The Internet and digital communications have opened up a whole new world for the marketing industry, as well as for businesses hoping to use the technology to reach new customers and forge a strong connection. With this new realm of activity in the marketing communications arena comes many new employment prospects for appropriately trained practitioners.
Digital communications and digital marketing strategy differs from traditional media in the level of direct interaction it allowable with the customer. The digital realm includes a variety of electronic devices for personal and business communications, including mobile telephones and integrated devices. Specialists in the field require an understanding of traditional marketing methodologies as well as a detailed knowledge of the opportunities afforded by digital media and an awareness of how the benefits may be maximized.
Many specialists in digital marketing decide to learn about the code which lies behind the internet pages we see. The average person does not usually see the code, and user-friendly systems have been developed which employ ‘WYSIWYG’ (What You See Is What You Get) to allow basic users to edit some web pages without requiring knowledge of internet code at all.
A complex career, both marketing focused and technical, pathways to digital marketing jobs are varied. Some marketers may find themselves retraining from a traditional marketing perspective to learn the specific skills to work in the online space. Those with a vast marketing career prior to the appearance of digital technologies will need to adapt to the significant differences between digital and traditional media forms.
Advertising and full service communications agencies typically require all staff to have a reasonable level of proficiency in online methodologies, with the expectation that in their consulting role, account service personnel will be able to select from a full range of communications tools when preparing a tailored solution for the client.
Agencies also employ specialist digital marketing personnel with in depth knowledge of the underlying structures of the internet. Specialists with appropriate skills assist on execution of online projects, such as viral media campaigns and custom built websites.
The other most common avenue to digital marketing jobs and online communications management is the technical route. Web specialists who can code like it’s their native language face a steep learning curve in developing the marketing and communications knowledge to support their technical skill.
A Bachelors degree will generally take three to four years for a full time student to complete. Opportunities exist in some institutions to undertake specialist undergraduate degrees which focus specifically on new media and combine a technical element with broader communications training. Information Technology students might consider combining their IT units with marketing subjects to create a solid base qualification which covers both.
One path is no better than the other and however you arrive at a digital marketing job, the fact remains that the prospects are great and the demand is high for skilled practitioners. As traditional media begins to take second billing, the need for experts in the digital arena can only increase.