10 Skills a Digital Marketing Manager Needs to Succeed

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a content marketing influencer, blogger, recognized author, strategist and speaker and work with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company brands with digital, content and social media marketing.
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A marketer is like a conductor. Many plays, a lot of shiny, noisy instruments and a big audience.

It means understanding the nuances of the new web paradigms and how they interact. It’s about knowing about how each of the social and digital channels operate and interact with each other and the synergies that creates.

It raises questions. How different should my Facebook post be to my Twitter or Instagram tactics. What priority should I put on email marketing? How does my content marketing help build my search engine optimization?

The questions are many and complex.

But first, let’s take a closer look at what are some of the challenges facing digital marketing executives and professionals and the skills they need to master and understand.

The high velocity of digital change
One big challenge is keeping up with the high velocity of change.

One fast moving target is Facebook. How much budget should I apply to Facebook advertising since free organic Facebook reach plummeted? The options within Facebook advertising are also in constant flux and just getting your head and mind space around that ecosystem requires a Facebook specialist on the team or an external partner.

Mobile marketing has gone from an afterthought to a must do, as people use their phones to interact with brands and publishers in the aftermath of mass media dominance. Mobile advertising, social, and real time global engagement tactics need to be included.

To put mobile in perspective, here are some facts to ponder in a graphic by infographicportal.com:


So what are the skills a digital marketing manager needs to succeed on this fast evolving web?

1. Data analysis
The term “big data” is tossed around like confetti and vodka glasses at a Russian wedding.

But it is not about big data, but what you “do” with the data. That is the work of the analyst. The analytical scientist is invading the art of marketing, with access to technology tools and platforms.

It makes many digital marketers’ eyes glaze over, break into a sweat and start shaking and weeping uncontrollably. It requires a new breed of team member, a numbers man (the data analyst). The digital disruption has happened so fast that they are a rare breed and hard to find. But that is what the new marketing paradigm requires.

The days of marketing being left to the “Marketing Madmen” of Wall Street are over. The creative marketer needs a new partner.

One example of the need and the power of good data analysis is with Teradata’s tools that have been applied by the International airline Qantas to it’s Loyalty program.

  • 10 million members
  • $1.3 billion in revenue
  • $800 million in awards every year

By analyzing data well and optimizing through the insights gained they have been able to increase profitability significantly to $300 million a year.

2. Paid social media advertising
What social media promised when it started to be used, as a marketing tool was free global earned reach. Then Facebook changed the game. The Facebook “likes’ gold rush was over. Now it’s time to pay the Piper who has collected your data and now wants to sell it back to you.

To put some perspective on how that looks it is predicted that by 2016 there will be $25 billion spent on social advertising in 2016, with Facebook earning the majority of that pie.

But despite early cynicism, Facebook advertising done well can be very effective. So what are some of the topics and skills you will need to start to get a grip on?

  • How to use Facebook’s tool “Facebook Insights”
  • Use “Power Editor” well
  • What can be done with “Lookalike” audiences
  • The granular targeting of “Custom audiences”
  • What is oCPM bidding and how to do it well
  • How to experiment and test creative images

And that is just the tip of the iceberg

3. Email marketing
Email was simple in the past and now it is about niche targeting, analyzing bounce, open rates and conversions. Its power as a marketing tool is often underestimated.

Even the big end of town hasn’t been doing it well. A recent report released by the New York Times, revealed that despite it having over 6 million emails in their database they didn’t even have a proper email marketing platform. The email list had to be manually pulled from their other systems.

Social is great for brand awareness but your most loyal and committed prospects, customers and advocates will want to keep in close touch via email. Many top performing marketing campaigns and sales results happen from your email list.

4. Search engine marketing
There are two parts to the equation here.

  • Optimizing your content, website and blog for organic earned search.
  • Paying for clicks using Google’s AdWords. Paid search engine marketing sometimes called “SEM”

Building earned authority to rank high on search engines takes time and it is no quick fix. But don’t neglect doing this as it end up driving the majority of your traffic over time. It will take years of content creation and constant tactical activity.

5. Develop skills with technology tools and platforms
The marketer’s job in the past was often about managing the advertising agency.  But now they need to understand technology. What do some of these look like?

Free tools

There are a vast arrange of free tools. Some of these include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • Canva
  • Buffer
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter analytics
  • Google analytics
  • Many of these offer premium versions that add other features and functions.


These include digital marketing, email marketing and specialist social media marketing platforms that allow you to scale your marketing efforts.

