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How to Build a Rewarding Career in Digital Marketing Industry
I still remember the excitement about IT/Software in late 90s and early 2000. Surely, that was one of the best times for people to enter into IT industry. Even those who joined GNIIT program at that point of time could accelerate their career and moved to respectable position within few years.
That’s exactly the phase Digital Marketing industry is undergoing today. The Wave associated with this industry is so strong today that it’s undoubtedly the best time to be part of this fast-growing industry. Being part of this industry since last 16 years, I believe these are some of the top reasons to build a rewarding career in Digital Marketing industry in 2017:
Top 5 Reasons for a Rewarding Digital Marketing Career
- Digital Marketing to offer 1.5 Lakh Jobs by 2016: According to an Aug’14 article in Times of India, over 1.5 Lakh jobs are expected to be created in Digital Marketing space by 2017. While this number would include various kinds of Digital Marketing Career profiles including technical & analytics, the demand for skilled professionals in Online Marketing is always going to exceed the available talent pool. While a large number of brands and agencies don’t advertise for jobs related to Online Marketing, there are over 2000 jobs on Naukri.com. Interestingly, ‘Social Media Marketing’ alone has over 1700 jobs associated with it. I thought of comparing it with other popular industries and noticed 642 jobs for ‘big data’.
- A Digital Marketing professional earns between Rs 15,000 and Rs 250,000: Given the increasing gap between demand and supply of Digital Marketing professionals, a Digital Marketer commands a much higher average salary compared to other industries. A graduate with no work experience can expect a monthly salary of Rs 15,000 and a Head of Digital Marketing in a large brand or agency can earn Rs 2.5 Lacs per month.
Here’s a rough range of Salary associated with titles earned by Digital Marketing professionals based on their education qualification and professional background. This doesn’t take into consideration exceptional educational background (e.g. IIT/IIM) or professional experience. Professionals working in high growth startups or (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google) earn over Rs 1 Crore annual salary at senior position.
- India will cross 500 M Internet Users Mark by 2017: With over 3 billion Internet users, around 43% of world’s population is online. According to Feb 2016 report by Google, India will have over 500 Million Internet users by 2017 and 80% of these users (i.e. 400M+) will go online through a Mobile Phone. India took over 10 years to move from 10M to 100M Internet users. It took 3 years to grow from 100M to 200M and just 1 year to grow from 200M to 300M. Facebook alone has over 110 Million users in India. With over 220 million active smartphone users in 2015, India has already surpassed US to become 2nd largest smartphone marketing. Moreover, number of smartphone owners has already overtaken desktop/laptop users in India in 2015
Update on Aug 18, 2016: According to a joint report by NASSCOM and AKAMAI Technologies, India will cross 700M Internet users by 2020. Interestingly, over 75% of new user growth will come through Rural India driven by Mobile Phones. India will continue to remain the fastest growing country in terms of internet users growth.
- Online Ad Spend in India to cross Billion Dollars in 2016: According to a Jan 2016 report by GroupM, digital advertising spend in India will account for 12.7% of all advertising, up from 9.9% in 2015. Overall advertisement spend will grow to Rs 57,486 crores in 2016 and digital advertisement will grow to over Rs 7300 crores, i.e. over a billion $.
- Indian E-commerce Industry to cross $38B Mark in 2016: According to a study by ASSOCHAM, the e-commerce industry in India is likely to be worth USD 38 billion by 2016, a 67% growth over the USD 23 billion revenues for 2015. Also, Morgan Stanley revised their estimate of Indian ecommerce Industry from $102 billion to $119 billion. According to Morgan Stanley research report, the GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) of the country’s top three ecommerce companies (i.e. Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal) exceeded that of the top 10 offline retailers in 2015.
Kinds of Job Opportunities in Digital Marketing Industry
Based on your interest, you can choose to work in either of the following 3 kinds of organisations as a digital marketing professional. The kind of work and variety of job profiles make online marketing career even a bigger opportunity.
- Digital Marketing Agency: There are number of small, mid and large digital marketing agencies, who serve their clients by offering various kinds of digital marketing services across SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing etc. Even a traditional advertising agency is forced to offer digital marketing service. If you work in such an agency then you get an opportunity to work with multiple clients and enjoy the variety of work. However, you are unlikely to build depth as it would be practically impossible to go deeper for a particular client unless you are working for a particular brand.
