How to Build a Career in Digital Marketing Industry


The Wave associated with this industry is so strong today that it’s undoubtedly the best time to be part of this fast-growing industry. Being part of this industry since last 16 years, I believe these are some of the top reasons to build a rewarding career in Digital Marketing industry in 2018:

Top 5 Reasons for a Rewarding Digital Marketing Career

  • Jobs in Digital Marketing in 2018.  Jobs are expected to be created in Digital Marketing space in the year 2018. While this number would include various kinds of Digital Marketing as a Career, the demand for few profiles including technical & analytics skilled professionals is always going to exceed the available talent pool. While a large number of brands and agencies don’t advertise for jobs related to Online Marketing, there are over 12.5k jobs  updated on a daily basis. This marks for a substantial increase in the number of jobs just within a year’s time. Interestingly, ‘Social Media Marketing’ alone has over 10k jobs compared to 1700 in 2016
  • Given the increasing gap between demand and supply of Digital Marketing professionals, a Digital Marketer commands a much higher average salary compared to other industries.

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Kinds of Job Opportunities in Digital Marketing Industry

Based on your interest, you can choose to work in either of the following 3 kinds of organizations as a digital marketing professional. The kind of work and variety of job profiles make online marketing career even a bigger opportunity.

  • Digital Marketing Agency: There are a number of small, mid and large digital marketing agencies, who serve their clients by offering various kinds of digital marketing services across SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing etc. Even a traditional advertising agency is forced to offer digital marketing service. If you work in such an agency then you get an opportunity to work with multiple clients and enjoy the variety of work. However, you are unlikely to build depth as it would be practically impossible to go deeper for a particular client unless you are working for a particular brand.
  • A brand leveraging Digital Marketing: You can also choose to work for a particular brand or an organization, who are actively leveraging digital marketing for its own growth. Unlike working for a digital marketing agency, where you enjoy variety, you acquire in-depth expertise when you work for a particular organization.
  • Digital Marketing Tool/Platform Company: Another opportunity to grow in your career in digital marketing is to work for tool or platform companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Adobe, Salesforce. The kind of work and associated learning in these kinds of companies is going to vary a lot and will be quite different compared to working at an agency or a brand. Also, such job opportunities are limited but these kinds of jobs will offer a much higher salary.

In addition to these full-time jobs in digital marketing, one can opt for freelancing/part-time/work-from-home opportunities in this industry.

Popular Job Profiles in Digital Marketing

As shared earlier in this article, based on your experience, your skills (both technical and non-technical such as communication, creativity, analytical skills) and your interest, you can consider following Job Profiles:

  • Digital Marketing Executive: At an entry level, you are likely to join an organization as a digital marketing executive (or may be SEO executive, Social Media Marketing executive, Search Engine Marketing executive). You are likely to work under a team lead or manager and perform multiple tasks including research, content development, testing etc.
  • Digital Marketing Specialist: After acquiring reasonable (i.e. 2+ years) experience in a particular domain such as SEO or SEM, you will be promoted to a specialist position such as SEO Expert or SEM Expert or Community Lead or Content Marketing Expert. At this position, while you will report to your manager, you will make lot of decisions independently.
  • Digital Marketing Manager or Team Leader: With 2-4 years of experience, you will be working as a Manager or Team Leader, e.g. SEO Manager, SEM Team Lead. At this position, you will be managing a team and will directly contribute to strategic as well as tactical plans for the organization.
  • Digital Marketing Strategist/Analyst: In organizations or agencies where there’s strong focus on aspects such as SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, there’s a need of skilled professionals for Strategic & Analytics roles. While team leads or managers will continue to head respective teams, these profiles will guide them more like consultants to improve their overall effectiveness. An analyst may contribute to teams across multiple departments as well.
  • Head of Digital Marketing: As the title says, a Digital Marketing Head is the senior most profile in this domain. In organizations where integrated marketing campaigns exist, Digital Marketing Head will report to Head of Marketing or CMO, who would be responsible for overall marketing function.

