Every digital marketer should be able to do the most elementary reporting on their work. Digital marketers don’t need to itemize on all business finances, all the current digital channels utilized and map these together to produce a customer journey road map with every customer touch-point highlighted with a metric. Digital marketers should be able to tell their colleagues or clients how a piece of work they implemented a month ago is performing.
If they can’t, or don’t want to, how do they expect to understand their value to their role? If a digital marketer cannot prove their work is achieving success and contributing to the most fundamental of digital marketing and business goals, they will need to find it out, and that is consuming valuable time for both colleagues and clients.
It might be illogical to ask an email marketing specialist to have a deep set of on-site SEO skills or the ability to code on basic websites, yet it is perfectly reasonable to ask any digital marketer whether they can access and analyse analytics and be able to provide feedback and report on digital marketing metrics.
SO HERE ARE 6 SKILLS DIGITAL MARKETERS NEED TO MASTER
1) FOCUS ON DIGITAL MARKETING ANALYTICS
IDC predicts that by 2025, the total amount of data created worldwide will reach 163 zettabytes, a ten-fold increase from 2017. This boom in data growth continues a multi-year trend and parallels the explosion of marketing technology solutions seen in Scott Brinker’s infographic, many of which generate analytics.
The point of digital marketing analytics
— different from “web analytics
” which focus on website performance — is to reveal the performance and ROI of all your digital marketing channels and activities. This effort includes social media, email marketing, blogs, SEO and so on. Digital marketing analytics can tell you how each channel performs relative to the others, track customers throughout the buyer’s journey, and even attribute specific marketing activities to revenue. And with the overwhelming number of marketing technology solutions available, you can now track analytics on almost anything. Given this context, here’s a short list of digital marketing analytics-related skills you’ll need to have somewhere on your team:
Fluency with emerging analytics: Existing analytics platforms will evolve and new solutions will emerge. To stay current with what’s possible, you’ll want your digital marketers to be fluent with the latest digital marketing analytics.
Business acumen: A strong digital marketer will know how to stay focused on business goals and not get lost in the data. That means having the business acumen to know which analytics are meaningful and actionable. Most importantly, they should know how to use analytics to advance your business objectives.
Data wrangling: Also known as “data munging,” this is the process of transforming and mapping data from a raw form into another format so it can be used for other downstream purposes, such as analytics. These skills come out of data science and traditionally belonged to data scientists. But as digital marketing becomes increasingly data- and analytics-driven, you’ll want people with these skills.
Storytelling with data
: Storytelling usually evokes word mastery but the rise of data visualization
means data can now play a bigger, more visual role in any story you want to tell. The key for analytics savvy digital marketers is figuring out how to present data visually so that people who are not particularly great at immediately grasping the meaning of graphs and data can also see the story in the numbers.
Proficiency with unstructured data: Unstructured data are— data that isn’t stored in a database row or column — has played a big part in the current data boom. That’s because so much of today’s data is created on social media platforms and in other unstructured formats. Think tweets, Facebook posts, and comments, or even chat messages with a call center representative. As more digital marketing campaigns move to social media, more of your customer intelligence will take the form of unstructured data. Moving forward, proficiency with unstructured data will be key. You’ll want digital marketers who can organize and understand unstructured data and know how to combine and correlate it with structured data for even greater insight.
2) VIDEO FLUENCY
It’s not news that video is now a relevant component of digital marketing. But its role in the marketing mix has changed from supporting actors to leading roles. Based on customer sentiment, brands should use video as a strategic asset throughout the buyer’s journey, rather than awareness alone, which is how many organizations use video.
According to Forbes, 90% of customers report that video helps them make buying decisions and 64% say video makes them more likely to buy. If that’s not compelling enough, research shows that video keeps people on pages longer and can increase conversions by up to 80%.
So, what are the necessary skills to capitalize on video? Assuming you’re not planning to hire a team of video professionals, your best strategy could be to make sure your digital marketing teams know why and when to use video, how to hire and manage outside video vendors, and how to measure a video’s performance once it’s on the market.
At a minimum, your teams should be familiar with the different types of video and the various production requirements for each, as well as the variable costs that drive video budgets. For instance, you’ll want your digital marketers to understand the differences in the process and resources required to produce a short documentary-style interview as opposed to a scripted video with extensive art direction. This will give your teams the insight they need to effectively scope and plan videos according to your marketing goals, timeline, and available budget.
And since videos are now highly measurable, your digital marketing teams should be fluent with the range of video metrics and the tools now available. YouTube offers a solid baseline of metrics like the number of views, watch time, playback locations, and audience retention (exactly where in your video people stop watching), as well as audience demographic data, traffic sources (where your audience came from) and where viewers are sharing your video. More advanced video platforms make it possible to embed measurable functionality into your video, such as in-video purchasing, click to call, add-to-cart widgets, custom forms and more. Understanding how to implement and measure these features will be essential as video plays a bigger part in influencing audience behavior.
3) SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRENGTH
Social media marketing drives targeted web traffic, boosts your website’s search engine rankings, and by providing an interactive platform, can help you better engage and understand your audience.
According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of US adults are on Facebook, 78% of those 18 −24 are on Instagram, and 37% of those 65 and older are on some social media platform. And social media’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. Hootsuite reports year-over-year social media growth of 13% in the United States (download report). Globally, 28% of Internet users go to social for product research according to Global Web Index.
A digital marketing team spearheading social campaigns will require a variety of skills. Most importantly, you’ll want people who are savvy about the capabilities that social platforms offer. In the wake of “fake news” scandals involving the 2016 U.S. presidential election, social platforms are evolving and changing what user data they make available. You’ll also want strategic thinkers, masters of organization, and skilled creatives and writers, all of whom must be curious and interested in the latest social technologies and trends.
Social media marketing is an evolving practice that strategists will need to know what platforms are performing best and why. They’ll also need the quantitative skills to review and make sense of platform analytics and data, as well as the marketing sense to translate those findings for creatives to dream up new content.
Creatives — designers and writers alike — will have to develop and pitch lots of ideas for social content and engagement. Not surprisingly, this will require proficiency with industry-standard creative tools, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. And since so much of social media is driven by consumer trends, they’ll need to know their target audiences’ tastes and preferences — from their favorite entertainers to clothing styles.
Project managers who plan, schedule and post social content will need the organizational chops to track and manage campaigns across different platforms.
4) PAY PER CLICK (GOOGLE OR BING ADS)
Paid search is primarily focused on Google Ads, and if your business or clients are located in North America, then you can use Bing Ads. Along with CRO and SEO
, this skill is imperative to ensure that a firm or a client’s ROI
do not exceed their ad budget. Although paid social ads also PPC
, they tend to be considered part of social media marketing.
5) FRONT-END DEVELOPER
Having in-house resources to make more code-based technical changes to the website, or merely to run CRO
tests are becoming a vital cog in the digital marketing machine. Thus, reducing reaction time when issues arise or reduce the reliance on external development agencies.
6) COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Although it could be construed as the same as social media, a community management skill is where a marketer is superb at responding to comments on social media platforms and in online forums. Trying to write a professional response, yet not divulging personal customer information and knowing it can be seen publicly, often with a limited character limit is tougher than you would initially think. Invaluable for companies and brands who are susceptible to online customer feedback.
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