5 Digital Marketing Skills Needed for Success

Content & Strategy |

Digital Marketing is a Team Sport

A digital marketing plan is doomed to fail when it lacks proper planning and team work. There are at least five digital marketing skills needed to succeed.

Business Planning

A digital marketing plan serves a business purpose. Starting with a clearly written objective, a business plan should outline the goals, risks, resources needed, budget, and a high level concept of the plan. On a campaign by campaign basis, this is often represented as a creative brief. The plan should be easy to read, and most of all it should be clear and concise in the business objectives. For an enterprise digital marketing plan, a Plan of Action (POA) is a must. A well documented POA gets the nod from the management team, and also serves as a “blueprint” for execution.

Analytical Planning and Assessment

In this era of relevance, marketers must use data driven marketing to analyze the competitive landscape to understand competitive strengths and weaknesses. Marketers also must analyze customer segments to identify specific interests and deliver relevant messages to specific customer segments. Another aspect of analytical skills is in use of tools and technology to audit web assets. Your web assets are like an automobile. They occasionally break and need to be repaired. Marketers need analytical resources to repair website technical problems which, if left untreated, can negatively impact user experience, not to mention adversely impact SEO results. The third form of analytical skills needed is the ability to analyze results of digital marketing campaigns using third party tools such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, RavenTools, etc.

Technical Skills

We need team members who are fluent in technical aspects of a digital marketing plan such as Javascript, HTML and CSS, to name just a few. Whether these technical skills reside inside your four walls or not, all digital marketing plans require technical talent. These technical skills are needed through all stages of digital marketing, beginning with the planning stage to help assess scope, budget, resources needed and risks. Of course, technical skills are needed throughout the implementation process to help execute a digital marketing plan.

Creative Talent

At some point in your digital marketing plan the time will come to get creative. Whether you’re writing website copy, creating an email lead nurturing plan or writing an e-book to build thought leadership, the creative talent is needed to design the user experience. The creative folks must have access to a business plan or creative brief in order to contribute creative that meets the business objective. It’s important to note that creative talent needs to be in alignment with the business objective. When creative talents goes in his or her own direction, ignoring the business plan, the end result is usually not good. A good creative talent is more than just creative. He or she understands how to interact with the other team members in the context of the business objective(s).

Marketing Skills

Does it strike you as odd that I list marketing as the last skill? I don’t intend to underscore the importance of marketing skills in a digital marketing plan. The marketing skills needed run the gamut starting with strategic skills from the top marketing person, to specialization skills such as content optimization, email marketing, social media, and many other execution elements handled by members of the marketing staff. Each person in the staff lineage needs to understand their role and how the digital marketing plan or campaign fits into the big picture in the business. Consistent messaging across digital marketing campaigns is a key marketing skill needed from the top, supported by the entire marketing staff. The chief marketing officer (CMO) should drive the brand’s key message points and guide staff under that strategic message umbrella for all marketing campaigns.

As an avid sports fan, I can think of several team sports analogies that align with digital marketing skills. No matter your favorite team sport, whether it’s football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey or another sport not mentioned here, a marketing team similarly needs several “position players.” Each team member brings distinct skills to the equation. The five digital marketing skills outlined here are high level. Each marketer should start with these five skills and break them down as their situation warrants.


8 Comments to 5 Digital Marketing Skills Needed for Success

  1. by Paige Willey October 2, 2012

    It doesn't surprise me that you place marketing skills last. I know plenty of people who don't have formal training in marketing who have gone on to do great things in the industry because they are resourceful, creative, and good with data. I like that you believe in having a team. It's important to have as many eyes as possible on a campaign!

  2. by FindandConvert October 2, 2012

    Paige, thanks for your comment. Digital marketing is no different than any other business discipline. It requires a team with a diverse set of skills.

  3. by Jim Dorsey October 5, 2012

    Great article, Bernie.
    There's one more skill I'd like to add to your list – communication. Maybe that's a given, but it's essential to keep all the team members engaged and on track (plans never change, right?). And even well-intentioned surprises can leave one's stakeholders or clients feeling like less a part of the plan or deliverable and more like ??!
    Good communication makes good teams great.

  4. by FindandConvert October 5, 2012

    Jim, you are 100% on the money. I've always said that communication is the most complicated aspect of business, whether we're talking about marketing, production or customer service. Let's make this #6! Thanks for your input!

  5. by Richard A. Lewis December 4, 2012

    I have to say that a lack of Analytic Skills seems to be the undoing of a digital marketing campaign. There needs to be someone on the team who is not afraid to dig into the numbers and come out with the reality of a situation As nice as it is to come up with a great "Creative" it is as equally important make sure you are placing that Creative in the best place possible. The article was very informative as well.

  6. by FindandConvert December 5, 2012

    Lack of digital skills may not be the undoing of a digital campaign, but it will certainly hinder results for sure…Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

  7. by Helen S. Wofford April 10, 2013

    I think we can also add being inquisitive by nature helps in digital marketing. The fascination of things and being open minded helps fuel creativity that could lead to rocking content. It encompasses business planning to an extent of direct influence. For marketing skills, I think it has something to do with being proficient and knowledgeable in the avenues where to broadcast our content.

  8. by FindandConvert April 10, 2013

    Being inquisitive is a good attribute. I like that. Thanks for sharing this thought!

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