In this fast-paced world with constant innovations, cutting-edge technologies, and adaptive platforms, digital marketing is one of the few careers with the luxury of enduring changes in the job market.

As a digital marketer, it is up to you to guide and conduct your audience away from other objects and subjects which may be shinier than what you are selling. You also have to understand the new trends in in digital marketing and how the trends and changes interact with each other. With several digital and social media channels, it is up to you to find the synergy between the platforms and determine how best those channels interact with each other. Knowledge of creating a restaurant review template will come in handy later on.

Being a digital marketer gives you the power to determine the kind of content you share to your Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Pinterest. The content shared on these platforms vary. So, how, do you filter the content?

But, above all these questions, you also have to query how you stay relevant in this dynamic field. How do you keep yourself from becoming obsolete? The velocity with which the digital environment is changing is alarming, can you keep up?

With all these challenges and questions, there is only one thing you can do, polish up your resume! You don’t want the disruption of your career path midway, do you? To get around and be ahead of these changes, recalibrate your talents to be at par with globalization, and commoditization of technology.

If you are passionate about digital marketing, then you know that there is no way around this. You have to face this giant obstacle head on. With the digital world facing immense turbulence, here are essential and highly desirable skills that will make you far from obsolete in your career:

  1. Data Science and Data analysis

These are two words heard by digital marketers more than any other words. Why are data analysis and big data important in digital marketing?

Well, without analysis of big data, your company is not just blind but also deaf. Without big data and data analysis, it will feel as if you are leading your marketing team and your audience into a messy freeway. You need big data for decision making. Unfortunately, it isn’t just another simple analysis of numbers; it is a complex and often challenging undertaking that gets harder with the introduction of more numbers. You need adequate data analysis skills to manage the huge chunk of data and to detect gaps and flaws.

To be on top of things, you need to understand what those numbers mean for you to understand your market, the prospects, and the customers. The information gathered will help improve your marketing strategies and profitability.

Tags let you monitor and measure traffic for optimization of online marketing. At the same time, accurate data will uncover reporting tools. You will also gain insights that facilitate personalization. This way, you will learn where to allocate more money from your marketing budget.

So, being skillful in data analysis and big data gives you a competitive edge. It also means that you understand how to protect your data.

According to Adweek, the field of data scientists will be worth over $203 Billion per IDC in 2020.  Currently, there is a huge shortage of data scientists, and with the need for digital marketing professionals to acquire deep analytical skills, you should bank on data analysis courses and work experience.

NLP and digital marketing

How good are you at reading non-verbal cues? NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming analyzes how people perceive the world. It takes into account the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication noting that all humans communicate differently. And, understand the implied meaning of a conversation determines how good a communicator you are.

NLP is relevant in targeting. You will also soon realize that NLP and data science marry each other. Being a science that teaches machines to understand the human language, you need to understand how it works. To be the indispensable digital marketer you dream of becoming, you will need to understand techniques like lemmatization, stemming, Levenshtein, and Soundex.

  1. Content marketing

Do you have a marketing strategy that can turn a stranger to your business or product into a buyer and a brand evangelist? That is what a good content marketer does.

This is the foundation of marketing. With the origin of content marketing traced back to 1895 with John Deere’s magazine (an article educating farmers, that is still in publication today), it means that content serves a big role in marketing and advertising.

So, for your career development, you have to be a skillful content marketer. You need content marketing to improve engagement rate, better SEO, more leads and higher sales.

Content marketing determines what you create and distribute across your social media platforms. But, it isn’t as easy, your success in content marketing depends on whether the content created meets the needs of your specific target audience and if the content will drive them into action.

In content marketing, you have to create blog posts that segment potential audiences or podcasts that create brand awareness and educate your listeners. That infographic, e-book or update should inform your audience. Everything you do in content marketing should be an effort to nudge your prospective customers to decide to purchase your products and services.

As a skilled content marketer, you can be a brand journalist, a content marketing manager, or a managing editor.

  1. Search Engine Optimization and Testing

Are your web pages converting? Are people taking in your call-to-action?

There is a lot of social science that goes into digital marketing. For the longest time, search engine optimization has been the most important skill for marketing and, it isn’t about to become obsolete. As you learn all there is about SEO; you also need to understand CRO, conversion rate optimization. With these two aspects of digital marketing, there comes another critical element, testing.

You have to test and analyze results. While testing, ensure that the websites and the landing pages are fully functional.

To stay on top of your career, you should understand the new rules and updates in the SEO world. There are numerous penalties you can avoid just by being on top of things.

In testing, know all about A/B testing and multivariate testing for websites, and landing pages.

You also need to know all about the cause-and-effect relationships in website conversions, the amount of traffic to test and the metrics to track and test.

  1. Video marketing

Stories sell. Video marketing is a nice in content marketing that tells stories more than any blog post and infographic you will create. This specialized skill mastered by a few digital and content marketers isn’t ever going out of style. So, you should learn it and include it on your resume.

