9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


Want to Work in Digital Marketing? Learn These 4 Things


Digital marketing is a fast-changing industry.

Learn these four skills in the short term, and improve the following four abilities in the long term, to find employment and influence the direction of digital marketing.

The Challenge of Freedom

The past week, I've had three different people ask me some version of this question:

If I want to work in digital marketing, where should I start?

Digital marketing is exciting because no permission is required to start. There are no board examinations or licenses required, like doctors or lawyers need to begin. There are no expensive courses or medallions required, like realtors or taxi drivers need.

There is total freedom for anyone to start marketing online and teach themselves the best strategies and tactics. This freedom, though, means it's hard for you to know what to learn — and hard for companies to know whether someone is qualified.

The best advice to get started with digital marketing is to learn specific skills in the short term, and develop key abilities in the long term. The short-term skills will help someone looking for employment in the next two years. The long-term abilities will help you stay relevant and skilled as technology evolves.


4 Short-term Skills for Digital Marketers

There are four main skills that I look for as an employer and when hiring digital marketing firms or consultants.

There are many skills important to digital marketing that are not listed here, but if you are looking to find employment fast, start here.

1. Video Marketing

Video is already ubiquitous online, but the trend of content moving from text to photo to video will only accelerate in the coming months and years.

The ability to quickly shoot professional video will help individuals and companies stand out online. My brother is already doing this.

Here at 9 Clouds, we are betting on the importance of video, which is why we recently launched 9 Clouds Live.

Get started with a course on Udemy. See how we do it at 9 Clouds Live.

2. Analytics

Digital marketing can, and should, measure for success. Regardless of the format used, digital marketers can learn what works and adjust strategies based on data.

A basic knowledge of analytics is required to capture and interpret this data. An understanding of multi-channel attribution, Google Analytics, and goal-based sales funnels will help digital marketers stand out.

Get started with a Google Analytics certification course.

3. AI and Automation

The future of marketing is automation. Already chatbots, email automation, and marketing personalized based on shoppers' behavior are changing how marketing is done.

Most marketers are just starting to learn the basics in this new area of marketing.

Get ahead by learning how to mindfully use artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Bonus points if you learn to build AI and automation on top of marketing tools like Facebook Messenger or website content.

Get started by building a chatbot on Facebook.

4. SEO-driven Content

Showing up on search engines — what's known as search engine optimization or SEO — is neither new nor sexy. It's also much harder to do today than in the past because most marketers have learned the basics.

To truly succeed in showing up on Google, marketers now need to create content that is useful, educational, and 10x better than any other content on the topic.

The importance of helping customers find your information will not go away, but the best practices will change as people increasingly use voice-search and as search engines change their results to help mobile users.

Get started with Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO.

4a. Bonus Tip to Get Hired: Get a Certificate

This is less of a skill and more of a tip: get certifications that translate your abilities into something that employers will understand.

Get started by taking a Google course or the Facebook Blueprint so that others will know what you can actually do.


4 Long-term Abilities for Digital Marketers

If you are a student or someone looking to work in digital marketing for years or decades to come, you want to do more than learn the skills needed for today's campaigns.

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, so learning how to learn is the most important ability you need to stay relevant. The following four abilities require consistent work and will remain foundational regardless of how technology evolves.

1. Persuasive Writing

The biggest skill we look for at 9 Clouds is an ability to write. Regardless of the format, digital marketing requires persuasive writing.

Mark Twain once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” As the size of our marketing copy shrinks, it actually becomes harder to write.

Concise, persuasive writing is an ability developed over a lifetime. Start improving it now.

Get started with a writing class from The Minimalists.

2. Data Analysis

Statistics may have frightened you in high school or college, but the ability to read, translate, and take action based on data is already essential (see #2 above). I don't see that changing.

As the forms of marketing evolve, the importance of using data to understand what works will only increase.

Sure, automation and AI (see #3 above) might make decisions for us, just as Facebook ads decide what's working. Still, marketers will have to set the parameters for what success looks like. A solid ability to read and use data will continue to be important.

Get started by reading this accessible and fun book on data.

3. Concise Storytelling

Writing is essential, but so is storytelling. These can be the same thing, but increasingly writing and storytelling will diverge as we tell stories via images, sounds, and physical experiences.

Regardless of the media used, storytelling is what engages humans and conveys important messages. Learn to be a storyteller so that no matter what you create, you know how to keep people's attention, build excitement, and share your lesson.

Get started by reading our storytelling eBook.

4. Ethics of Technology

For many years, a libertarian atmosphere has dominated technology. Most tech was created with little regard for societal impact.

Ride-sharing technologies, like Uber and Lyft, and house-sharing technologies, like AirBnB, have forced bigger discussions on the impact of technology and importance of company culture.

As the digital marketing industry matures, there will be a greater focus on how technology is designed and how marketing is deployed. Marketers who understand the wide-reaching impact of new technologies will be positioned to shape the industry and future policies.

Get started by listening to this discussion on tech's moral reckoning between Anil Dash and Krista Tippett.

Build a Digital Marketing Foundation for the Short and Long Term

Digital marketing requires constant reinvention.

Short-term skills will help you find a job and provide value for your clients. Long-term abilities will help you shape the digital marketing industry and continue to evolve your skills with technology.

The best piece of advice is just to start. There are no gatekeepers and nothing stopping you from getting your feet wet in the digital marketing world. The more you learn and experiment, the better you'll be.

Thanks for reading!

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