The VPM Blog

The Future of Digital Marketing Jobs

Posted by Don Crow on Nov 28, 2018 9:42:30 AM

I recently had the good fortune to speak to a digital marketing class at the University of Central Florida about digital marketing and the future. The funny thing about the future is none of us actually know what's going to happen, which is sort of the point I made with the class (and later in this post).

The future of digital marketing jobs is there is a good chance those jobs don't currently exist, or if they do, they'll require a lot more education, training and critical thinking than is required of the same job at present.


Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Case in point - yours truly. I graduated with a BA in English at a time when digital marketing didn't exist and inbound marketing would have been laughed out of the building. What I did learn was how to write, organize ideas into coherent structure to communicate to others, proofread, speed read, and think critically about stories and narratives. Fast forward to 2008 when the idea for Verge Pipe Media was forming, inbound marketing was in its infancy, everyone was learning how to be "social" on social media, and consumers were literally rejecting traditional marketing. It didn't take an advanced degree to realize content (and context) were now king in the ever changing landscape of marketing.

All of this content played right into the hands of internet search and Google has been changing their algorithms ever since in an effort to provide the most relevant results to searchers (and gather data, but that's another story). Content similarly has been evolving from blog posts to images to infographics and now video. Putting the consumer in the role of CMO has spawned influencers, microinfluencers and ad platforms which seek to keep products and services targeted in our news feeds wherever we go.

Just as consumers got wise to marketing ploys in the traditional sense, they've learned how to dodge content offers, recognize paid spots mixed in with their friends and family posts and have all but destroyed HubSpot's linear model of Inbound (they announced the flywheel in 2018).

All of this, well most of it, has taken place in the past decade. Imagine the marketing graduate in 2008 and what they've seen and experienced so far? The pace of change will only accelerate as we move forward, bringing along new tools, techniques and procedures. What won't change is there will need to be sharp individuals behind the curtain guiding the hand of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and building the software that will enable future generations of marketers.

If you're wondering why the focus on digital marketing jobs in the first place? Well, the numbers are in and here's a snapshot that shows just why this highly fragmented segment gathers so much hiring attention:

  • Digital Marketing Spending will be $100 Billion by 2019
  • DMS accounts for 35% of all marketing spend
  • 180,000+ job posts for digital marketing skills (most go unfilled)
    • 192 applicants to fill 1 marketing role
    • That’s higher than the ratio for graphic designers, engineers and even data scientists
    • Marketing roles are now specialized and fragmented and finding the right skills is difficult
Companies are finding it so difficult to fill roles because today's graduates lack specific skills in things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing automation (tools like HubSpot, MailChimp and Marketo), and in running campaigns. We talk a lot about Higher Education at Verge Pipe Media and we know first-hand how today's grads aren't prepared for the job market. This should be a wake-up call to both educators and students, especially considering how Generation Z is viewing college as a practical means to a career.

So what about the future of digital marketing jobs? What skills will be needed and what can today's graduates do to ensure they stay competitive?

If you're a current student or soon to be a graduate here's my list:

  • Get internships and look for:
    • Marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Marketo
    • Real responsibilities – client work, social publishing, SEO
  • Read –
    • Ogilvy on Advertising
    • Anything by Seth Godin (books and subscribe to his daily email)
    • Paul Roetzer’s The Marketing Agency Blueprint
  • Earn as many HubSpot Academy Certifications as practical (and others such as Hootsuite and Google)
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile and spend as much time there as you were spending on Snapchat / Instagram as a Freshman

If you're out in the workforce already and looking to hone your skills now and prepare for the future, here's my list:

  • Look into online services like Skillshare, Udemy and General Assembly and compare prices and offerings for classes in
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Data Science and Analytics
    • Machine Learning
    • Inbound and Digital Marketing
  • Earn as many HubSpot Academy Certifications as practical (and others such as Hootsuite and Google)
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile and invest in some in-person networking events and groups in your area (up to 1.5 hour drive)
  • Consider an alternative to the MBA and instead explore degrees in Emerging Media or Tech Entrepreneurship
  • Fall in love with reading nonfiction and enjoy at least one marketing or similar book per quarter

As I stated in the beginning and have since shared with a few more classes since the UCF engagement, we can't know what the future of digital marketing jobs will be but we can be smart about preparing based on what we see today. Tons of data from online transactions, AI, machine learning, the rise of marketing technologist(s), automation and even chatbots point to future marketers owning the entire customer life-cycle and growing revenue from existing customers over recruiting new ones.

If you think I'm on the right path and would like to chat further, tap the blue button below and let me know!

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Topics: digital marketing

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