- A brand leveraging Digital Marketing: You can also choose to work for a particular brand or an organization, who’s actively leveraging digital marketing for it’s own growth. Unlike working for a digital marketing agency, where you enjoy variety, you acquire in-depth expertise when you work for a particular organization.
- Digital Marketing Tool/Platform Company: Another opportunity to grow in your career in digital marketing is to work for tool or platform companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Adobe, Salesforce. The kind of work and associated learning in these kinds of companies is going to vary a lot and will be quite different compared to working at an agency or a brand. Also, such job opportunities are limited but these kinds of jobs will offer much higher salary.
In addition to these full-time jobs in digital marketing, one can opt for freelancing/part-time/work-from-home opportunities in this industry.
Popular Job Profiles in Digital Marketing
As shared earlier in this article, based on your experience, your skills (both technical and non-technical such as communication, creativity, analytical skills) and your interest, you can consider following Job Profiles:
- Digital Marketing Executive: At an entry level, you are likely to join an organization as a digital marketing executive (or may be SEO executive, Social Media Marketing executive, Search Engine Marketing executive). You are likely to working under a team lead or manager and perform multiple tasks including research, content development, testing etc.
- Digital Marketing Specialist: After acquiring reasonable (i.e. 2+ years) experience in a particular domain such as SEO or SEM, you will be promoted to a specialist position such as SEO Expert or SEM Expert or Community Lead or Content Marketing Expert. At this position, while you will report to your manager, you will make lot of decisions independently.
- Digital Marketing Manager or Team Leader: With 2-4 years of experience, you will be working as a Manager or Team Leader, e.g. SEO Manager, SEM Team Lead. At this position, you will be managing a team and will directly contribute to strategic as well as tactical plans for the organization.
- Digital Marketing Strategist/Analyst: In organizations or agencies where there’s strong focus on aspects such as SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, there’s a need of skilled professionals for Strategic & Analytics roles. While team leads or managers will continue to head respective teams, these profiles will guide them more like consultants to improve their overall effectiveness. An analyst may contribute to teams across multiple departments as well.
- Head of Digital Marketing: As the title says, a Digital Marketing Head is the senior most profile in this domain. In organizations where integrated marketing campaigns exist, Digital Marketing Head will report to Head of Marketing or CMO, who would be responsible for overall marketing function.
Since Internet Marketing industry is still at evolution phase, the above roles are yet to be standardized and may also vary based on the type of organization, i.e. an agency or a brand or a tool provider. Continuous learning and growth opportunities for all the profiles listed above make digital marketing career a great choice for both students and professionals.
- Head of Marketing/VP Marketing/CMO (Chief Marketing Officer): While these are profiles, which are not technically digital marketing profiles, it’s important to note that any marketer who wants to rise to these top positions MUST know digital marketing really well.
Professionals at these positions are unlikely to play a direct role in digital marketing campaigns execution but will play a very critical role in defining integrated marketing strategy, plan resources (both internal and external), define metrics and analyze performance for continuous improvement.
Skills Required for a Successful Digital Marketing Career
In addition to the technical skills (e.g. about SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing), following are the skills you would need to be a successful Digital Marketing professional. To the degree one has these skills to the same degree one can expect success & growth as a digital marketer.
- Creativity: Given the amount of content & conversations on digital medium, creativity plays an important role in differentiating a brand among its peers.
- Analytical Ability: Given measurability is one of the key strengths required, analytical skills are critical to be a successful digital marketer.
- Communication Skills: For most of the profiles in this domain, good communication skills especially written communication are important. In absence of good communication, one has to rely on an external resource and that’s not always feasible & is inefficient.
- Quest for Learning: Given the dynamic nature of digital media, one has to be open and should be hungry to learn newer trends & skills to move ahead of others.
- Passion for Digital Media: Digital Marketing professionals who are genuinely passionate about digital media will surely see more success coming their way in terms of results of their campaign and their career growth.
- Multitasking: Most of the internet campaigns involve multiple digital media channels and continuous activities. In order to successfully manage this spread of online marketing campaigns, multitasking is another important skill for any digital marketer.
