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Marketing is a term used to broadly cover many aspects of a company's brand, advertising and web content strategies. Generally, it involves how a product or service is sold. The function identifies customer needs, investigates how to meet them and then evaluates the best way to generate profit. Marketing reflects the ever-changing business environment in which it works. The constant advances in information technology, including the Internet, and the demand for ever-more segmented markets have led to more sophisticated collection and analysis of data about existing and potential customers. New skills in customer relationship management (CRM) are often required of professional marketers, and such skills can offer an advantage to those wishing to begin a digital marketing graduate career.

Digital marketers have a primary focus on developing new ways and concepts of organising a company’s multimodal communication channels and strategies. Their focus is to improve e-communications to increase brand awareness across their intended client base whilst increasing new client traffic to their websites and other forms of marketing. A main focus of digital advertising, is to drive relevant and profitable traffic.

Their aim is to improve the chances of their product reaching the consumer.

Digital marketing covers several areas including:

  • Social Media Marketing: creating a distinct online presence, aiming to attract a high number of internet followers through the likes of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc...
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): is the term used to define the development of strategies which increase the number of visitors to a site, by gaining a higher position within a search engine. The higher the organisation ranks for relevant search terms, the more likely they are to increase their online traffic.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigners: individuals associated with this area of digital marketing are focused on developing online campaigns that are advertised alongside non-paid search results. PPC campaigners would aim to gain more clicks than non-paid advertisements.
  • Mobile Marketing: a division focused on app-based, in game, location or SMS marketing.
  • Affiliate Marketing: where a business allows other businesses or individuals (usually students) to sell their products either through another website or through personal interaction. Affiliates are paid commission for every customer that signs up to a website, for example.

Many digital marketers work across some or all aspects of digital marketing, with many crossing over within a business.

Average Digital Marketing Graduate Salary

Career Path

Digital marketers often receive on-the-job training in the marketing tools that the specific company that they work for uses. Many of these resources vary but some that are commonly used include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Insights
  • Adobe Creative Suite for online banner design
  • Google AdWords for PPC campaigns
  • MailChimp for email marketing

Many large companies offer extensive training schemes on the marketing tools that they use, with some also providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes, in addition to in-house training in order to develop and nurture specific skills required for a role.

Professional qualifications may also be financially supported by a company if they are practical for the role. The following courses may be undertaken, offered by Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM):

  • CAM Level 4 Diploma in Digital Marketing
  • Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing (Digital)
  • Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing (Digital)
  • GAP (Google AdWords Practitioner) Courses (Digital Advertising)

The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) also provide qualifications in:

  • Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing
  • Professional Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing

For a full list of available qualifications see IDM: Professional Marketing Qualifications.

If an individual were to undertake a position within a smaller company, then it is likely that training would be more intensive and wider focused than a larger company with more people working collectively across their digital marketing team. Many graduates find that working for a smaller company is sometimes more beneficial than a larger company’s graduate scheme, as they are able to learn more about the wider industry rather than specific areas. Within agencies, typically you will specialise as they tend to be structured via specialist teams.

As a graduate, an immediate prospect would be dependent on the size of the company. Due to the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of the digital marketing sector, the more experience you gain, the more likely you are to progress into a more senior role. Starting positions for a digital marketing graduate career generally include a junior role, such as a digital marketing assistant with a potential progression into an executive, coordinator or managerial position. Progression generally follows the pattern of two to five years, especially if you work for a company that offers on-the-job training and encourages the attainment of a professional qualification in the field.

It is becoming increasingly more common for a further qualification being needed to progress into more senior roles.

Qualifications and Skills Needed

What proportion of candidates as a percent we place into Digital Marketing graduate careers and the typical qualities graduate employers look for.

GRB Placements for Digital Marketing by Degree

Typical Candidate Attributes

Whilst digital marketing is open to all graduates, there are specific disciplines that are particularly useful:

  • Advertising
  • Media and Communications
  • Creative design
  • E-business
  • Journalism
  • Marketing

The industry generally requires a 2:1, with a need for flexibility in terms of your geographical location due to the competitive nature of the role. Usually an HND or foundation degree needs to be supplemented with substantial and relevant experience. If you do not have a related degree, then it is likely that you will need to demonstrate a genuine interest in the industry of digital marketing with work experience and/or a strong personal online profile such as a blog, website or connections and interactions across several social media platforms.

Postgraduate qualifications in digital marketing, whilst not being essential, may be helpful for expanding your skills and knowledge particularly if you have a non-related first degree.

Skills necessary may include:

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Able to work independently and flexibly
  • Capable of prioritising tasks across multiple projects
  • Excellent team work skills
  • Exceptional organisation skills
  • Creative and innovative ideas
  • Able to work under pressure and strict deadlines
  • Networking and analytical skills
  • Knowledge of existing and emerging social networking and platforms

Demonstration of the following skills is also essential:

  • Microsoft Office, especially Excel
  • Databases
  • Basic understanding of HTML and CSS
  • Search engines

Sources for Further Information

The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing
The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Creative Skill Set Courses