1. Digital marketing platforms

There are many now available.

One is Teradata’s Marketing Operations product, which includes Planning & Spend Manager, Workflow & Collaboration Manager and Marketing Asset Manager

2. Email marketing platforms

There are hundreds of platforms, but here are a few.

  • Mail Chimp
  • Aweber
  • iContact

6. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is many moving parts.

It is complex and you need to understand the various social networks and social media marketing tools that allow you to leverage your efforts, including automation.

Questions need to be asked such as which ones are you going to focus on? Then there is the range of tactics to achieve the right goals. Then you need to design the creative and the content for those.

7. Content marketing
Content is the foundation for all marketing.  You need images, blog posts, infographics, free ebooks and the list goes on.

Content marketing’s benefits when done well are increased engagement, improved SEO and leads and sales.

8. Mobile marketing
The mobile explosion and the rise of smart phones has caught many marketers unprepared. Many brands have a website that is not mobile ready and have no apps that make it easy for customers to engage with you while out and about.

This marketing skill needs to be learnt fast!

9. Viral marketing
Getting content to move fast is something that the likes of Buzzfeeed, Upworthy and ViralNova have taken to a new level. It doesn’t mean that you should focus on it, but getting the occasional Video, blog post or image to go viral is worth it just from a brand awareness perspective.

You should look at how those publishers do it and weave some of those tactics into your marketing campaigns.

10. Visual marketing
Most marketers know that you can get increased engagement and sharing if you use visuals. This is well understood on Facebook and a range of studies shows that up to 100% more engagement is driven by a visual post over text.

But this is not just a tactic that works on Facebook. With Twitter allowing visual in the stream the use of images is very effective. I did a little test on my Twitter stream and these were the results when I used visuals.

Impressions: The percentage increase in “impressions” of a tweet with an image over a tweet without is a substantial 197%.

Engagement: The increased percentage for “engagement” of a tweet with an image over a tweet without one is a staggering 581%

Engagement rate: Increased percentage for “engagement rate” of a tweet with image over a tweet without one is a significant 111%.

The visual marketing skill is worth mastering.

This article was originally published on www.JeffBullas.com and is republished with permission.

SMAC: Enabling Business Paradigms of the 21st Century

Alok Ranjan
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Alok Ranjan

Alok Ranjan is a marketing specialist and management consultant based in Mumbai, India. He believes, brands are caught in a maze of technology and economic dynamics, caused by disruptive forces, which are changing the way consumers interact with brands. He blogs at www.alokr.com
LinkedIn: in.linkedin.com/in/ranjanalok
Alok Ranjan
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If you stand still, you fall behind.
Mark Twain

Agility, adaptability, and innovation are lifeline for success of enterprises in the 21st century. From having shutters down at the ‘Kodak Moment’ for the 130-year-old George Eastman’s Kodak to closing the curtains on many traditional business paradigms belabor that enterprises of the 21st century need to continually adapt their business models to survive the onslaught propelled by technology. Social, mobility, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) are convergent forces forcing enterprises to innovate and be agile and creative to survive in the race for existence. The rise of disruptive firms has challenged the existence of traditional businesses and created economic uncertainty loom over conventional business paradigms. Welcome to the digital era, powered by SMAC, where customer engagement and business model adaptations are top priority for enterprises to hold their ground.

The Internet serves as a backbone to disruptive technology firms (firms that challenge the status quo in the technology market and influence their competitors) and these firms are vehemently challenging the hegemony of traditional businesses in the recent past. In 2013, Amazon.com acquired a 100-year-old newspaper Washington Post for $250 million as they lacked innovative and adaptive business model to thrive in the digital era. Numerous innovative products have flooded the market to engage with customers right in their bedroom and are forcing enterprises to either evolve or extinct, in this century. Let us focus on how SMAC is enabling enterprises to challenge traditional behemoths and driving customer value to the last mile.

