What Does It Mean to Be a Digital Marketing Professional?

share icon share icon icon calendar November 24, 2020

person using laptop holding and surrounded by papers about digital analytics

The art of marketing is nothing new – it’s been around since the 20th century. But, in today’s world, digital marketing is outshining traditional methods in nearly every sector. It’s becoming the preferred approach for agencies, companies, and businesses to advertise and connect with their audiences. With mobile device use accounting for almost half of all website traffic worldwide, it is a logical step for marketers to consider the internet as their primary outlet for campaigns. 

For example, most of us use our electronic devices to scroll through social media, send virtual birthday wishes, and even pay bills digitally, exemplifying how many of our online experiences involve some aspect of digital communication and marketing. 

But what exactly is digital marketing? It is a general term used to describe online marketing like advertisements and organic reach on digital platforms such as social media, Google, and websites, using methods like SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, display marketing, and more. 

Of course, there are the people behind the scenes, too. Digital marketing contains a long list of career paths and job titles related to various digital marketing professionals. Some of these can be creative, while others may be more analytical. Ultimately, the goal is to communicate with audiences, clients, or potential customers utilizing digital channels. 

Digital Marketing Versus Traditional Marketing 

The concept of digital marketing evolved from conventional advertising processes, which has seen many changes in sync with the development of technology. Online campaigns are similar to traditional marketing in that they use different copy and images to relate and reach out to potential audiences. However, it strays away from print materials, billboards, TV commercials, telemarketing, newspaper ads, and full-page spreads in magazines. 

women reading a newspaper style magazine

It makes sense to employ both conventional and digital marketing for many companies, but the methods you use should align with what you are trying to achieve with a campaign. For example, brick and mortar stores may benefit from advertisements at bus stops or in local newspapers. However, simultaneously running targeted ads on Instagram and Google carefully hone in on potential new customers in the area. Since almost everyone uses sites like those and Facebook, it is often one of the best ways to communicate with your target audience. 

Pros and Cons

There are many reasons why professionals opt to rely heavily on digital marketing practices, like email marketing, social media posts, PPC (Pay-Per-Click), and SEO campaigns. In particular, these methods offer more opportunities for companies to deliver carefully targeted messages to specific audiences. More importantly, your team can measure those results, so the marketing team responsible for the campaign can monitor individual campaigns’ effectiveness. Depending on the approach, you may even be able to do fun things like an A/B test (or compare two different strategies) to see what works best! Marketers can then assign a budget and personnel that share that with customers who have shown keen interest in a product (or similar ones). These are advantages to digital marketing, most of which you cannot accomplish with print or broadcast advertisements. 

That being said, traditional marketing is still essential! Investing in long-held methods can also have its perks. For example, social media marketing techniques may not be as impactful or long-lasting as print and physical marketing options. Think about your favorite road trip or the route you often take home. There’s probably a billboard or advertisement that you can always remember, simply because of its prominence. Even an ad in a newspaper or magazine will remain in that issue forever (at least until the consumer tosses it). These methods may give you a better chance of asserting your authority as a brand, but it can often be much more expensive. 

Many traditional marketers find that upskilling their careers and learning new methods to promote and connect with customers can give them a leg up on the competition. Investing in learning appropriate advertising methods that competitors and successful companies are also using is a great way to remain relevant in such a competitive field. This can be as easy as doing some research online, though it is recommended to pursue it further if you want a truly extensive grasp of digital marketing practices.

Working in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing professionals come from all sorts of backgrounds, including traditional marketing. Business professionals, math experts, tech-savvy students, and even small-business owners can benefit from experience and certifications in the digital marketing field. Many students don’t need any type of professional experience! If you find you are naturally good at things like communication, sales, or analyzing data, you might find success with a career in digital marketing. 

Specialties like social media management, content creation, blog writing, and designing graphics for websites or apps can fall under digital marketing. But so can processing data analytics, content strategy, PPC campaigns, and more. Individuals that would describe themselves as creative can find great success in digital marketing. Still, problem solvers and strategic thinkers have just as prominent a place in the industry.

team of people using laptops surrounded by icons refer to internet marketing tools

Those who come from traditional marketing or similar disciplines may find making the transition more natural than others. But ultimately, almost anyone can find their way into the digital marketing field. University courses and some college majors can help prepare you for a career in this domain. However, this might not always be the most hands-on way to learn. Familiarity and experience using current digital marketing techniques, processes, and systems are essential if you want to succeed in the industry.  

The field can also offer flexibility and the ability to dabble in many different departments, creative or technical positions. Being in digital marketing often means working alongside team members to achieve a common goal – typically expanding reach for a brand and distributing a clear message online. Someone in a digital marketing role can expect to work closely with content, ad concepts, design teams, and try out different strategies to see what delivers the best results. Plus, since so much of the work is online, it is remote-capable. That means digital marketers can often get everything done from the comfort of a home office.

How to Get Into the Field

Is the field of digital marketing the right choice for you? No matter your professional experience, it’s never too late to get started. Whether you are entirely new to digital marketing concepts – or have some general knowledge – there is a way for you to get started. You can begin developing the skills, training, and experience you need to get started in an entry-or-mid-level position. 

The field generally requires knowledge and hands-on training of:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Visualization
  • User Experience (UX/UI)
  • E-commerce
  • Social Media Marketing (Organic and Paid)
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Digital Strategy
  • Email Marketing And Automation
  • Website Development
  • Content Writing

If you are looking for a comprehensive career-prep program, consider one offered by the prestige of an established school like the San Diego State University Global Campus. Our bootcamp provides you the opportunity to learn everything you need to know about this ever-evolving field.

With the Digital Marketing Bootcamp program, you can get the hands-on training and experience you need to enter the field prepared and knowledgeable – all in under a year! Interested? We can help you explore what it means to work in the industry. Contact us to schedule a call with an admissions advisor to learn more about our getting started with our program!

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