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Should I learn everything in Digital Marketing or only SEO, SEM or Social Media Marketing?

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  • You are new to the world of digital marketing and not sure what skills are important to build a successful career in digital marketing.
  • You are an SEO (or SEM or Social Media Marketing…) professional and unsure of your future in digital marketing.
  • You are a business owner looking to grow your business using digital marketing but confused about the media you should choose.

These are few questions related to the choice of digital marketing skills and channels, our team is regularly asked. I thought of answering this question based on our 16+ years of digital marketing industry experience and of educating 20,000+ participants in our digital marketing course.

For the benefit of newbie’s, I want to clarify that Digital Marketing is an umbrella term which comprises of various areas such as Social Media Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), Email Marketing.

Let me begin with the answer: Yes, you should learn digital marketing in its entirety vs acquiring skills in specific areas such as SEO, SEM, Social Media, Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Web Analytics. There are multiple reasons as listed below:

1.) Cross-leverage: There’s huge synergy and dependency between various digital media channels. For example, if you want to maximize the value of your SEO efforts, your knowledge of Social Media Marketing will play a role as your content shared on Social Media positively impacts your SEO Rankings.Similarly, if you do really well in generating significant amount of traffic and leads through SEO or SEM or Social Media Marketing, your skills in Email Marketing and Inbound Marketing can help you multiply the value of that reach & leads by converting them to real customers. Likewise, Web Analytics is a foundational skill every digital marketing professional should have.

2.) Faster Career Growth: The kind of responsibilities and compensation you are going to get in digital marketing is a function of value you are adding to the organization. If you know a specific digital media channel skills (e.g. SEO) vs you’ve a grip on the entire world of digital marketing, your ability to contribute will vary and accordingly you will see a difference in rate of your career growth.The importance of knowing various aspects of digital marketing is super-critical for senior positions.The only situation I see a value in specialization is when you are able to justify your mastery in a specific domain (e.g. SEO) when you are able to manage large teams (e.g. at large digital marketing agencies) or lead a really large & complicated project (e.g. in really large internet based companies such as Amazon). However, such opportunities are very limited in nature.

3.) Dynamic nature of Digital Media: Digital Marketing is undoubtedly one of the dynamic industries today. In last 16+ years, we’ve seen changing importance of various channels. For e.g. SEO was extremely popular and valuable from early 2000 to 2009. Social Media Marketing became buzzword in 2010 and then SEO got his respect back after the popularity of Internet-based businesses.

We started Digital Vidya with a 2-day Social Media Marketing Workshop in 2009 and continued to focus on it till 2011 before we started offering digital marketing training programs in which we started to cover other aspects of digital marketing. By staying focused on specific skills in digital marketing, you run a risk of losing your value in the industry. I am sharing this based on a number of people we’ve directly worked with. For e.g., a digital marketing professional with over 10 years of SEO experience and a professional with over 7 years of Social Media Marketing experience are struggling to grow in their career as didn’t expand their skill set.

For the same reason, around 10-15% participants of CDMM program are digital marketing professionals, who want to grow in their career by expanding their skill set.

It’s not a co-incidence that even though we offer individual certifications (e.g. SEO Course, Social Media Course), 99%+ of our course participants choose CDMM Program to build mastery in Digital Marketing for their career or business growth.

In addition to learning these core technical skills, you should check out my previous article ‘Top 10 Skills You Require for Success in Digital Marketing’, I authored for Economic Times.

I hope these viewpoints and experiences support you in making an informed choice. If you differ with what I’ve mentioned here or would like to share any similar experience, please do so in the comments section. Also, feel free to ask any question you may have about acquiring digital marketing skills.

You are welcome to interact with me live in our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth.

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