Enabling New Business Paradigms

The rise of SMAC as a nexus of force has equipped disruptive enterprises to strengthen their technological innovation capabilities. Siemens is busy developing batteries and wind technologies that will increase Germany’s reliance on renewal power in future. Tablets and the smartphone can control, Philips innovative new bulb. Safaricom challenges traditional banking through its widely acclaimed mobile currency M-Pesa in Kenya. Vidyo, a technology firm poses challenge to giants like Cisco with the launch of high-definition video conferencing on smartphone. These use cases establish that social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) is the new normal and enterprises need to adapt their business models to succeed in this dynamic marketplace. Traditional behemoths have gradually become restless for existence. The tide has shifted from established to innovative firms. Forward-looking enterprises have engulfed traditional businesses and pushed them towards bankruptcy. Some of the leading business models which failed against disruptive firms are:

Blockbuster – Movie rental – Failed against Netflix, YouTube
Kodak – Photography – Failed against Flickr, Smartphone proliferation
Border – Book retailer – Failed against Amazon.com
HVM – Music retailer – Failed against Apple iTunes, Spotify

Enabling Customer engagement models

Customers are at the core of activity on social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC). Disruptive firms center their business strategies around user activity on social media sites, mobility, analysis of the collated information through advanced analytical tools like Hadoop, NoSQL and Splunk etc. Just off the pan, acquisition of our time where Facebook acquired another disruptive technology firm Whatsapp for $19 billion is driven to get hold of 450 million users of Whatsapp. It is worth to note that every day Whatsapp registers more than 1 million users globally and will hit a billion in a year. An enterprise does not need anything more than just monetize the registration for a few dollars to keep this business model profitable. Firms like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are pioneers that have recognized every opportunity to reach their customers through multiple avenues.

Social – In less than a decade social networking sites have made significant impact on the marketing needs of traditional enterprises. Constant flow of information through likes, follow, post, video, check-ins, images, etc., have created a web of information to understand the needs of each customer individually. Brands are busy customizing their marketing strategy everyday to satiate the needs of their interconnected consumers. Recently, Virgin America pioneered with the launch of its in-flight social networking app, Here on biz, to be accessed at the height of 35,000 ft. This app works by isolating the geo-location and unique IP of each Virgin America plane in the sky. Guests can connect with their fellow passengers, travelers on other Virgin America flight and guests at their destination airport, via the LinkedIn API. With this, Virgin America’s consumer engagement strategy leapfrog by empowering travelers to experience interconnectedness and initiate discussions. This also transforms the way a business traveler hunt for leads in the near future.

Mobility – The proliferation of enterprise network applications on mobile handsets has removed the barriers between remote and real workstation. According to a survey by CISCO, the number of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) devices will exceed 405 million in 6 major economies, including the US, the UK, India, Brazil, China, and Germany. BYOD is also helping improve employee productivity by 81 minutes per week in the US. Realizing the potential of going mobile, Irvine, CA based firm Tacobell is launching a smartphone app to aid their consumers through mobile ordering and payment processing through credit card or gift card. When the user enters a restaurant to pick up the order, the GPS locator notifies the kitchen when to estimate the customer’s arrival. In case the customer finds a long queue at the drive through, Taco bell will have in-store counter for mobile purchases to ease quick order fulfillment. Brands are busy strategizing consumer engagement processes with the help of technological opportunities offered by SMAC in the 21st century.

Analytics – “In their book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, And Think, authors Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier explain that the digital deluge on the globe is the tantamount to giving every human being on Earth 320 times as much information as is estimated to be stored in the Library of Alexandria (in the 3rd century B.C. Ptolemy II of Egypt is believed to store every written transcripts existing on earth.)” The proliferation of data is the beginning of a major economic transformation in the 21st century. Enterprises analyze the data from all sources, including social, mobile, and offline to understand their consumer behavior and targets them with a specific offering. Big data are helping enterprises to understand the relation between available pieces of information, which were beyond our comprehensive earlier. Leading online firms like Amazon, Netflix, Pandora and Match.com (online dating site) use analytics to recommend products, and services as per customer preferences.

Cloud – Cloud computing provides the scalability and agility to future proof enterprise business transactions. It provides startups and SMEs an advantage to compete against traditional enterprises. IDC predicts that public cloud services revenue will grow by 27% year-on –year until 2016 while private cloud services revenue will grow at 50% year-on-year until 2016. Internet giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon claim the success of their business models over the cloud. The cloud provides an opportunity for disruptive startups like KickstarterCoursera to go global and compete against business giants. At the core of SMAC, cloud helps enterprises engage with their consumers in their bedroom. Netflix and YouTube video streaming services are successful enterprises operating in a cloud as part of their business model. It is worth to note that Netflix and Amazon.de pushed movie rental service provider Blockbuster and a large format retailer WestWild in Germany out of business.

Social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) has transformed the business model of many leading enterprises and is continually driving innovation for the global good. Let me know your thoughts on how SMAC will transform enterprise business models and drive consumer engagement in the near future.