Digital marketers are involved in developing an organisation's multi-channel communication strategies.
Key areas include:
- social media marketing: developing a distinct online presence by attracting high numbers of internet followers through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
- search engine optimisation (SEO): developing strategies to increase number of visitors to a website by getting high-ranking placements in search results.
- pay per click (PPC) campaigns: sponsored online advertising paid for by the business to appear alongside non-paid search results.
- mobile marketing: includes app-based, in-game, location-based and SMS marketing.
- affiliate marketing: where a business allows other businesses (affiliates) to sell products on their website. The affiliate is paid commission for each customer brought to the website by their own marketing strategies.
Digital marketers may work across several areas or specialise in a few depending on the requirements of the organisation.
Digital marketers contribute to and develop digital marketing projects and campaigns. Tasks typically involve:
- creating and uploading copy and images for the organisation's website;
- writing and dispatching email marketing campaigns;
- providing accurate reports and analysis to clients and company management to demonstrate effective return on investment (ROI);
- researching new online media opportunities that may benefit the business including mobile, social media, development of blogs and forums;
- designing website banners and assisting with web visuals;
- communicating with clients, affiliate networks and affiliate partners;
- conducting key word research and web statistics reporting;
- contributing to social media engagement and brand awareness campaigns;
- using web analytics software to monitor performance of client websites and make recommendations for improvement;
- contributing to company and industry blogs and managing e-communications;
- assisting with paid media including liaising with digital advertising agencies;
- developing and integrating content marketing strategies;
- keeping up to date with current digital trends;
- managing the contact database and assisting with lead generation activities;
- negotiating with media suppliers to achieve the best price for clients.
- Typical salaries for marketing graduate schemes range from £18,000 to £30,000 and vary depending on location and sector.
- Entry level salaries for digital marketing assistant and executive jobs range between £16,000 and £26,500, rising to £30,000 for more experienced digital officer and coordinator roles.
- Digital marketing managers can expect to earn in excess of £38,000 depending on the sector and levels of experience in senior management roles.
- Managing directors or digital directors can earn in excess of £70,000.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
Some digital marketing agencies and private sector companies offer bonuses, private healthcare and additional benefits packages.
Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours a week although hours will increase during large scale marketing campaigns and project work.
Part-time work is available. Short-term contracts are also available, generally through recruitment agencies.
What to expect
- The role is largely office based with a lot of communication by phone, email and conference calls.
- Travel may be required especially in agency roles where visits to clients are an essential part of the job.
- An important element of the marketing profession is networking at industry events, conferences and meet-ups.
- Flexible working patterns and some home-working may be possible.
- Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced digital marketers who typically choose to become independent consultants.
- Digital marketing and media agencies tend to be located in the major UK cities. Small and medium-sized enterprises and larger companies with marketing departments are based in cities and towns throughout the UK.
- Agencies which operate globally are likely to have opportunities to work in their offices abroad.
- A professional dress code can be expected, however there may be a more relaxed approach to this in agencies, except when meeting clients.
- The role can be challenging but rewarding due to the digital marketing sector being a continuously changing and fast-paced sector.
This area of work is open to all graduates, however the following subjects may be particularly useful:
- advertising, media and communications;
- business and technology;
- creative design;
The majority of marketing graduate training schemes require a 2:1 degree. You will need to be flexible in terms of geographical location as competition is usually intense.
Due to the competitive nature of the industry, entry into graduate marketing roles with an HND or foundation degree is less likely, unless you have substantial, relevant experience.
If you do not have a related first degree, you may be required to demonstrate a genuine interest in digital marketing, with evidence of a strong personal online profile, e.g. a blog, website or connections and interactions on various social media platforms.
Postgraduate qualifications in digital marketing are offered by an increasing number of UK universities and although not essential, may be helpful for expanding your skills and knowledge particularly if you have a non-related first degree. Search for postgraduate courses in digital marketing.
A range of postgraduate qualifications in digital marketing are offered by the:
You will need to have:
- strong verbal communication skills for articulating ideas to colleagues and clients;
- written communication skills for producing high quality content;
- attention to detail and accuracy;
- ability to work independently and flexibly;
- capacity to prioritise and work across multiple projects;
- excellent team work skills;
- organisational skills with ability to deliver a high volume of quality work;
- creative skills for contributing new and innovative ideas;
- ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines;
- networking and analytical skills;
- knowledge of existing and emerging social media platforms.
In addition, you need to be able to demonstrate excellent IT skills, including the use of:
- Microsoft Office;
- databases and a basic understanding of HTML;
- CSS and search engines.
Undergraduate marketing placements and internships are available with large graduate recruiters and are very competitive. If you would like to get some work experience locally, try contacting the marketing departments of local companies, digital marketing agencies and charities speculatively to ask about their work experience opportunities.
The marketing and digital marketing sector continues to be competitive and relevant experience is expected by the majority of employers. To develop your digital skills, consider setting up your own website or blog, which as well as showing your commitment, interest and initiative, will give you something to discuss at interviews.
Keep up to date with industry news, jobs, recruitment and networking events by following digital marketing companies on Twitter and reading their blogs.
Relevant professional organisations can help, for example IDM has a blog which covers key topics and developments in digital marketing.
Advice on how to get into digital marketing, including various digital marketing career paths, interview advice and specific CV and covering letter advice is available at Digital Marketing Career Zone.
Many large and medium-sized companies have an in-house marketing and communications department, which offers digital marketing services in addition to traditional marketing support.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may outsource their marketing to agencies or have smaller marketing teams.
Opportunities exist within all sectors including:
- charities and voluntary organisations;
- computing and software;
- fast moving consumer goods (FMCG);
- financial services;
- higher and further education;
- home entertainment;
- leisure and travel;
- media and publishing;
- online media;
There are many digital marketing agencies that advise businesses on all digital channels including:
They recommend the best digital strategy and campaigns that will complement traditional marketing methods for the business.
Look for job vacancies at:
- Brand Republic Jobs
- Chinwag Jobs
- The Drum Jobs
- The Marketer
- Marketing Week Jobs
- Mad Jobs
- Media Week Jobs
- Simply Marketing Jobs
Details of marketing work placements and graduate jobs are also available at CIM's getin2marketing: Work Placement Resource.
Specialist recruitment agencies advertise digital marketing vacancies but these are often for experienced marketers.
Digital marketers often receive on-the-job training in the digital marketing tools used by the company. These vary but, for example, could include:
- Google Analytics and Facebook Insights for web analytics reporting;
- Adobe Creative Suite for online banner design;
- Google AdWords for pay per click campaigns;
- MailChimp for email marketing.
Most of the larger companies with marketing training schemes offer a structured continuing professional development (CPD) programme, in addition to in-house training to help develop specific skills.
Many provide financial support to undertake professional qualifications such as those offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). These include:
- CAM Level 4 Diploma in Digital Marketing;
- Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing (Digital);
- Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing (Digital).
For more information see CIM: Digital Awards.
The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) also has professional qualifications including:
- Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing;
- Professional Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing.
For a full list of available qualifications see IDM: Professional Marketing Qualifications.
The training offered in a smaller organisation is likely to be practical and intensive with more wide ranging responsibilities early on. This may suit some graduates better than working for a larger company on a graduate training scheme.
CPD is important in digital marketing due to fast-moving developments in emerging technologies. It is possible to take a range of short courses to help with this. The CIM and IDM offer courses on digital marketing topics such as:
- affiliate marketing;
- social and digital metrics and analytics;
- pay per click (PPC);
- search engine optimization (SEO).
These are designed to fill any gaps in your knowledge and to update you on new developments in digital marketing tools and platforms.
For further information on available courses see Creative Skillset Courses Directory.
As a graduate, your immediate prospects depend on the size and type of the organisation for which you work. Due to the fast changing and developing nature of the digital marketing sector, the more experience you gain early on, the more likely you will be to progress into more senior roles.
You will generally start your digital marketing career in a junior role such as digital marketing assistant.
Progression to more experienced roles such as digital marketing executive, coordinator or manager could happen within two to five years if you work for a company which offers on the job training and encourages continuing professional development (CPD).
There is an increasing requirement to gain further qualifications to enter senior marketing roles.
In agencies you are likely to start in a junior digital marketing or account executive role. With hard work and commitment progression could lead to a junior manager then senior manager position within a specialised area.
Many agencies operate on a global scale and as your career progresses there will be opportunities to work in offices located worldwide.
If you reach digital account director level, you will have overall responsibility for managing accounts, strategy and digital marketing campaigns. You will take on additional responsibilities such as budgets and training, and mentoring junior members of the team.
Once you have experience and can show that you meet the specified criteria, which includes a certain level of CPD, you can achieve chartered status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). This can help with career progression and further information is available at CIM: Chartered Marketer Status.