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10 vital skills every digital marketer must possess

Dec 04 2019
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You’re a digital marketing expert, probably working at an agency, a company or doing freelance. You’re expected to have a sophisticated grasp of available media channels, the ability to identify up-and-coming opportunities, on top of having the basic skills of a brilliant marketer. To top it all, you’re expected to drive measurable success for your clients, showcasing a balance of critical and creative thinking skills.

There was a survey conducted among prominent members of the digital marketing fraternity* to determine what they look for in a digital marketing hire. Here are 10 of the most popular requirements:

Expertise in paid social media marketing:

Do your digital marketing candidates understand

  • How to implement Facebook analytics and insights?

  • Can they ‘test’ creative campaigns?

  • Are they secure in their knowledge of the social media landscape?

  • Are they adept at saving spends?

The answers to ALL these questions have to be yes. Even a single no means their knowledge is on faulty footing. It means their digital marketing skills aren’t good enough.

Great salesmanship

Give your candidate a test – ask them to sell something to you. A lot of times, the best digital marketing experts are also the best sellers. They engage directly with potential clients and convert them into leads. If they can’t do that, they’re wasting your time… and more importantly, your money. Salesmanship is an essential digital marketing technique all marketers must master.

Specific channel marketing expertise

It’s okay to be a jack of all trades – most digital marketing experts sell the virtues of email, SEO, SEM, social, etc. But a true digital marketing expert understands how to get the most out of a few channels. They need to understand that specific marketing channel inside-out and leverage its potential. E.g. Local businesses may not need a Snapchat profile, but they can definitely get a lot out of SEO on Google, especially.

Drip(ping) with success

Many digital marketing experts can come up with an innovative engagement strategy or a CPC campaign. Can they examine data and create a great drip marketing campaign, though? And not by just firing the same emailer to 10,000 different people, but by personalising the communication depending on which stage of the campaign the receiver is at. That takes an analytical mind-set and strategic thinking.

Analytically creative/Creatively analytical

A great digital marketing expert is both – analytical and creative. A lot of marketers prefer one over the other, but each campaign requires a strong foundation of both. Even the best creative campaigns can perform better with more robust analytical thinking.

Be a great storyteller

The ability to stitch together words and visuals to form a compelling marketing campaign that moves the consumer to action is rare and critical in these times.

  • What’s a striking visual?

  • How can the copy match up?

  • Does it also meet our marketing objectives?

Know basic design

This actually follows the previous point. You may be able to craft a beautiful message, but how do you visualise it for the consumer? While a digital marketing expert doesn’t need a degree in design, he/she should have basic knowledge of Photoshop, or even a basic grasp of HTML/CSS. It’s a must-have digital marketing skill.


It’s a cliché, but it’s true – the only constant in the digital world is change. Every once in a while a new platform threatens to push the older ones into oblivion. This pushes existing platforms to realign their strategy, maybe change their algorithm. Digital marketing experts need to adapt to the change, on-the-bounce. You can’t create magic in 2019-2020 with the digital marketing strategy of 2010-2011.

Listening skills

A wise man once said – don’t listen to respond, listen to understand. Digital marketing experts should be able to listen to their customers, not just through analytical tools, but by having actual conversations with them. There’s only so much data can give you – you need to come up with a solution from your own insights and observations.

*Based on a survey conducted with the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)

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