Digital marketing is in higher demand than ever before, and companies are looking for skilled professionals who can oversee their online advertising and outreach.
But what exactly does a digital marketing manager do? And how does a digital marketing manager differ from an SEO professional or content creation executive?
The official definition of a digital marketing manager is somebody who oversees the various stages of implementing a digital marketing campaign to promote a company’s products or services.
Great, but what does that actually MEAN?
Let’s say that you’re a company and you want to promote your new line of designer sunglasses online. While the job of content creators is to produce written and visual content to accompany the campaign, the task of the digital marketing manager is to come up with a plan that details what content the team will create, and how to use it to attract customers.
Planning is not easy. And in many ways, the digital marketing manager has to be just as creative in their approach as the people in their team generating the content. A marketing manager has to step into the shoes of their online audience and think about what kind of advertising would appeal to them most powerfully. The space of possible ideas is enormous, so the marketing manager has to narrow down their options and then eventually “take the plunge,” pick one and run with it.
All online marketing campaigns require some kind of content creation to get off the ground. It can be as simple as designing a banner for a PPC marketing drive, or as complicated as doing native advertising, creating ebooks or white papers, or generating a video series. Many marketing campaigns also specifically target social media with “snackable” content, drip-feeding their audiences with a constant stream of company-related advertising.
Marketing manages sometimes get directly involved with the content creation itself. But most of the time it’s their job to take a step back and think about the kind of content that customers want.
While there’s a degree of overlap between content marketing and social media marketing campaigns, the latter requires some novel approaches. Marketing managers must understand the unique features of the social media marketing landscape, and help their teams navigate it successfully.
Digital marketing can seem like a bit of a dark art. Because of this, clients and employers aren’t always clear in their own minds about the value that marketing managers offer. Explaining digital marketing can be tricky, but it’s an essential part of the work. Digital marketing professionals need to focus on communicating the value of what they do to interested parties.
Email marketing remains one of the best forms of digital marketing, despite being nearly a quart of a century old. The role of digital marketing managers in the realm of email is similar to that in other areas: to oversee the strategy and implementation of email marketing campaigns.
Digital marketing managers don’t usually create the content for marketing emails themselves. But, again, they’re often the driving force behind the tone, strategy and mechanistic aspects of the campaign, such as the number of email communications sent to customers per month.
Digital marketing managers also need to have the technical skills required for effective advertising and SEO in the mobile space. Digital marketing managers could perform the following roles:
We’re currently in the midst of a digital marketing “skills gap” - there are more digital marketing positions available than people willing to take them. The growth in demand for digital marketing services means that many working in the industry today get paid a premium, thanks to the scarcity of their skillset.
According to Payscale, the average digital marketing manager earns £32,116 with 90 per cent of people in the position making between £22,000 and £47,000. How much you get paid relative to the average depends, not surprisingly, on your level of experience, with those at the top end earning more than 26 per cent above the industry benchmark. Pay tends to scale well over time, with those in the middle of their career earning nearly double of those in entry-level positions.
Most companies aren’t looking for people who have formal training in digital marketing management: the fact of the matter is that that type of training is hard to find. What they’re more concerned with is a candidate’s ability to put digital marketing theories into practice and generate real results for the firm.
People become digital marketing managers through a variety of pathways. But if you want to maximise your chances of landing a position, you’ll need to learn a range of necessary skills and keep to to date with the latest trends..
The first area you’ll want to take on is SEO. You can find dozens of tutorials and guides online for how to become an SEO expert and take your skills to market. But, again, it’s not just about learning the theory, but putting what you learn into practice.
You’ll also want to get to grips with social media, and how to manipulate the platforms to achieve results for companies. Playing around with the tools before applying for work will help you understand how they work and impress interviewers.
The position of digital marketing manager is not an entry-level role. Most people who become marketing managers already have experience working in a digital marketing team, either producing content or doing nitty-gritty PPC work. If you find yourself in this position, then spend time observing what your manager does and start trying to see company operations from their perspective. If you were in charge of your firm’s digital marketing efforts, what strategies would you implement?
Finally, you’ll want to have a deep understanding of Google Analytics and other SEO research tools, like SEMrush, so that you’re in a position to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns. Being able to use these tools gives you both a low- and high-level overview of marketing operations.
Having an excellent command of basic digital marketing skills, however, is only a small part of the story. The most effective managers are not only those who possess detailed procedural knowledge, but who can also communicate effectively with team members and help them succeed.