Digital Marketing: How to be successful in the industry

MARKETING   |   5 minutes  |   November 24, 2016

UCT Digital Marketing course desktop

UCT Digital Marketing course mobile

It’s going to take more than just a love for online communication to prove your worth in the field of digital marketing. In order to be successful in this lucrative industry, you’re going to have to stay ahead of the trends, have a holistic skill set, and never stop learning.

[bctt tweet=”These 10 skills are what you need to stand out as a Digital Marketing professional.  ” username=”getsmarter”]

1. Learn the Language of Digital Marketing


Acquiring a knowledge of these terms allows you to fully comprehend the metrics you’re measuring every day; better evaluate the performance of your marketing campaigns, and allows you to make more strategic decisions.

Action: Make it your mission to print out or write out General Assembly’s Glossary of Digital Marketing Terms and Hubspot’s Ultimate Glossary of Performance Metrics to give yourself a headstart on understanding all those foreign acronyms.

2. Reflect Real Buyer Personas in Your Campaigns

You may have heard the saying, “If content is king, then conversation is queen.” Digital marketing isn’t about talking at your audience, but about talking with them. Learning to listen to what they want helps you become better at communicating with them – through the right marketing channels, with the appropriate tone and language.

Action: Use email, search, paid and content marketing to drive and focus on engagement and gain valuable insights about your audience. Construct buyer personas that you continue to develop as you receive more feedback from the people you’re marketing to.

3. Become an Expert in Specific Areas of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses a whole host of disciplines – from mobile to social media to email marketing. In order to be the best at what you do – dabble in a bit of everything. But at the end of the day, specialise.

Lisa Midgley, a Senior Consultant at OgilvyOne in New York City, has this advice for you:

“Find an area that interests you, then determine the tool or platform for that area and learn it. Become a power user for it. Learn about other tools or platforms that compete with it, and those that work alongside it.”

Action: Read the career path profile of a Digital Marketing Strategist to help you gain a more holistic view of your career options within the marketing and digital marketing industry – and then make your choice.

4. Learn to Network in Digital Marketing

This is where you put the social into social media. Want to be successful at communicating in an online space? Well, then you have to be able to work the crowd in “real life”.

Networking and making connections with like-minded people and thought-leaders in the industry is a great way to get feedback on your work and initiate creative collaborations for the future.

Action: Take a marketing course, attend annual digital marketing conferences such as Africa Marketing Week or the Marketing Indaba, and hang out with marketing professionals from all over the continent.

5. Grow with the Trends in Digital Marketing

As you know, the internet is constantly evolving, which means digital marketing training and trends are changing just as fast.

According to Forbes1, in the next year, we’ll see the rise of “immersive experience” content marketing, using tools such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and 360-degree video content. Being aware of tidbits of information like this helps you to structure strategic and powerful marketing campaigns based on factual and relevant insights.

Action: Start subscribing to marketing blogs and newsletters such as Moz Blog’s Whiteboard Friday, or the Content Marketing Institute to keep up-to-date with marketing trends.

6. Cultivate a Greater Understanding of Digital Marketing Essentials

As Douglas Rushkoff puts it: “As I see it, code literacy is a requirement for participation in a digital world.”

In the role of Digital Marketer, you work closely with web designers, graphic designers and developers. It’s not a necessity but it is advantageous for you to have a basic understanding of HTML and programming languages such as JavaScript and CSS. This helps you approach marketing campaigns with greater clarity and may open you up to a gift you never knew you had.

Action: Take the UCT Web Design online short course, where you’ll learn the basics of coding and get the opportunity to build your own website.

7. Digitise Your Resume for a Digital Economy

Making it big in the marketing world means you’ve got to blow your job interviews out of the water. And there’s nothing that shouts, “I’m a digital marketer you want to hire” better, than replacing your average, everyday CV with a mind-blowing digital showcase of your analytical, strategic and creative skill set.

Action: Get to work on your portfolio of evidence. Make it stand out by adopting a forward-thinking template.

8. Use Your Natural Curiosity to Keep On Learning

The future belongs to the curious. And curiosity goes hand in hand with passion. Having an inquisitive and zealous nature is key to innovating, strategising, problem-solving and taking risks. Digital companies want to hire people who have the curiosity to try out new ideas, apps, or platforms.

Action: While you’re keeping an ear out for current industry trends, listen up for any new marketing tools sneaking into the spotlight. Set a small goal to learn or try out one of these new tools once a week.

9. Connect Digital Marketing to Business Goals

Digital marketing directly affects the bottom line of the business and therefore needs to be aligned with the goals and vision of the business. If you want to stand out in the digital marketing world, ensure you always communicate how your campaigns and strategies can contribute to achieving the overall business goals.

Action: Set up weekly meetings with your CMO or line manager to run through your marketing strategies and ideas. Touching base regularly ensures the work you’re doing is complementing the business goals and strategies.

10. Formalise Your Knowledge in Digital Marketing

There’s only so much you can learn on your own. Take your knowledge and skills to a new level by studying a Digital Marketing online short course, backed by the University of Cape Town. You’ll learn all about the digital marketing world and have the opportunity to build your own integrated digital strategy.

Action: Study the marketing course today. You’ll receive a UCT-approved certificate of completion that will add the finishing touch to your already impressive repertoire.