What is the Digital Marketing Career Progression?

digital marketing career progression

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing has taken on a life of its own. Mainly because it has evolved into a wide variety of different online digital marketing sectors that requires both new and well-seasoned marketing professionals to become savvier in this area to stay in the game.

The beginner digital marketers may find themselves trailing behind their well-seasoned predecessors, however, because most of them have come from the traditional marketing era and thus already have some foundational marketing principles under their belt. This experience would make it easier for them to transition into the digital marketing space.

This experience would make it easier for them to transition into the digital marketing space.

The well-seasoned marketing professionals have a greater understanding as to what takes place fundamentally when digital marketing strategies are implemented. For example, certain traditional marketing fundamentals such as:

1. The 4 P’s of Marketing

•Price
•Product
•Placement
•Promotion

2. Need vs. Want
3. Branding
4. Reach vs. Frequency
5. Target Marketing & Market Segmentation

•Geographically
•Demographically

6. Marketing Messages and Media Outlets
7. Push vs. Pull Marketing Strategies
8.The stages of making buying and purchasing decisions and more.

These areas are considered the groundwork by which all other marketing activities are built upon.

These are just some of the traditional marketing fundamentals that can serve as great launching pad for anyone planning to enter into the digital marketing sector for the first time. Where a digital marketer ends up after becoming familiar with these principles will be based solely on the particular digital marketing industry chosen to establish a career.

Those who are just entering into the digital marketing space can certainly learn the ABC’s of digital marketing, without any fundamental knowledge of traditional marketing, but the well-seasoned marketing professionals from the old-school classic era will have somewhat of a leg up on those just entering into the digital marketing space for the first time.

Since the evolution of the Internet, digital marketing has found its way on a wide variety of online platforms. From areas such as newsfeed’s, Google Adwords, PPC, Affiliate Marketing, SEO Content Creation, Sales and Lead Generation, Social Media Management and more, a beginning digital marketing professional has several options that could become their area of specialty. However, although one may specialize in a particular area as indicated above, some form of traditional marketing should always be the foundation used first to establish a solid digital marketing career. It’s the best way for beginners to find their footing in the overall digital marketing industry indeed. This, of course, could be a matter of opinion, but if you think about it, it’s like beginning to read a story in the middle of the book – certain things will always be left out.

Having somewhat of a background in traditional marketing, and a general understanding of its principles builds so much more confidence and know-how than just diving into digital marketing alone.

So, to help shed some light on the digital marketing career path and to simplify the process, below are some strategies to assist you with taking logical, progressive steps towards a path that leads to a lasting career in digital marketing.

Hired Staffed or Independent Contractor

First of all, as with traditional marketing, as a digital marketing professional just entering into this sector, you have the opportunity to work with a hired staff for a marketing agency, or as an independent marketing professional.

As a hired staff, you would be an employee who answers primarily to your employer. Your company would be responsible for deducting taxes from your salary as well as paying additional payroll taxes. Additionally, if you incur expenses to do your job, it would be your employer’s primary responsibility to reimburse you for your expenses and bill the client accordingly. Basically, as an employee, you’d have fewer liability risks associated with your job assignment to generate an income as a digital marketing professional. Your digital marketing career path would typically be limited to the position titles that are offered at your place of employment.

As a digital marketing consultant or independent contractor, you would work directly with the client and would be responsible for things such as paying your own taxes, billing the client for your fees and reimbursable expenses, creating a proposal that spells out the scope of work, the terms, budget, and any other related information.

As an independent marketing professional, you’d also be responsible for marketing and advertising and performing the necessary steps to land your ideal client.

Your fee would likely be substantially higher than it would be if you were earning a salary as an employee. However, your risk would increase significantly.

As an independent marketing consultant, you’d also be responsible for the success or failure of nearly all aspects of your client’s marketing services based on your scope of work outlined in your service contract.

The Typical Digital Marketing Career Progression

Digital Marketing Career Path

This option can begin with an entry level position as a digital marketing professional, which can then progress to an online / display advertising professional, to an online/digital advertising account manager and sales director, then finally advancing to the head of online / display advertising.

This option can begin with an entry level position as a digital marketing professional, which can then progress to an online / display advertising professional, to an online/digital advertising account manager and sales director, then finally advancing to the head of online / display advertising.

Digital advertising typically involves advertising using Google AdWords, web banners, online ads, eBlasts and more.

Social Media Career Path

This career can begin as a social analyst professional (or equivalent) that advances to a social media executive. From there it could progress to social media/community manager, to the head of social / earned media. The final job title in this career path could promote to the head of digital media.

