Digital marketing is not the future of marketing; it’s what marketing is – NOW. As Brad Jakeman, PepsiCo’s global beverage president, says, “There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing – most of which happens to be digital.” (Source)
Just think about it. For better or for worst, people are addicted to their smart-phone and other device/forms of digital media, communication, and engagement. As a marketer, you need to go where your audience is, and have a strong presence there as well as a most engaging and compelling existence. Thus, if you want to capture an audience, digital should be your primary marketing effort.
The evolution of companies’ digital marketing strategy and presence has been slow. Clearly, audience behavior of digital usage has outpaced companies’ digital marketing presence. From a strategic brand perspective, this is pitiful. You always want to be ahead of your audience by delivering innovation that affects their behavior in a positive way and creates bias to your brand.
Looking at the current job market for digital positions, things are still very segmented. Independent of management level, you see positions in social management, SEO, SEM, digital paid media, email, and a host of other specialty skill sets. And that is the main point here as it relates to the evolution of digital marketing jobs. These are skill sets. I would argue that they should not be specific job positions.
Lets take a second look at the objectives of marketing. Whether or not the target audience traverses sequentially through the sales marketing funnel or not, marketers should aim to create brand awareness, consideration, sales/conversion, and post sale loyalty and advocacy. These are marketing objectives.
When we look at digital marketing positions, can we deduce that a specific skill set position produces the marketing objectives in an orchestrated manner? I would argue no.
It is for that reason that I strongly suggest that digital marketing positions must evolve. The positions that are defined today are in fact skills sets. They should not be specific positions. They do not define an all-encompassing marketing responsibility.
So this perspective has direct ramifications on both job seekers and hiring companies. For job seekers … even if you have a current position in a specific digital marketing skill set, work to expand your knowledge and experience. Take it upon yourself, even if your company does not define that as part of your job description. Make sure your skills continuously grow and that you remain a desired job candidate, even if you are very happy in your current solution.
For hiring companies … I ask one simple question – Do you have a marketing leader that truly understands the alignment of marketing objectives and digital implementation? I have seen far too many “marketing leaders” attempting to integrate and orchestrate digital marketing and not understand how various implementations align to marketing objectives. They merely “wing it” as they are expected and without fully understanding how each channel and digital implementation has significance to marketing objectives. Unfortunately some marketing leaders leave some specific digital implementations to junior personnel without understanding how the specific digital implementation relates to marketing objectives. These marketing leaders know they need to do social, SEO, and other digital tasks, but are not sure how these practices fully integrate in their marketing strategy and plans to produce positive empirical results.
In summary, both job seekers and employers should start working on job descriptions and responsibilities across the broad spectrum of digital marketing. Yes, this means that job positions need to cover a broader depth of skill sets and at the same time need to remain deep in experience of specific skills sets. The outcome of this digital marketing evolution will produces greater measurable brand results.
Make It Happen,