How to become a Digital Marketing Strategist

6 minutes   |  CAREER ADVICE, MARKETING

Gone are the days of planning newspaper advertorial spreads or billboards – Digital Marketing Strategists are here to determine how best to use the internet to reach the overarching business objectives of your organisation.

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Over 4 billion people are expected to be using the internet by 2020, including the introduction of 1 billion brand new users.1

It should come as no surprise then that the demand for careers like a Digital Marketing Strategist is steadily growing with 90% of all marketing functions relying on some form of digital marketing training.2

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What does a Digital Marketing Strategist do?

They are a mix of innovative, creative and tech-savvy individuals who have the ability to identify trends before they peak, and use those insights to inform international marketing strategy and campaigns for the brands they champion. The Digital Marketing Strategist combines all the relevant marketing channels and platforms – from SEO to paid media, to content – into one actionable plan that is then used to launchpad the marketing of a product or service.3

A Digital Marketing Strategist must have an aptitude for data, analysing results of their own campaigns and that of competitors, to determine outcomes and plans to move marketing efforts forward.

Perry Hewitt, Harvard University’s Chief Digital Officer, defines the eclectic role: “Digital is part technology, part content strategy, part marketing art — and science. People who very strongly identify with only one piece of the equation will struggle on a high-performing digital team.”

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What are the key responsibilities of a Digital Marketing Strategist?

If digital marketing strategy is your daily bread and butter, you can expect to have varied responsibilities dependent on the size of your company, marketing team, and business need for middle management. They might be required to serve multiple functions, or to focus in on a particular set.

The key responsibilities of Digital Marketing Strategist include making an impact in the following three key areas:

Digital marketing strategy
  • Set online marketing strategies that utilise all tools and channels, including emails, social media and paid media
  • Investigate the campaigns of competitors and understand best practice to inform online marketing benchmarks
  • Identify opportunities to use digital technology to enhance their overall marketing strategy

Want these skills?

SEO
  • Analyse web traffic and identify opportunities for improved SEO
  • Drive more traffic to your website and impact your business’s presence online by assisting with creating SEO-optimised content
  • Manage inbound marketing, PPC, AdWords and SEO strategies

Want these skills?

Brand management 
  • Implement various frameworks available for building brand equity and value
  • Continually assess the alignment of a brand to organisations strategic objectives
  • Recognise which digital marketing communication tools will be most effective in portraying a unique value proposition for your brand

Want these skills?

 

Digital marketing strategy 
  • Set online marketing strategies that utilise all tools and channels, including emails, social media and paid media
  • Investigate the campaigns of competitors and understand best practice to inform online marketing benchmarks
  • Identify opportunities to use digital technology to enhance their overall marketing strategy

Want these skills?

SEO
  • Analyse web traffic and identify opportunities for improved SEO
  • Drive more traffic to your website and impact your business’s presence online by assisting with creating SEO-optimised content
  • Manage inbound marketing, PPC, AdWords and SEO strategies

Want these skills?

Brand management 
  • Implement various frameworks available for building brand equity and value
  • Continually assess the alignment of a brand to organisations strategic objectives
  • Recognise which digital marketing communication tools will be most effective in portraying a unique value proposition for your brand

Want these skills?

 


Related content: How to Hire the Right Digital Marketing Manager 

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What are the career path prospects for a Digital Marketing Strategist?

One of the defining features of the role of digital marketing strategist is that it is not limited to one function. It spans multiple marketing roles and teams and requires a holistic skill set from the Digital Marketing Strategist, which may include continually updating your marketing training through marketing courses.

It should be no surprise then that 30% of employers reported not being able to find candidates with the adequate digital marketing strategy skills to fill their gaps.4

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Here are some of the related career paths those skilled or trained in digital marketing strategy are able to move into or absorb:

 

What is the potential salary for a Digital Marketing Strategist?

The salaries for Digital Marketing Strategist vary greatly, depending on experience, the size of the organisation and the level of management. Employers looking to fill positions usually require three to five years working experience in the field and relevant tertiary education is favourable.6

Click on a country to see what you can expect to get paid as a Digital Marketing Strategist in either South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America:

  • RSA
    Entry-Level R87,262
    Mid-Career R240,000
    15 Years Experience R729,845
  • UK
    Entry-Level £21,753
    Mid-Career £34,641
    15 Years Experience £69,636
  • USA
    Entry-Level $38,442
    Mid-Career $58,454
    15 Years Experience $91,947

What are the education and training requirements for a Digital Marketing Strategist?

The role of Digital Marketing Strategist favours the right tertiary education but it also requires skills that would be learned on the job or over and beyond traditional education.

Necessary education to become a digital marketing strategist:

  • Business Science Degree in:
  • Bachelor’s Degree in:
  • Online courses: with an ever-changing field like digital marketing, it’s important you stay relevant. Committing to lifelong learning by taking a marketing course will help you stay abreast of trends and changes.

Which skills do you need next?  

Download a course prospectus to find out how one of these online short courses can help you become a Digital Marketing Strategist.

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1The Huffington Post

2Smart Insights

3Duffy Agency

4Smart Insights

5Smart Insights

6Payscale