- Networking: As shared earlier, Quest for Learning is a desired attitude in any digital marketing professional. Networking skills (especially online) play an important role for any digital marketer to stay abreast about latest trends & techniques in internet marketing.
- Comfort with Technology: While knowledge or experience of technology is not required for a digital marketer, one’s comfort with technology and associated changes is another important element for success in online marketing.
- Willingness to Experiment: Digital Marketing is an evolving field and there are no defined rules for success. One’s willingness and ability to experiment in digital marketing also plays an important role in determining the success of such campaigns.
How to Land your Dream Digital Marketing Job in 2017?
You will find this infographic about finding your dream digital marketing job in 2017 useful.
Here is a list of various resources you could be interested in related to building career in this industry. Let me know through the comments sections if you’ve a suggestion for any other important resource I should have listed.
- Job Sites: You should check following online marketing internship sites – LinkedIn, Naukri, Shine, iimjobs, Social Samosa, Jobswitch, Digital Defynd. You can also check Top Digital Marketing Jobs and apply for the suitable one.
- Internship Sites: You should check following digital marketing internship sites – Letsintern, Internshala, Twenty19
- Freelancing Sites: You should check following digital marketing freelancing sites – Upwork, Guru.com, Freelancer.in
- Books: Since internet marketing is a dynamic field, there’s no book which is about tactical aspects (e.g. digital media channel related) remains relevant beyond few months. However, we recommend you to read these 10 Must Read Digital Marketing Books which cover foundational skills to be a successful digital marketer.
- Tools: Check this Top 10 Digital Marketing Tools list for most recommended tools. You should also check these Digital Marketing Tools Guides for tools related to specific aspects such as SEO Tools Guide, SEM Tools Guide.
- Webinars: You should check these over 100 Digital Marketing Webinars led by Industry Experts.
- Discussion Forum: If you need any support related to internet marketing, you can ask your query at Ask Digital Vidya, your online digital marketing helpline. You will find a number of community members and digital marketing mentors including myself committed to help you grow through digital marketing.
FAQs about Digital Marketing Career
Given the number of questions asked on this blog, I thought of creating a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for your benefit:
- Do I need to know technology to be successful Digital Marketing professional?: This is one of the most frequently asked questions about career in digital marketing. To be successful as a digital marketer, you don’t need to know technology. However, if you know basics of HTML, it will be useful.
- How important are communication skills?: For most of the positions e.g. Social Media Marketing, SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, good communication skills especially written English is necessary. Here’s a list of top 25 grammatical mistakes one should avoid by HubSpot.
- Should I look for internationally recognized Digital Marketing certification?: Given the fact that this industry is still evolving and hands-on/practical skills are most important, one should not worry too much about the kind of certification. For the same reason, industry certifications like HubSpot Inbound Marketing, Google AdWords & Analytics doesn’t carry any significant weight.
- Do I need to be a graduate?: While your educational qualification may play a role in terms of your career growth in digital marketing especially in large corporations, it’s not a major factor for success herein. Interestingly, brands & agencies who ask for MBA as a pre-requisite for digital marketing profiles actually end up missing some great talent.
- Should I specialize in areas such as SEO/SEM or learn entire Digital Marketing?: At current stage of the industry and for the reason that various digital marketing avenues contribute to the success of others (e.g. Social Media plays a role to improve SEO rankings), I don’t recommend you start your career by looking specialization.
- I am already an SEO expert. Should I learn other aspects in digital marketing?: For the reason mentioned above, a digital marketing professional such as SEO/SEM/Social Media Marketing/Email Marketing expert must broader his/her horizon to be able to rise to senior job roles in this particular industry.
Other Advantages of a Career in Digital Marketing
While above mentioned statistics and trends speak about the opportunity of building a rewarding career in this growing industry, what’s more fascinating is the excitement related to job profiles in Digital Marketing. Here’s a cartoon I’d created to capture the same:
You will also find this recording of my session on Career Opportunities in Digital Marketing during Career Cafe show on Lok Sabha TV useful.
Are you excited to build a rewarding career in this booming industry? Master Digital Marketing through our Digital Marketing Certification course. Start with our upcoming free online orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth.