Over the last few years, we’ve helped hundreds of marketers secure new jobs within the industry. When you work so closely with people in a certain role as we have, one of the more interesting things you can do is try to determine the skills that make someone successful in that role. This is particularly interesting for the field of digital marketing, simply because digital marketing has changed so much in the last decade with ongoing algorithmic updates, new tools, automation, and ever-increasing competition.
While successful marketers can exhibit a wide variety of traits, we decided to speak to some of the people behind Dublin’s most successful digital agencies to get a better understanding of what advice they’d give to a digital marketer to become an outstanding practitioner that drives meaningful results and contributes to the growth of a business.
Managing Director, Co-Founder
Every day is a school day so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You learn more from your losses than your gains.
Become an organised person as your own Project Management is crucial. Learn Agile.
Spend time with smart Digital Marketers. You tend to become the average of the people you spend the majority of your time with. You play Golf with single figure handicappers, you tend to play better. It raises the bar. Same with Digital.
Find a way to spend time with the sharpest Digital Marketer you have access to. These people are usually very busy so bear that in mind. Sit near them. Be prepared. Try hard to ask intelligent questions. Time is precious and show your appreciation by not monopolizing stuff that you can learn from a video. Find out why they follow the processes they do, you’ll become better quicker as your learning from the best.
Find another really smart Digital Marketer, rinse and repeat!
Action steps: Spend time with digital marketers that have more experience than you. Use this time to understand how they work, manage projects, keep on top of industry knowledge, and tackle any challenges in their day-to-day roles.
Managing Director, Co-Founder
- Be curious, genuine and thorough: Have the curiosity/inclination to get to know the business you are serving intimately, whether serving from an agency or internally. Know the company’s strategy and business goals – then you can align all you do to achieve the business results they want to see. After all, that’s why we are there in the first place.
- Never stop learning: Digital marketers who want to be outstanding practitioners need to commit to constant learning. The world of digital marketing moves fast and you need to be on top of your game all the time. Whether it’s PPC, SEO, social media, email of content amplification, you should always be learning and improving your craft. Follow industry experts to see what they’re recommending.
- Choose a specialism: Digital marketing is a broad spectrum, but don’t shy away from choosing a specialism. To be truly outstanding you need to pick the area you love the most and make it your business to know everything about it.
- First copy, then make it better: Research and understand who is winning in your chosen digital discipline. Find out what they are doing and copy their actions – even better, do it better. The best sports people are constantly learning from their competitors. A sign that you are winning is when people start copying you.
Action steps: Curiosity is one of the most important traits of any digital marketer. You need to invest time in understanding the goals of the business, upskilling your knowledge in a particular specialism, and keeping on top of what your competitors are doing.
Adaptive & co
As a performance marketing agency, Adaptive prizes the ability to translate customer and marketing data into insights. We are always on the lookout for outstanding marketers who can help us do that.
Those people must have an excellent understanding of how to analyse data but that’s just the beginning in terms of what we look for. To work with us they must have the ability to understand the story behind the data and what that story means for a client’s business. They must be able to identify valuable insights that help our clients drive continuous growth. If they can do all of that and they have the ability to communicate it to the client in a concise, digestible and useful manner, they’ll go far!
Action steps: Be data-focused so that you can understand the story behind a client’s business and how your work will impact their growth going forward.
Co-Founder & Digital Strategist
When it comes to marketing challenges for businesses, no two challenges are the same. Therefore it’s important to spend time clearly understanding the problem you are trying to solve.
Seek out the best quality inputs from key stakeholders. Problem first – solution second. Also, the solution isn’t always solely digital – open your mind to more traditional approaches to building your sales funnel, perhaps using digital as a support strategy.
Action steps: Treat each challenge differently as there can be a wide number of factors impacting them. If you focus on the problem first, it will open your mind up to different approaches to finding an appropriate solution – sometimes it’s not immediately obvious.
A digital marketer needs to comfortable and confident with data- both in generating more of it through tagging, and analysing it better through data manipulation. There is no excuse now we’ve now products like Google Tag Manager and Data Studio that have been built specifically for marketers, for this purpose. We no longer have to rely on a developer or require a degree in data science to achieve results in these areas, so basing decisions on vanity metrics is no longer acceptable!
Action steps: Become comfortable with gathering and analysing data. Invest time in learning how to use Google Tag Manager and Data Studio as they are invaluable tools.
Particular areas of digital marketing require a great deal of specialised knowledge, but you also need to have the traits necessary to make it in this highly rewarding but competitive field. Most of the required technical knowledge and skills can be learned (if you’re hungry to succeed), but the traits and qualities that are required for success can’t be so easily acquired.
Successful digital marketing professionals all tend to have a love for learning, are driven and passionate about what they do, can work independently on a project, work as part of a team, and actively share their knowledge with others. Finally, being a successful digital marketer often means caring about the successes of others on the team, because digital marketing can’t operate in a vacuum whereby you don’t actively communicate with management to understand the objectives of the business.