By Christina M. Nguyen
Whether you’re just graduating from school or you’re looking for a career transition, digital marketing is a field that has become increasingly important for many companies looking to acquire, engage, and convert new and existing customers. It’s a specialty that’s constantly changing and evolving – a combination of various hard skills and soft skills that require professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and understand their audience’s needs and desires.
Here are some quick tips that can help you move toward a career in the field:
1. Exhibit passion and an eagerness to learn
Marketing is a complex, creative field that requires those who work in it to stay up to date on the latest technologies and trends. Exhibiting an eagerness to learn new things and an ability to adapt to different environments and roles is critical to moving up and succeeding in the profession. Another key point is the importance of demonstrating that you’re curious and open to new things – in particular, that you continue to learn about those who aren’t similar to you in terms of race, gender or status. In the last few years, for example, marketing overall has seen a significant shift toward more inclusive messaging with diversity playing a prominent role for many brands – actions that have broadened the reach of many companies. Failing to understand other audiences outside your particular area or interest can limit your growth and opportunities in the field.
2. Learn the basics of marketing
Many people who work in marketing “fall into it” in the sense that they don’t necessarily study it in school. Perhaps they were great in social. Maybe they wrote blogs well. Or just happened to be self-taught on Google Analytics or Google Ads. Many in the profession know the “how” – the tools to use and perhaps the technical capabilities to do something. Those skills are certainly important but they don’t get at the “why” – in other words, why things work, or why to strategically approach something in a certain way. Being able to talk about the various stages of the marketing funnel, for example, or even being able to discuss how certain tactics fit with certain stages of a buyer’s journey are important skills that will help you stand out.
3. Learn about the different types of marketing positions
Not all marketing careers involve writing the funny slogans you hear in commercials. Many careers are actually quite technical, asking for math and analytical skills. After all, marketing nowadays is very much a data-driven field, with A/B testing and optimizations that are critical for companies to improve their effectiveness and overall ROI.
Here are a few typical marketing roles:
This is just a brief summary of the diversity of marketing roles. It’s important to take a deeper dive into whatever suits your abilities and goals.
4. Create your portfolio
A quality portfolio is big factor in your attractiveness as a candidate. With entry-level marketing jobs sometimes receiving hundreds of applications per position, you need some ways to stand out from the crowd. One way to receive that experience is to volunteer at particular organizations. While working for free may sound unattractive in the short term, it can pay dividends in the long run because it can give you valuable experience. Look for nonprofits or perhaps small businesses looking for volunteers. Or work for student organizations on campus if you’re in school, or friends or family with businesses. Whatever experience you can gain will be helpful in your marketing journey.
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