Facebook Videos, YouTube Channels, and Instagram stories call for the best digital marketing skills and techniques.

As an expert in digital marketing, you should understand how to leverage the power of demos, testimonials, and interviews to tell stories and to meet the needs of your target audience.

You also need to examine the available channels and marketing platforms to ensure that you are sharing your stories to the right channel. This also means being able to optimize your videos for the search engines; you should be able to use keyword-rich captions, tags, and descriptions.

Finally, your video editing skills, animation, and production skills will be essential if you need to tell a good story that sells. With the high demand for analytical, technical and creativity for video marketing, you should get onboard to avoid becoming obsolete. Learn how to leverage the visual aspects of storytelling to strengthen the emotional connections you have with your audience.

If done right, video marketing will boost your engagement levels as a video marketing manager or a video production specialist.

  1. Social media marketing

You’ve probably seen how some companies have witty social media managers that make you look like an amateur, haven’t you?

Social media marketing and management, a field unheard of decades ago now rules how you market. Social media is this force that is utterly unstoppable. Any company looking to implement digital marketing looks for the person with the best social media skills. This is because, if harnessed well, then social media is a powerhouse for driving brand awareness, increasing traffic to your website, connecting with your audience directly, and generating leads.

While some platforms fall, social media is here to stay.

Why do you need skills in social media marketing?

  • To understand how to position your business
  • To understand the right content to share with your audience
  • To listen to your audience, and to translate their pains and needs into relevant products and content.
  • To create awareness and to dynamically connect with your audience

In short, being a social media marketer translated to being a good listener, with great networking skills to influence your audience.  You can be a community manager or social media marketer.

  1. Email Marketing

Over the years, email marketing has remained on top of the list as the most effective digital marketing strategy. At look at the industry shows that email marketing is here to stay.

  • As it determines the profitability of the business, you require skills in creating interactive emails.
  • You also need to create more personalized emails, and for this, you need advanced skills in data analysis.
  • Your understanding of and creation of automatic/ triggered emails is also important. Automation is of great importance if your cart is abandoned and for sending welcome emails.
  • You also need to focus on email targeting, coordinating email schedules, as well as campaigning assets.
  • In email marketing, you will also need to measure and analyze open rates, click-through rates, deliverability, conversions, anomalies, engagement, and trends.
  1. Traffic Acquisition and Media Buying

This skill is crucial because the traffic generated determines the amount of money a company makes. To pull this off, you have to hone unmatched negotiation skills. You also need to have the ability to make purchases and to monitor all the advertisements by your company for a big number of leads and high sales.

Therefore, you need the following:

  • A deep understanding of paid traffic as a system that builds relationships before generating any sales
  • To become familiar with in-depth and high-end market research techniques so that you can place your ads in front of the right audience.
  • An understanding of pixels in advertising
  • How to turn raw data into measurable and useful metrics
  • The ability to design campaigns that are in synergy with your content marketing efforts

For all these, you need skills to understand how to build a successful paid advertising strategy. So, you have to be data-driven, strategic, and able to implement cutting-edge technologies for the success of the brand.

  1. PPC Marketing

To expand your business’ reach through paid advertising, you need the right set of skills including PPC. For PPC, you need to understand how to allocate money ensuring that the strategy creates the highest ROI. In other words, advanced PPC skills mean being able to market your business in a manner that takes the business on top of search engine result pages.

To be the best in PPC marketing, you need apt marketing knowledge, analytical skills and a strong grasp of math. Google AdWords and Google Analytics are also essential tools you should be skillful in. These tools and areas of marketing will help you provide measurable results to your clients. You also get to analyze the results you get and to report the results.

  1. Mobile Marketing

Every digital marketer requires mobile marketing knowledge and skills. Given the high internet penetration rates and the increase in the number of people whose use mobile devices to shop and interact, you have to ensure that your business is also there. Designing a responsive website is also important.

Alongside mobile marketing is UX design or user experience. For high sales, your customers should be able to navigate through your content easily. They should enjoy an aesthetically pleasing and a highly streamlined online experience.

  1. Project management

This is a must-have skill for every digital marketer.  Whether you manage a couple of agencies or a bunch of external service providers, you have to organize yourself efficiently.


In digital marketing, there are no limits, caps, or ceilings, and, if you cultivate and master all these highly marketable skills, you will be in the top league with a career that will last your lifetime.

For advancement in your career, you also have to learn how to use marketing tools and platforms that will take you to the next level.

Besides these skills, you can improve your chances of getting the best digital marketing job and advancing your career by:

  • Getting certifications
  • Understanding all the metrics of marketing
  • Having basic HTML knowledge
  • Building a personal brand
  • Have personal projects across different disciplines
  • Be eager to learn
  • Stay updated

Digital marketing is a lucrative career path: all you need is the right set of skills and experience.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.

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