10 digital marketing skills you must have

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Digital Marketing is a blend of creativity, psychology and, what makes it unique from all other offline mediums is real-time data. However, to ace digital marketing you need to have a blend of various skills which sit at the intersection of marketing, product, data, and tech.

1. Understanding marketing fundamentals

Now, this is an area which most digital marketers ignore. Understanding the marketing fundamentals means understanding the entire consumer decision journey. Understanding how a consumer thinks and buys a product. For example, the stages a consumer goes through while buying a product include awareness, consideration, and purchase.

Across each of these stages, the consumer goes through a complex thought process. It’s important as a marketer to understand the consumer at each of these stages, which we like to call the funnel.

2. & 3. Acing advertising channels

The first set of channels are the paid advertising channels. There are multiple paid advertising channels across the funnel: Facebook, Google, Remarketing, Email, Display, and many more buzzwords which you would have heard.

The second set of channels are the organic channels, which are the free channels. SEO, Content, Social, PR. All these channels are channels which you need to master for you to get free traffic on your website.

4. Understanding channel strategy

Now the next thing here is understanding the channel strategy. As a digital marketer you need to know which channels are expensive but at the same time will get you more results. While there must be some channels which are not expensive but give you the needed results, there might be some other channels which are really expensive but at the same time, they don’t have any ROI.

So these are the 3-4 pillars you need to understand for you to make a robust digital marketing strategy. If you want to go from a digital marketer to digital head, this is the most important skill required.

5. Communication

Communication is the X Factor in your digital marketing journey. You need to be an awesome communicator to become an awesome digital marketer.

Let’s take an example here of Nike. What do you see on Nike hoardings when you go out? It’ll shout out loud, saying ‘Just Do It’. What do you see advertised on the Internet? They will advertise their content. They’ll advertise fitness. They will evangelize running.

What do you see when you go into the Nike stores? The most comfortable soles ever made. You see the difference here? Top of the funnel Nike talks about Just Doing It. Mid-funnel they talk about athleticism, fitness. Bottom of the funnel they talk about the actual product. This is how you need to think as a digital marketer. Different communication layers at different levels of the consumer journey.

6. Data

Data is the biggest tool in your arsenal on your journey to becoming a digital marketer.

First off, you need to understand where your data lies – there are multiple sources where your data will reside. It will reside in your Google Analytics. It will reside in CRM. It will reside with the sales team. There are many places where your data is being distributed and is present.

As a marketer, you need to know where is the data which you’re looking for. Secondly, what data are you looking for? You need to be sure of the matrices you want to track and the points you want to capture. And number 3, once you get this data, the biggest thing of all is knowing how to analyze this data. What are the insights you derive from this data?

7. Technical skills

This is an area where most marketers struggle. For every small thing, you need to go back to your Engineering and Technology teams. For example, if you need to make a landing page you will have to go back to your designer to make the design of the page, to your front-end developer to make the HTML of the page, and to the engineering manager to develop the back-end for the page.

Now, if you are dependent on all these teams, it will take a lot of time for you to deliver a project. Hence, it’s important that you become self-dependent and learn basic technical skills such as CSF, HTML WordPress, SQL, etc., and it will take you a long way in your digital marketing journey.

8. Product marketing

When you read product marketing, you probably thought that this is not what digital marketing is all about, right? But think about it, what are you marketing at the end of the day? You are marketing a product. Hence it’s important that you understand the packaging of the product and the communication around the product as well.

You need to understand the four Ps of marketing which is related to the product, which are the product features, price, place and promotion. If, as a digital marketer, you understand the product this well, it’ll really help you in making your campaign successful and outlast the other marketers.

9. Project management

Again, you would have heard project management is not a skill I need as a marketer. Have you ever thought how much time it takes for you to interact with your peers, conduct meetings, getting things done, getting all the operational stuff done when you are launching a campaign or running a campaign?

It’s important that you understand the basics of project management, set your priorities right, know how to use your time, know how to interact with people, and get the most out of it. As a marketer, this would be another tool in your kit.

10. (Bonus) Experimentation and passion

As a digital marketer, you need to be really curious. You need to do a lot of experiments and you need to be very passionate about digital marketing. Digital marketing changes so much in no time that you need to make sure that you learn everything and keep learning.

Hence, you need to be really passionate about it, you need to keep learning newer channels as they come. Plus, you need to really experiment with a whole lot of things, keep experimenting, keep doing things, and keep learning from them, but with control.


I hope you found this article useful.

This is written by TapChief Expert, Anshul Khandelwal, and was originally published on his LinkedIn page here. Anshul is a graduate from IIM Kozhikode and has a degree in Marketing from  Bocconni University, Milan, Italy. He was VP of Marketing at Blue Stone, and Head of Marketing at UpGrad. He is currently heading Marketing and Growth at Little Black Blue (LBB). To schedule a call with Anshul, click here.

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