How to get a career in digital marketing

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Digital Marketing Malarkey 101

Digital marketing, is marketing done digitally, right? It’s what arrives in our inbox and pops up in our Twitter feeds. But it’s hard to sum up in a succinct and pithy way.  Good old Wikipedia defines it as: “an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into consumers.” Informative, sure. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

To that I would add: digital marketing uses digital technology as the critical part of marketing activity. It helps us better understand customers and markets what’s more for many organisations it is now the primary way they communicate.

Over my twenty years experience in marketing, I have seen huge changes in what ‘digital marketing’ means, in the tools we have at our disposal and the campaigns we are able to run. In the last two decades the technology has gotten smarter and the way we interact with it has changed radically. There was a time, believe it or not, when an entire marketing team would share a single computer. Now that would be utter ridiculous.

One thing I know for certain is that industry is still evolving which is why it needs fresh blood, in the shape of new graduates, and not just for their excellent tea making skills but to come up with new ideas and see new possibilities. The industry needs people who are brave, digitally-skilled, inquisitive and innovative – all traits that are found in abundance in graduates. Working in an evolving industry you need to be imaginative. It’s not about doing things how they have always been done, it’s about experimentation, testing, learning and always asking how can we do this better. It’s exciting stuff.

But despite the industry being hungry for new talent and offering great career paths I often hear that graduates find getting their foot in the metaphorical marketing door, tricky and intimidating. If you have great ideas about how to help organisations communicated digitally then the industry wants to hear from you.

As someone looking to break in you need to get educated, get involved and network. You can educate yourself by doing a marketing course, or by reading up on the issues and trends affecting the industry in tiles such as the Marketing blog or Digital Marketing Magazine. You can get involved by attending events such as the DMA Fresh Blood. It is a recurring event specially aimed at young people to enable them find out more about working digital and direct marketing.  These types of events are also a great place to network and meet people who are already working in the industry.

If you are serious about pursuing a career in digital marketing you need to include on your CV all your digital achievements. For example, if have you used social media for your degree work or personal projects, if you know how to attract followers and engage in conversations that drive action, promote causes or events or if you have blogged.  All of this shows you know how to think digitally. Secondly tap into your own network: do you have family or friends, or friends of friends who work in the industry? If so, talk to them about how they got their start and ask them for some pointers. Go to recruitment fairs and talk to those who are exhibiting at the fairs and find out what they are looking for. Finally make sure you are making the most of social media (and not just for selfies) it is after all a digital industry. Follow the companies you find interesting, if they are planning event or doing recruiting you can bet they will be posting about it on social.

By Steve Manser, Head of Marketing and Brand at Indicia

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