Do I need formal education to get a digital marketing job?

Technology has changed the way organisations sell a product, service or an idea. Ongoing digital transformation delivered through Big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smartphones residing in the pockets of over 2 billion people worldwide, has completely reshaped the marketing industry

This drift towards embracing the digital frontier has meant that every business now needs to have a digital marketing plan. It’s a matter of survival. To stay competitive within their industry, companies need to not only connect with consumers but also to compose and configure those interactions

Leaning on technology in marketing has also created an increased demand for digital marketing experts. According to the 2019 Marketing Hiring Trends Report, digital marketing jobs are soaring, with 61 per cent of marketing leaders reporting that they plan to add digital marketers to their team.  

So, how do you become a digital marketing specialist? Here’s what you have to consider.

What skills are in demand?

Typically, digital marketing jobs require the ability to research, analyse, plan, execute and measure multi-channel campaigns to build brand awareness and maintain customer loyalty. It’s a role that requires a deep understanding of consumer habits and motivations and the ability to communicate effectively with customers through digital means.   

With technology continually evolving, the goalposts for digital marketing experts are continually shifting as well. To survive competition in this field, digital marketers are expected to keep up with emerging trends – from chatbots, AI and social messaging apps to content personalisation, engagement-based email marketing and micro-moments.

Key digital marketing skills that are sought-after by employers right now include:   

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Given that 93 per cent of online experiences begin with a search engine, learning SEO - the art of optimising websites - will make you an attractive candidate for future digital marketing jobs. 

SEO is about acquiring the knowledge to increase visibility in search engine results. By gaining this skill, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to business websites and therefore generate more leads and sales.  

2. Content marketing

Content continues to be king. According to the Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2019, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. Whether it’s through blogs, video, podcasts, white-papers, infographics or case studies, quality content attracts and converts prospects into customers - and customers into repeat buyers. With 60 per cent of B2C marketers reporting that they planned to spend more of their budgets on content marketing, developing skills in content strategy, delivery and analysis is an asset for all would be digital marketers.       

3. Social media marketing

Statista predicts that by 2021 3.1 billion people will be using some form of social media. Leveraging this usage allows digital marketers to make personal connections with would-be customers and build trust. 

Having the skill set to create compelling content across various social channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn within a brand voice, is considered a strength.

4. Data and analytics

Tracking and measuring campaigns through data has become the backbone of the marketing industry. Data-driven marketing gives digital marketing specialists the ability to dissect the behaviour of consumers and understand their needs. 

Ultimately, it’s about identifying sales opportunities and ensuring return-on-investment. By 2020, around 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every person across the globe. 

Digital marketers who develop the knowledge to be able to anticipate where the customer will be, through data collection and analysis, will no doubt be influential. Companies are keen to hire digital marketing experts who know how to mine this information.

Self-made vs formal qualifications

There are several pathways you can take to pursue a career in digital marketing – starting with teaching yourself the basics, taking a short certification course or completing a formal qualification, like a Master of Marketing. 

It’s important to note, though, the candidates who are getting the most lucrative positions are those completing reputable degrees with effective learning outcomes. McKinley Marketing Partners report that marketers with a Master of Marketing earn significantly higher salaries than those with undergraduate degrees and even more so than those without a university qualification. 

In Australia, Deloitte Access Economics forecasts that marketers with postgraduate qualifications can expect to earn around AU$150,000 between 2021-2022. So, a degree in marketing is really an investment in your future.  

When it comes to the level of education required for digital marketing jobs, there are additional benefits to studying a formal qualification. The Deloitte Access Economics research also found that postgraduate study in marketing “can enable workers to hone the skills needed to be highly sought after as a marketer, as well as opening up a new and diverse range of career pathways.” 

The report went on to add that formal qualifications can build core competencies in “technical expertise in order to conduct evidence-based marketing analysis, and creative thinking in order to differentiate a product or brand from competitors.”

A Master of Marketing goes beyond the basic concepts of consumer behaviour and research and delves into a number of different areas across the value chain.  

Build your brand with a degree

Given that the best digital marketers help brands and organisations tower over their competitors, likewise, aspiring digital marketers need to think of themselves as a brand. By completing a Master of Marketing, you’ll be communicating to potential employees that you have not only the specific skills to excel in your chosen job, but also the discipline and dedication to reach outcomes. 

Companies regularly set standards and measure success – looking at where the organisation is now, and where it wants to head in the future. By applying this thinking to the education required in pursuit of digital marketing jobs, you’re likely to succeed in your chosen career path.       

Learn more about our online Master of Marketing at RMIT. Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 701 171.