Five Marketing Careers that Didn’t Exist Before the Internet

Before the Internet advertising was done primarily on television, print, radio and outdoor billboards. Marketing consisted of public relations, events and sponsorships. In the age of the Internet options for marketing have expanded. Almost 30 percent of corporate marketing budgets go toward digital marketing, and those budgets are growing every year. With people spending more time on computers and mobile devices instead of in front of the television, it makes sense for companies to spend more online.

That’s good news for people who love technology but don’t have degrees in computer science. Careers in marketing are a great fit for people with liberal arts or non-technical majors, and digital marketing is no exception.

Why you might be a good fit for digital marketing:

You Can See the Big Picture

They key to a successful career in digital marketing is the ability to see the big picture combined with the ability to focus on the details. Being on a digital marketing team is like being part of a giant puzzle. If the whole of the puzzle is promoting your company’s services or products, you must know how your piece of the puzzle contributes to the overall picture.

You Listen to Metrics

On the Web everything is measurable. Another key to a career in digital marketing is the ability to focus on numbers and make decisions based on what the numbers tell you. Your ability to keep the big picture in mind while looking at metrics will allow you to suggest changes that will improve performance. Perhaps the awesome blog posts you wrote as a content manager are not performing well, but the SEO on the blog is lacking, or it wasn’t promoted on social media. Successful online marketing is truly a team effort.

Things you need to know going in: 

Every company does it differently

Every company has different titles and digital marketing skill breakdowns. At a small company one person could conceivably fulfill all five of these roles. Large companies and agencies generally hire full-time specialists or whole teams in each area.

Know the tools

Every company uses a different set of tools. Before you interview, see if you can find out what tools they use, and research them by visiting the websites and watching product demonstrations. As an employee you’ll likely have tool providers pitching you frequently, and you may be involved in product evaluations.

Learning never stops

Digital marketing is a fast-changing field and new tools and social platforms are introduced all the time. Therefore it’s a good idea to stay abreast of trends by reading industry blogs. Your reading should be weighted toward reputable publications based in the U.S. (if you live there) rather than individual bloggers. There are many spammy online marketing blogs based overseas that provide incomplete or incorrect information.

If you want to be a pro, get your information from the pros who work for reputable companies. A good rule of thumb to see if a publication is reputable is to find out if they host or have authors who speak at conferences in your country. Once you get a job as digital marketer, you may be sent to one of these conferences to learn and network.

Five Careers in Digital Marketing

1. Social Media

Sample titles: Community Manager, Social Media Manager, Social Media Specialist

Social Media is all about getting the word out there and engaging directly with customers. Social media outlets include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and blogs. A social media manager might post on behalf of the company to some or all of these outlets. You’ll need to know how to post images, how to craft compelling short posts, and you’ll learn how to design campaigns that focus on a single topic over time.  If you love connecting with people online, consider a career in social media.



2. PPC (or Paid Search)

Sample Titles: PPC Manager, PPC Analyst

As a PPC manager, you’ll be in charge of placing ads on search engines and other performance-based media channels such as Google, Yahoo/Bing and Facebook. You’ll look at monthly, weekly and daily budgets and try to get the most out of your company’s ad spending by optimizing keyword bids and ad copy across locations and devices. If you have a love for analyzing numbers and enjoy looking at graphs and charts but can also think about keywords and their many permutations, you could be a great PPC manager. It could also be a great fit for people with knowledge of finance or accounting who would like to be more creative in their work.



3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO Manager, SEO Specialist

While PPC is about paid search placement, SEO is about “organic” search placement: the search results that aren’t in the “sponsored” link sections at the top and right rail of the search results page (SERP).  The closer a company’s links appear toward the top of the page for a given search query, the more likely it is that users click.

SEO specialists understand techniques for acquiring relevant traffic from search engines such as building links, optimizing title tags and making URL recommendations.  The search engine algorithms change frequently, so they  stay abreast of changes by reading blogs and industry publications. At some companies, SEO and PPC can be done by the same person. You’ll be great at SEO if you love going into code, making tweaks, and tracking results over time.  You’ll also need a good understanding of language.



4. Digital (or Web) Analytics

Titles: Digital Analyst, Web Analytics Manager

Originally focused on analyzing traffic to a website—where it comes from and what people do there—Web analytics expanded to digital analytics when social media grew in importance. Digital analysts look at the traffic to a website or social pages, what pages people visit, how long they stay, where they come from, what devices they use and whether they “convert” (buy a product or sign up for something). That information is used to determine what tactics can be applied to generate more conversions. Digital analysis is a good fit for people who would enjoy researching behavior and recommending changes based on what they find out.



5. Content Marketing

Sample Titles: Content Strategist, Content Manager

Roles in content marketing tend to vary based on what business the company is in, particularly if the company’s customers are consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B).  Content marketers determine what type of content is the best way to get people interested in a particular service, product or event and take the steps to getting that content created and posted. Content types can include copy, blogs, articles, video, social media posts, downloadable documents such as e-books and white papers, webinars, case studies, emails and newsletters. Content marketers may need to know at least some HTML or CSS as well as keyword-based SEO techniques. Content marketing is a great fit for people who love to read and are good with language.



Digital marketing budgets are growing 10 percent or more a year. As budgets grow, companies need to hire more people to work in social media, PPC, SEO, digital analytics and content marketing. Over time your job might expand to include two or more of these areas, or you could end up managing a whole team of specialists. With your eye on the big picture and an ability to listen to metrics, you’ll be prepared for a long and varied career.