16 must-haves for any digital marketer

We had a fascinating thread in our Team Digiterati Facebook Group recently when principal lecturer and course leader (Sarah Williams) from the University of Wolverhampton asked for some professional input on developing a new marketing management curriculum.

Here are the responses – if you are putting together a job description or person specification for any digital marketing role these a worth a look!

  1. The principles of customer journey and sales funnel, and then how the different marketing approaches and tactics (digital and non digital) can be mapped to them. A variety of real-life examples would be ideal as it brings it life. I reckon this is a really foundational piece that many still don’t ‘get’.
  2. Systems thinking – ability to recognize interdependencies
  3. Adaptability to use different tools and systems – comfortable with underlying principles so this knowledge can transfer to different contexts.
  4. Actual first hand experience of running social media as a brand/organisation rather than simply consuming it as a user.
  5. Demonstrating an in-depth understanding of chosen approaches rather than a surface awareness of many.
  6. Ability to use selected technologies well whether that be setting up a website, creating a podcast, editing videos or whatever.
  7. Integrating basic principles of SEO to online content.
  8. A learning attitude -ability to listen to others to learn from them, be open to learning in informal settings, and are open to sharing in a team..
  9. An understand of how offline activity can impact online and visa versa.
  10. Understand marketing (and before that, business) strategy – any digital marketing must be planned from meeting the specific objectives of the organisation.
  11. Being knowledgable about latest tools and technologies (especially lead magnets and funnels and testing methodologies )
  12. The crucial understanding of success variables – creative execution, copy and audience targeting
  13. How to use digital advertising cost effectively (looks easy but is complex and needs practice, learning etc)
  14. Business model canvas principles
  15. Analytics – not puking numbers on to a spreadsheet and feeling better about the world – actual analysis, insights and action, including MVT, A/B testing, channel mapping, journey mapping and attribution.
  16. Using data to make decisions

Thanks to all those that contributed to the original thread. I hope I have edited your points accurately.

Do let me know in the comments below if you have other must-haves that you would like to add to the list.

graduate digital marketing skills

A few more verbatim comments that are good to chew over too:

“I agree with oodles of points above, stand-out ones being pain points, personas, digital and non-digital working hand in hand, the customer journey, the old fashioned what, who, why, how & when … and the actual using the tools bit .. dear me, I was surprised last year when I got a call from two Marketing students at Malaga University asking me to teach them how to use Instagram ‘the business way’ for the pop-up Skate Board Park business they were creating for part of their course. Putting it in to context I am 50 years young, my nickname is #CyberGran (yes I am an actual Grandma) and I generally teach local women in business how to use social media here on the Costa del Sol where I live, so hanging out with the lads in hoodies using hashtags such as #helmetsb4hospitalswas an eye opener. If you can find a way of bringing to the students the insights from those of us that work on the coal-face of social media/digital marketing, plus give them the hands on skill that these two now have (and by the way are flying with their business), then when they are qualified they will be so much more employable and useful in general.”
[Fiona Catchpowle]

“I see so much about creating content, social media platforms and activities etc and sometimes social media managers complaining about being challenged by clients over their value, that it’s crucial when getting the first job or side-hustle.. to really know how to match execution to desired, measurable outcomes.. objectives of building brands, generating new customer leads, conversion, retention and long term repeat customers, creating loyalty etc all should be clearly understood.. the old fashioned what, who, why, how & when is often forgotten…”
[Rob Waddell]

“I very much agree with what Rob said about the need for strategic know how. I see this alot with social media, there is no sense of purpose or audience personas in what is being posted….On the other side of things, as someone who has worked with digital marketing interns, there is often a lack of practical experience with key tools of the trade. In my view every digital marketing graduate should have a good grip on google analytics and conversion goals, understand what copy sells, and be able to create a WordPress blog or website, optimise it for SEO, send mailchimp campaigns and set auto responders, use social listening and scheduling tools, use canva and understand the relevant legal aspects… Eg running competitions on facebook, data protection. I don’t want much do I?!!!”
[Rachel Till]

So good that an academic organisation are looking for professional advice from those who do this stuff day in day out, as well as recruiting and providing on-the-job training to new graduates. I’ve not looked to see how the Chartered Institute of Marketing or IDM digital syllabi match up with these but as a former trainer and examiner I can certainly say that these more day-to-day aspects were what students were hoping to learn.

junior digital marketer skills

What are digital employers looking for?

I had posed a similar question previously asking what digital employers are looking for in junior digital roles. I have compiled these into 10 competencies:

  1. Don’t just say what you are going to do. Show me how you will monitor how it is successful
  2. Understand WHO you are writing for
  3. That you can channel a voice of your brand, rather than just yourself
  4. Understand not just the channels you and your organisation use but the channels your customers are in
  5. The importance these days of paid advertising in social
  6. Can you come up with ideas that engage the audience – video, infographics etc
  7. That you integrate the ‘dull’ stuff like link to strategy, vision and values, KPIs
  8. That you may not always be working with people that understand social. You will need to have the data, examples and arguments to back it all up
  9. That you have an insatiable hunger for conversions
  10. That you understand how social integrates with the rest of the marketing mix
Marie Page

About Marie Page

Marie Page is one of the UK’s leading Facebook marketing experts. She is a founding partner of digital marketing consultancy The Digiterati and the Digiterati Academy e-learning portal for marketers and entrepreneurs. Her award-winning Master's Dissertation was the culmination of three years' academic research into Facebook that resulted in a book (and companion online course) 'Winning at Facebook Marketing with Zero Budget' that became an Amazon bestseller. Marie's work on the Facebook News Feed algorithm was featured in The Huffington Post. A recognised thought leader on social media, Marie is often approached by journalists for comment in articles such as this Telegraph article. She was also interviewed for ITV's Tonight show on Facebook privacy issues in relation to advertising. Marie is a regular guest on digital marketing blogs and podcasts including Social Media Examiner and Smart Insights. In 2018 she is speaking at Brighton SEO, Europe's biggest search and marketing conference. Marie is also author of two Smart Insights books: 'Smarter Guide to Facebook Marketing', now in its fourth edition, and 'Facebook Ads Guide', both edited by Dr Dave Chaffey. Marie is also a part time yoga teacher.