I remember clearly during the first class of MSc Digital Marketing, back in September 2014, we were presented with “The T-shaped Web Marketer” model. It was to explain the skills and knowledge that Digital Marketers need and what we should to strive for. To be honest it was quite daunting to see on the first day but, on reflection, I realise we are swiftly developing these skills and each student is finding an area of particular interest.
To succeed as a Digital Marketer it is vital to have a wide breadth of knowledge across the different areas of digital marketing, with specialisation and skills in one or two fields. Looking back on the skills we have learnt and after considering the practical projects we have completed for clients, I have pinpointed key skills a Digital Marketer should possess:
1. Awareness of market and current news.
This seems an obvious one for marketers, but it is increasingly important in the digital age. With the Internet and social media, news travels quickly so you need to be the first to know what is going on in your industry and what your target market is doing, reading, and seeing. This also relates to the continuous changes to the digital landscape, such as Google algorithms and social media trends. A useful piece of advice we were given by our lecturers was to READ, READ and READ. Find the website which give the latest industry news and make sure you are the first to know it!
This is something you won’t be taught in a traditional Marketing course. Digital Marketers can now track everything they do thanks to online data. Ultimately this means that marketing decisions can be based on facts and what has proven to be effective in the past. This is vital to grow website traffic and gain customers. Learn to love data!
3. Social Media
Most businesses use social media now to communicate with customers, but it is also where a lot of marketing blunders are spoken about. You need to be sure to fully understand social media, which social media channels your customers use and how they want you to communicate with them. This relates back to Number 1 – “awareness of current news”. Marketing opportunities that are shareable on social media sites can often arise from breaking news.
4. Writing Skills
Content marketing is seen across all digital media channels, which is why many brands are now viewed as publishers. Marketing today mainly relies on inbound marketing so companies need to have interesting, relevant and easily accessible information. Good writing skills are therefore essential to succeed in this area. You need to know the best way to get your message across to your audience. Great content will also improve your Google ranking.
5. Technical Skills
Acquiring some technical skills, such as basic coding or video production, will go a long way if you are working as a Digital Marketer. This may not be part of your day-to-day job but you will most likely be communicating with web or media developers so you need to be able to talk their language. HTML and video production were part of what we learnt in the first semester of MSc Digital Marketing.
Creativity doesn’t just mean you need to be good at digital design so don’t be put off by this skill. If you come from a technical background, creativity might concern digital website design, or, if you are creating content, you may have to be an expert at creative writing. However, creativity is also an important aspect when it comes to marketing campaign ideas. As a class this is something we did in an idea generation workshop. It involved a lot of (abstract) ideas, a lot of sticky notes on the wall and a lot of laughs, but it was amazing to see how students’ creative sides were unleashed.
Teamwork skills are inevitable for most jobs and it is something that the MSc Digital Marketing course has definitely prepared us for. Many of the projects have been completed in groups. I think the most important things we have learned are the importance of listening to other ideas, working hard as part of the group, and ensuring you can communicate your own ideas. In a digital marketing environment you will likely be working with different teams across a large organisation.
8. Soft Skills
You will reap the benefits of soft skills in any job – friendliness goes a long way with colleagues! Soft skills are particularly important if you work in a communication role, for example social media, digital public relations or working with clients. It is important you are approachable and can communicate in a pleasant manner.
These are the skills that I have found to be important throughout my experience on the MSc Digital Marketing course, and they are highly sought after in today’s job market. If you think this course is for you check out the Robert Gordon University website for more details.