Since Internet Marketing industry is still at evolution phase, the above roles are yet to be standardized and may also vary based on the type of organization, i.e. an agency or a brand or a tool provider. Continuous learning and growth opportunities for all the profiles listed above make a great choice for digital marketing as a career option for both students and professionals.

  • Head of Marketing/VP Marketing/CMO (Chief Marketing Officer): While these are profiles, which are not technically digital marketing profiles, it’s important to note that any marketer who wants to rise to these top positions MUST know digital marketing really well.

Professionals at these positions are unlikely to play a direct role in digital marketing campaigns execution but will play a very critical role in defining integrated marketing strategy, plan resources (both internal and external), define metrics and analyze performance for continuous improvement.

Skills Required for a Successful Digital Marketing Career

In addition to the technical skills (e.g. about SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing), following are the skills you would need to be a successful Digital Marketing professional. To the degree, one has these skills to the same degree one can expect success & growth as a digital marketer.

    • Creativity: Given the amount of content & conversations on a digital medium, creativity plays an important role in differentiating a brand among its peers.
    • Analytical Ability: Given measurability is one of the key strengths required, analytical skills are critical to be a successful digital marketer.
    • Communication Skills: For most of the profiles in this domain, good communication skills especially written communication are important. In absence of good communication, one has to rely on an external resource and that’s not always feasible & is inefficient.
    • A quest for Learning: Given the dynamic nature of digital media, one has to be open and should be hungry to learn newer trends & skills to move ahead of others.
    • Passion for Digital Media: Digital Marketing professionals who are genuinely passionate about digital media will surely see more success coming their way in terms of results of their campaign and their career growth.
    • Multitasking: Most of the internet campaigns involve multiple digital media channels and continuous activities. In order to successfully manage this spread of online marketing campaigns, multitasking is another important skill for any digital marketer.
    • Networking: As shared earlier, Quest for Learning is a desired attitude in any digital marketing professional. Networking skills (especially online) play an important role for any digital marketer to stay abreast about latest trends & techniques in internet marketing.
    • Comfort with Technology: While knowledge or experience of technology is not required for a digital marketer, one’s comfort with technology and associated changes is another important element for success in online marketing.
    • Willingness to Experiment: Digital Marketing is an evolving field and there are no defined rules for success. One’s willingness and ability to experiment in digital marketing also plays an important role in determining the success of such campaigns.

Since your Personal Brand can play an important role in your success, leverage relevant soft skills to demonstrate your competency in digital marketing to continuously grow in your career.

FAQs about Digital Marketing Career

Given the number of questions asked on this blog, I thought of creating a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for your benefit:

  • Do I need to know technology to be successful Digital Marketing professional?: This is one of the most frequently asked questions about a career in digital marketing. To be successful as a digital marketer, you don’t need to know technology. However, if you know basics of HTML, it will be useful.
  • How important are communication skills?: For most of the positions e.g. Social Media Marketing, SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, good communication skills are specially written English is necessary. Here’s a list of top 25 grammatical mistakes one should avoid by HubSpot.
  • Should I look for internationally recognized Digital Marketing certification?: Given the fact that this industry is still evolving and hands-on/practical skills are most important, one should not worry too much about the kind of certification. For the same reason, industry certifications like HubSpot Inbound Marketing, Google AdWords & Analytics doesn’t carry any significant weight.
  • Do I need to be a graduate?: While your educational qualification may play a role in terms of your career growth in digital marketing especially in large corporations, it’s not a major factor for success herein. Interestingly, brands & agencies who ask for MBA as a pre-requisite for digital marketing profiles actually end up missing some great talent.
  • Should I specialize in areas such as SEO/SEM or learn entire Digital Marketing?: At current stage of the industry and for the reason that various digital marketing avenues contribute to the success of others (e.g. Social Media plays a role in improving SEO rankings), I don’t recommend you start your career by looking specialization.
  • I am already an SEO expert. Should I learn other aspects in digital marketing?: For the reason mentioned above, a digital marketing professional such as SEO/SEM/Social Media Marketing/Email Marketing expert must broader his/her horizon to be able to rise to senior job roles in this particular industry.

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