Skillsets You Need to be a Good Digital Marketer

If you are considering a career in digital marketing, what skills do you need to acquire? If you are already in digital marketing, how can you improve your knowledge and skills?

Digital marketing requires knowledge of 4 areas:

Channel knowledge

Marketing: Start with the fundamentals of marketing. Byron Sharp’s book How Brands Grow is an excellent choice. This explains science-like laws that apply to marketing. Read the masters and learn the history of advertising: I’d suggest Ogilvy on Advertising and Paul Feldwick’s The Anatomy of Humbug. Luke Sullivan’s Hey Whipple, Squeeze This is a wellspring of creative ideas. Marketing is much more than communication and advertising, though; it’s about helping a company create something distinctive in the marketplace. In this context, Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy, though ponderous to read, is well worth the effort. These are the fundamentals.

In addition, you’ll want to keep yourself updated on industry trends. CNBC’s Storyboard is quite useful in this regard (they have episodes on YouTube as well), and so are The Economic Times’ Brand Equity supplement and Marketing Week.

Analysis: There are tools for analysis, and there’s the analysis itself. The tools, most people will learn, given enough time. The key thing is to know what to analyse and why: here, it helps to be well-versed in the fundamentals of marketing. Also, numerical fluency is essential. Nothing fancy, but you do need to be comfortable with arithmetic. As a final practical matter, learn MS Excel as well as you can: Pivot Tables, formulas, lookups etc.

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Technology: If you’re a digital marketer, chances are that you’ll lead customers to an app or website. It’s helpful to know the basics of how apps and websites work. If you’re an engineer, you will probably know the basics, but if not, I’d refer you to the delightful, succinct D is for Digital by Brian Kernighan. Among other things, it helps to know the following: What is an API? How does machine learning work? What are some recommendation algorithms? How does a web browser interpret HTML and JavaScript?

Channel knowledge: There are 4 key channels within digital marketing, namely Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social media marketing and Marketing communications (push notifications, e-mails). For SEO, Moz is a good place to start; also, look for Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays on YouTube. Searchengineland has excellent articles on all aspects of search, both paid and organic. Likewise, there are resources online on all the above channels. Use them to your advantage. Do use the various tools yourself: Search Console, Google Ads, Facebook’s marketing console, etc. Set up some dummy campaigns, see the various bidding methods for yourself. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

If you want to enter digital marketing, it’s worth doing an online certification too. Several employers value a certification, and a structured learning process may help, too.

(The article is written by Anand Bhaskaran, Head – Digital Marketing at bigbasket)

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