Apprenticeship case studies

What does a digital marketer do?

The role of a digital marketer is considerably more varied than you might expect. Sam Wright unpacks the different areas of responsibility in this exciting field, from strategy and content creation to social media, SEO and reporting.

I’ve spent over five years training digital marketers at QA Ltd and have worked in industry prior to that. As such, it’s with a reasonable degree of authority that I’m able to say:

Digital marketing is one of the most diverse and inclusive fields to work in, welcoming people from all walks of life.

When reflecting on the reason for this phenomenon, it struck me that it may be because a digital marketer’s role is hugely varied, and so attracts people with a range of skills and interests. Some digital marketers might specialise in just one or two areas, while others mays do “a bit of everything”.

Here’s my rundown of the typical areas that could be encompassed by a digital marketing role.

1. Planning digital marketing strategies and campaigns

More senior digital marketers will be involved with formulating marketing strategies and planning campaigns, typically in collaboration with an organisation’s marketing director and other senior leaders. The word “campaign” gets used a lot by digital marketers, and simply means:

A planned series of activities, with the goal of promoting or selling a particular product, service or brand in a defined timeframe.

Planning a campaign will involve coordinating calendars with other members of the digital marketing team so that content is ready on time and can be shared through various channels, and safeguarding brand identity across the different channels used within the campaign.

If you’ve already got experience within the field of digital marketing, are highly organised, and have an eye for detail, this could be the ideal role for you.

2. Producing relevant content: Content marketing

Content marketing is a significant part of many organisations’ digital marketing strategies. According to the Content Marketing Institute, this involves:

“…creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

This content could therefore include imagery (such as infographics), videos, podcasts, whitepapers, webinars and blogs – all of which should be relevant to target customers, providing them with information, insight and entertainment.

Certain digital marketers may be given the responsibility for producing this content. Those with the relevant skills and who are self-motivated (and are comfortable working to deadlines) are typically drawn to these roles, which can involve anything from graphic design to copywriting.

3. Engaging with your brand’s audience: Mails and social media

Of course, it’s not enough to simply provide your audience with good quality content; brands must also engage and interact with their audience. That’s why many digital marketers have the responsibility for managing and operating their brands’ social media accounts.

This can be demanding, but hugely rewarding!

Those who specialise in social media must have their finger on the pulse, identify when relevant topics start trending and respond to them in a timely manner. In addition to replying to users’ comments, these digital marketers may also be involved in shaping a brand’s social media strategy and tone of voice, as well as going to lengths to develop an online community.

The ability to identify and seize opportunities is crucial in this role. But this must be tempered with patience and empathy, so as to ensure that a brand’s posts are sensitive, inclusive and empowering.

4. Driving website traffic from search engines: SEO and PPC

Just as social media is a crucial part of a digital marketer’s role, so too is search engine optimisation (SEO). The SEO gurus at Moz define this as:

“…the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results.”

Or, put simply, these digital marketers work to get more members of the target audience onto their brand’s website.

This is accomplished by improving a brand’s organic search ranking for relevant keywords, which will involve link-building and numerous important on-site factors (meaning there’s a significant overlap with the field of web design). What’s more, SEO is often paired with paid search marketing, where paid listings appear at the top of search engine results pages, often referred to as pay-per-click or PPC ads.

Roles encompassing SEO and paid search marketing can be fairly technical, so a digital marketer who works in these areas will ideally need some knowledge of web design, as well as being comfortable conducting research into keywords to shape SEO strategy and PPC campaigns. 

5. Analysing performance

The vast majority of digital marketers will be responsible for monitoring, analysing and reporting on performance from different campaigns and channels.

To do this, they’ll make use of popular and powerful tools such as Google Analytics, social media management platforms (such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social), and customer relationship management systems (CRMs). They’ll interpret quantitative and qualitative data, identifying trends, opportunities and measuring return-on-investment (ROI).

These roles are vital, as they allow managers to gauge how successful digital marketing activities have been at achieving the brand’s goals, while identifying potential improvements going forwards.

Digital marketers who are drawn to these roles will typically be analytical, comfortable working with numbers and graphs and have a good eye for spotting patterns and trends.

Want to learn more about being a digital marketer?

As you’ve gathered: the role of a digital marketer is hugely varied, offering something for everyone and plenty of opportunities to specialise. That’s why QA’s Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship combines online learning with practical tasks and coaching, enabling you and your staff to quickly develop the wide range of digital marketing skills described here.

Looking for something a little more advanced? QA has recently launched a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, enabling you to achieve a full university-level qualification whilst working.

So employers, get in touch today and find out why we're the UK's leading tech apprenticeship provider.

If you're a learner wanting to find out about joining an apprenticeship programme, enquire here.



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