Social media management involves managing and overseeing content and post made on various social media platforms and making comments and post on social media platforms on behalf of your client. Some of the most popular platforms include:

• Facebook
• Twitter
• YouTube
• Pinterest
• Google+
• LinkedIn
• Periscope
• Instagram

Content Creation Career Path

Beginning with a degree or background in journalism, the next career move could consist of becoming a copywriter, followed by a content manager, to the head of content marketing, then finally progress to the head of digital content marketing and management.

Beginning with a degree or background in journalism, the next career move could consist of becoming a copywriter, followed by a content manager, to the head of content marketing, then finally progress to the head of digital content marketing and management.

Content creation involves writing content for articles, SEO, blogs, websites, newsletters, sales letters, product description, YouTube videos and more.

Digital Marketing Career Path

This career path could begin as a digital marketing executive, followed by a digital marketing and analytics manager, which could progress to the head of digital marketing.

Digital marketing, in general, involves a variety of areas, including monitoring, having analytical and tactical knowledge. As a digital marketing professional, you would also be responsible for monitoring multiple digital marketing campaigns, some of which may be running at the same time.

Additionally, you will be responsible for having the analytical and technical knowledge, so that you can provide your client with outcomes based on the initial goals that you set at the beginning of the marketing campaign. This allows you to analyze what has taken place as a result of the marketing campaign. Not only will it enable you to be able to provide a reporting of the responses received from current and potential customers, but you could also make recommendations to your client as to what to do differently to determine which specific campaigns are working and which are ineffective. At that point, you can choose to perform split tests or implement other strategies to ensure an effective campaign.

Digital Marketing Consultant

As a digital marketing consultant, you’d have an overall knowledge of all of the digital (and in some cases, traditional marketing aspects) that need to be implemented into the marketing plan.

You can choose to act as a consultant whereby you’d perform an initial analysis of the company’s overall marketing goals (or the lack thereof), followed by developing an overall marketing strategy containing action items to be added to the marketing schedule.

As a marketing consultant, you will be required to have an understanding of all of the overall digital marketing requirements. It will be your responsibility to oversee the project from beginning to end and make sure it is performed on time and within budget. If working with subcontractors, you’d also be responsible for ensuring that they meet the deadline and work within the budget as well.

So basically, the role of an independent digital marketing consultant is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and managing all of the marketing, advertising and promotional aspects of the client’s marketing campaign.

Preparing or having oversight of the marketing budget would be another responsibility of the marketing consultant. They would be responsible for making sure that each of the marketing activities has quotes from actual professionals to arrive at a realistic budget. Or, you can choose to take another approach and estimate how much the client wants to spend on the overall marketing campaign and then accept bids from those that are within the customer’s marketing budget. Nonetheless, once the budget is compiled (as a one year budget or a multi-year budget,), it will be your responsibility as a digital marketing consultant to oversee and manage the overall budget and the digital marketing activities contained in the digital marketing campaign.

Branding and brand awareness is also an area that the digital marketing consultant could perform to build brand and customer loyalty.

SEO Career Path

Beginning as an entry level communications professional, this career path could advance to an SEO analyst, then to a search / SEO manager, promoting to the head of SEO / Natural Search / SEM. The final progression could be head of SEO digital marketing.

This area involves creating keyword rich content that’s easily found on popular search engines.

PPC Marketing Career Path

This career path could begin as a digital marketing executive that promotes to a PPC manager. From that position a promotion to a digital PPC search manager could take place, ending as the head of PPC / paid search/media.

PPC Marketing involves the management and oversight of pay per click advertisements.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Career Path

Because this job requires the digital sales process, an entry-level position in marketing research and sales, digital sales and CRO specialist, head of CRO.

Conversion Rate Optimization means implementing systems and tools such as opt-in tools and landing pages in an effort to convert online leads to sales. It also involves testing real users to better understand human behavior during the sales process.

Affiliate Marketing Career Path

Beginning as a search and analytics executive, this position could eventually progress to a paid media executive. The next level of progression could be to advance to an affiliate/online partnerships manager, concluding with progressing to head of paid media/affiliates/online partnerships.

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products and services for a fee. These are done through sites such as ClickBank, Amazon, and others.

Salary and Earnings

Obviously, the salary associated with the digital marketing profession varies based on whether or not you are a hired employee or an independent marketing consultant.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics combines the digital marketing professional with traditional marketing managers, the median annual pay is just under $125,000 per year or $60.03 per hour. This salary is based on individuals having at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree, which is the entry level educational requirement. However, those working with minimal skills and little to no education would generate a lower pay of between $34,000 and $60,000 per year. This profession obviously has plenty of room for growth when beginning at the entry level position.

To Summarize, as a knowledgeable and highly skilled digital marketing professional, you should be very well aware of all of the various social media platforms that are available and be able to recommend which ones are best for your potential client and why.

There are always new social media platforms on the horizon. It would be up to you as a digital marketing consultant to find ways to keep abreast of the on-going changes that take place in the digital marketing industry so that you can add more value to your employer or client.