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9 Things No One Can Teach You In Your Digital Marketing Career

·1628 words·8 mins
digital marketing career
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If you’re just getting started in Digital Marketing, there are certain factors that can make or break your performance. Things that can aid you in avoiding typical problems and errors, and then there are things that can give you a competitive advantage.

The pool of eligible candidates for digital marketing is only growing every day. You’re competing for a client or a job not just locally, but internationally!

So are you equipped with the right skills?

There are many resources available to help learn the basics of digital marketing and even the advanced stuff.

However, there are some things to know about professional life in digital marketing that can only be self-taught or learned through experience. And I wish someone told me about this when I was getting started a decade ago.

But for the most part, these skills can be self-taught.

What I’m talking about are skills and a particular mindset that you can only acquire when you realize their importance. I came to understand that I needed them later in my career after reading or watching Avinash Kaushik, Guy Kawasaki, Julius Fedorovicius, Julian Juenemann, and other marketing gurus.

These are not cheats or secrets; rather, they are realities of this career path that you must be aware of and be ready for.

1. Pick a specialization #

When starting off, being a generalist in digital marketing is great to gain a broad understanding of the different areas in digital marketing. If you’ve found an area that you are most interested in, now is the time to build expertise.

Entry level jobs are a crowded job market, and having a specialization such as an “SEO Specialist,” can lead to higher-paying jobs, career growth and more opportunities. But importantly, you are able to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. Over time, you are able to apply your creative thinking to this area while you’re learning more.

In fact, this can give you a clear direction for your career path and you can set specific goals and work towards them.

Don’t worry — as you gain experience, you will have to dip your feet in other areas of digital marketing anyway, and you will see it all come together rather nicely.

2. Know your industry #

While we’re all focused on the subject matter and techniques of digital marketing, a little known fact is that knowing the industry in which we’re working in is as crucial as knowing digital marketing itself.

Say you’re a digital marketer for a company in the automobile industry, you must understand what they do, how they’re placed in their industry, who their typical customers are, what are their pain points, how they think, who is the competition, and more.

By observing and learning all this, you can craft a strategy or build content that resonates with them. Read or watch content from that industry — news, blogs, videos, car reviews and so on. All these drops make an ocean.

I can’t stress enough about this point. Knowledge about an industry is 50% of marketing already done. This intelligence can really help craft amazing marketing campaigns.

3. Be creative inside and analytical outside #

Digital marketing is both an art and a science.

But how do you explain the science of marketing to the people who know nothing about marketing?

You’ve put a CTA in quadrant 4 of an image, but they want you to put it somewhere else simply because they like how it looks. How do tell them this is not how it works?

For non-marketers, the creativity backed by science you put into building something, might look like abstract creativity to them. This is where a data-driven, analytical approach comes into play. You should use publicly available data or studies to back your reasoning.

Even if you’re not doing this, always look at your data and optimize your campaigns.

4. Share insights, not metrics #

This ties in to the previous point I made above. Most analytics tools have advanced visualization systems which are typically helpful in web or app tracking.

What do you do with all the metrics or data you’re looking at? It is important to develop the skill of sharing insights when looking at this data.

Insights like, “posting a blog post every week should increase traffic to the website by x% and increase lead generation by y%,” are actionable and is of great value even if you’re not presenting this to someone. But you now know it so you can action on it.

The Google Analytics 4 course from Analytics Mania is a fantastic course that touches upon this exact topic, and is a highly rated course on learning how to draw insights from data.

5. Know how CRMs work #

Most digital marketing courses don’t really touch upon a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM). I don’t know why.. maybe it is seen as a platform that only sales people would use.

But knowing what a CRM is, how it is used, what it can do and how marketing ties into it is very important if you’re just getting started in digital marketing.

CRMs also come with integrated marketing automation systems that are natively part of most CRMs. Through a tracking code, CRMs help capture visitor data, track their activities and score them when certain events are positive. This can be a great addition to other analytics tools.

As the score of the contact increases, they are pushed to the sales team. This is a typical process in most companies and digital marketing freshers generally have no clue.

So my advice would be to start learning CRMs like Hubspot or Zoho. Here’s a list of free CRMs that you could look at and play.

6. Understand the importance of customer experience #

A happy customer is going to be a loyal customer and that is great news for any company. Think about the last time something made you happy and how you felt about a brand or a product.

A customer or a prospect is likely to have many touchpoints, not necessarily in a linear fashion, and these touchpoints are going to shape their perception of your company. It is important to know what will make them happy or satisfied at that moment.

Here’s a great article from Hubspot on customer experience.

7. Disrupt your own work and bring new value to the table #

Digital marketers should stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the industry. They can experiment with emerging technologies like AI, chatbots, or virtual reality to enhance the customer experience and create new marketing opportunities.

But this is just the base camp to Mount Everest.

2023 is the year of the AI and people have already started using models like GPT, Stable Diffusion and more, to create brilliant stuff.

AutoGPT is the latest jump in the AI curve that makes bots running on GPT fully autonomous. Think of Terminator. They will only stop when you stop them or until they’ve completed their task.

Imagine what AutoGPT will do if you ask it to build a plan and write the sequence of emails with the goal of converting a prospect to a customer.

Like AI, there are emerging technologies that digital marketers must understand and use. The metaverse was a rage in 2022, although talk around it has died down, it is still a fantastic way to boost engagement.

Web3 and Blockchain are going to transform marketing in a few years with higher emphasis on personalization.

Apart from technology, disruption is about breaking the status quo, thinking outside the box and finding different ways to reach the same destination.

8. Stay up-to-date with privacy laws and regulations #

Digital marketers need to be aware of the various privacy laws and regulations that govern online activities, such as GDPR, CCPA, and CASL.

I personally struggled in this area since I never really bothered to read news about this topic, until I had to ensure a client’s website was fully GDPR compliant. And I realized how implementing is different from just knowing about GDPR.

Understanding these regulations and incorporating them into your marketing strategy can help you avoid legal issues and maintain customer trust.

I always make it a point to read news around data privacy. When your company needs to change something depending on the country’s privacy law, you’re the go-to expert.

It is best to set an alert for this topic on Google Trends so you know if something big has dropped.

9. Emphasize the importance of testing #

Digital marketing requires constant experimentation and testing to optimize performance. You need to be able to test different variables and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns to continuously improve your results.

There are experts in test marketing who are able to test the market-fit or viability of a new product or campaign before they launch it on a large scale. This can also be beta testing, offering incentives for early signups, building that FOMO thing and so on, which is great to find some early adopters and learning more.

While most people may not have this level of decision making in the early days of their career, this concept can be applied to other stuff and to go beyond regular A/B testing.

In conclusion #

It is possible to lose ourselves in the subject matter of various aspects of digital marketing, tackling challenges and pursuing opportunities. I hope this article was able to shed some light on the other aspects of life in digital marketing.

These are some of the things that you will need in your career. These are not easy or simple things, but they are essential things that can make a difference in your success as a digital marketer.

Thanks for reading!

Santosh Subramanian
Santosh Subramanian is an author at Digital Side Quest. He has over 11 years of experience in digital marketing, content development, and marketing management. He also has an MBA in Marketing from NMIMS. Santosh has worked at companies like Dell, Deloitte, Amazon, Facebook and startups like Agile CRM and groundHog. In his free time, he likes writing, reading, playing video games and dabbling in web development.