Be sure to learn to find out things for yourself in the long run.
- Get feedback: This is your time to grow. You should use it! Whenever you complete a project, be sure to get feedback so you can learn where your weaknesses lie. Then you can work on improving those weaknesses to become a well-rounded marketer.
Other digital marketing career paths
Digital strategist candidates may also start their careers as marketing managers or digital marketing managers.
Other related career paths for those who are trained in digital marketing strategy may become:
- Analytics Manager
- CRM (Customer relationship management)
- Email Marketing Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Web Manager
- PPC Manager
- Brand Manager
- SEO Manager
- Social Media Manager
With Digital Marketing, Left Brain Meets Right Brain
Digital marketing strategists fuse analytical left-brain marketing and emotionally intelligent right-brain marketing. They gather data and facts with things like Google Analytics and SEO, then they use empathy, creativity, and storytelling to appeal to the target market.
If this sounds like you, consider gaining the education, experience, and skills you will need to become a digital marketing strategist.