The online marketing job market is highly dynamic, to say the least. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for advertising, promotions and marketing managers was over 140 thousand dollars in 2020, while the job outlook for 2019-2029 is 6 percent, which is considerably faster than the average. Although it is clear that companies are actively recruiting digital marketing specialists, McKinley stresses that 44 percent of hiring managers report not being able to find sufficiently qualified applicants. This means that although it is still a candidate’s market, the rule applies solely to the candidates who really have the skills that employers are looking for.
In order to research this issue, we have analysed official studies and reports from McKinley and the American Marketing Association, as well as metadata from job search results on aggregators like Jooble for “online marketing specialist” and “digital marketing specialist”, to better understand which are the best skillsets and backgrounds for a successful long-term career in online marketing. Here is what we have discovered:
- Education levels do While it is true that anyone can find a great job in online marketing, regardless of their education level, even beginning with high school, it is also very true that the higher your education gets – the better your pay becomes. On average, employees with a Bachelor’s Degree get paid 40% more than those who have only graduated from high school, while employees with a Master’s Degree get another 25% boost to their monthly income. Investing in your own education always pays off in the long run.
- Analytics are the name of the game. Most employers list analytical skills as one of the top requirements to do the job right. As an online marketing specialist, you must be able to analyse loads of data, to identify the latest trends on the market and to devise strategies accordingly. Furthermore, you need to perform real-time analysis of the impact of each strategy, to be able to prioritize them in the most efficient manner.
- Great communication and interpersonal skills are mandatory. There is no digital marketing without communication, period. To be able to appeal to your target audience, you need to become a master of communication, whether you are doing it through visuals, messages or other mediums. Being able to efficiently communicate with your colleagues, partners and stakeholders is another prerequisite for success in online marketing.
- Decisions, decisions, decisions. To become a power player, you need to seriously work on your decision-making skills as well. On a daily basis, a digital marketing professional needs to pick and choose from the multitude of available tactics and strategies, in order to stay ahead of the game and ensure the best return on investment.
- The most in-demand online marketing specialization is Digital Advertising. According to Dentsu, global spending on digital advertising will reach a whopping 290 billion US dollars in 2021, a 10% increase from last year. Needless to say, this generous amount of spending has already created an unprecedented demand for digital ad professionals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, social media is by far the leading source of digital growth in advertising, with Facebook and Instagram still being the headliners. Furthermore, a return to pre-pandemic levels is expected in 2022, which means that the market will only continue expanding.
- Specializing in Content Marketing may not be such a great idea. Even though content marketing is certainly the most in-demand service pertaining to online marketing, it seems that most companies prefer having it outsourced to third parties. This means that your chances of getting employed full-time with this specialization are slim, when compared to other online marketing roles. Unless you plan to work for a digital marketing agency (or maybe to even start your own), you should at least give some consideration to other directions as well.
- Make sure that your online presence is flawless. As much as 80% of marketing companies or departments rely on agencies for their recruitment and hiring needs. Consequently, agencies are always scanning for potential stellar candidates, to perform well for their clients. The only way to get shortlisted for an exciting opportunity in digital marketing, is to have excellent professional profiles and portfolios uploaded to relevant websites. How can they hire you if they don’t see you?
In summary, the job market for digital marketing is certainly growing at a fast rate and will continue to do so in the next decade. The sheer amount of available vacancies will surely outpace the number of eligible candidates. However, if you want to ensure your success and career growth in this industry, you need to be quick on your feet, to work on your skillset and to specialize in the role that suits you best.