Although it has become one of the most dominant forms of promoting business, digital marketing is still comparatively new on the scene. It has yet to kill off other marketing media such as print, radio, and television.
In fact, many successful brands use digital marketing in tandem with a variety of other advertising forms to achieve a well-rounded and all-encompassing approach to audience communication. Since communication is at the heart of good marketing, it’s no wonder that the digital landscape has provided such an array of opportunities for businesses hoping to have their message seen.
The internet has truly opened up the available channels for businesses to reach their target audiences. However, not just anyone can simply decide one day to become a successful digital marketer; it takes a certain combination of attributes, skills, and goals in order to pave a lasting career path out of digital marketing.
Also read: 5 Digital Marketing Strategies
What Are the Main Challenges a Marketer Faces?
Before discussing the details of digital marketing, it’s important to take notice of the challenges faced by any type of marketer. Of course, in today’s age, most marketing rarely takes place without at least an element of the strategy involving digital tactics. Prior to the internet age, marketers still had to compete for the attention of their audiences against competitors trying to do the same.
Marketing isn’t just about advertising a product or service and having a customer engage with it; it’s also about retaining that customer’s interest over a period of time and continually encouraging them to stay connected with your business instead of your competitors.
Keeping their interest and custom involves honing the product or service, finding innovative methods of generating interest, and creating an appealing brand image to attract the appropriate audience to your business. Regardless of the type of media used, these challenges have always been at the core of marketing.
Which Challenges Are Unique to Digital Marketing?
While digital marketing is a natural extension of traditional marketing as it emerged from the global advancement of technology, it does possess some of its own unique challenges separate and inapplicable to conventional marketing methods.
Here are a few of the most impactful obstacles digital marketers encounter that their previous traditional counterparts did not.
- Fleeting attention spans. It is becoming more and more clear to researchers and the general public that the growth of the internet has had a significant impact on individuals’ attention spans and their ability to focus. This means that a digital marketer has to work harder to capture and retain the attention of their audience since the online space is designed to distract.
- Seemingly infinite competition. Thanks again to the internet, more people are able to start their own businesses and find their particular niches within an industry. This makes it much more difficult for a single brand to monopolize the market. Competition is always churning and growing as new businesses come and go, influencing the direction of the audience’s attention.
- Quick turnaround of trends. Virtually instant communication is clearly a huge advantage in today’s global society. However, it also poses a challenge to digital marketers in the form of fluid trends that bloom and wilt within shorter and shorter timeframes. Since successful digital marketing requires adequate planning, it can be difficult to capitalize on trends before they disappear from online discourse.
While these difficulties make digital marketing seem like more of a challenge than previous methods of gaining an audience’s attention, there are plenty of reasons that it has become such a hugely popular way for businesses to put their message across. Despite the above challenges, there are many advantages that digital marketing offers that traditional marketing could only hope to achieve.
- Since digital marketing doesn’t rely on materials such as paper to be operational, it can be much more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods. Creating online content is far quicker and cheaper than any form of print media. Although you could argue that there are other costs associated with maintaining an online presence, they tend to be related to resources that conventional marketing would require anyway. This includes a dedicated marketing team, which any ambitious business would make good use of.
- While the increased potential for an audience to become quickly distracted is definitely a challenge for a digital marketer, the online space is ideal for creating and disseminating eye-catching and innovative marketing campaigns. The variety of platforms and their specific formats allows a business to invent exciting and unique campaigns more suited to capturing an audience’s attention.
- Unlike traditional marketing methods, the internet makes it incredibly easy to analyze a digital marketing campaign’s success over time. The nuanced and detailed statistics are readily available, making it much simpler to course-correct if a particular campaign appears to be faltering. Engagement and retention are more visible to businesses, giving them a clearer view of their progress and, therefore, a better-informed approach to the future.
- Immediate and continual feedback is one of the biggest advantages that digital marketing has over traditional marketing. Being able to adapt to an audience’s changing opinion can make a business far more flexible, which is a vital component of success. By having access to all data related to how a company is performing day to day, it is much easier to identify problems and come up with viable solutions without wasting any time.
What Kind of Person Succeeds in Marketing?
Now that the challenges and advantages of digital marketing have been outlined, you can start to consider whether or not your personal qualities are suited to a career in the industry.
At first, you might not be aware of the types of individuals who would excel in a digital marketing position, so below is a list of traits and skills that contribute to someone having the potential to succeed as a digital marketer.
Anyone in marketing will tell you that much of their job is about storytelling. If storytelling were not such a valuable and essential element of marketing, the landscape of business would look entirely unrecognizable.
Humans connect to stories; it is how people make sense of the world around them – by looking through a particular lens and searching for a narrative. Marketers have long been able to capitalize on this human tendency by creating appealing stories for their audiences in order to attract business.
If you are able to generate a story between customers and businesses or around the message of a brand, these skills would be hugely valuable in a digital marketing role.
2. Willingness to Learn
There is no end in sight for the successful digital marketer’s educational journey. This is caused mainly by two important factors at the heart of digital marketing. Breaking it down to basics, these factors are the ‘digital’ and the ‘marketing’. While this might seem obvious, it is useful to note the similar aspects of each.
Digital technology is constantly evolving and transforming, leading society to find new solutions to its problems. Marketing within a business must respond to society’s shifting attitudes and its target audience if it is to be successful.
The very name of ‘digital marketing’ clearly describes the necessity of a willingness to learn in those who wish to succeed, whether that means keeping up to date with relevant digital technology, software, platforms, online etiquette, or paying close attention to market trends, attitudes within demographics, and methods of retaining attention.
Finding an online master’s in marketing can also provide an additional opportunity to expand your knowledge and demonstrate your ability to keep abreast of industry developments of your own volition. Excellent digital marketers are keen to keep themselves in the know – and earning higher education and skills in this field is paramount to success in the modern world of business.
3. Resilience and Patience
Since digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, it can be difficult to achieve consistently high results at the beginning of your career, which is why strong resilience is necessary for success. Without it, many skilled and successful digital marketers may not have given themselves the chance to prove what they could achieve. Have patience and trust that the more you learn about the industry, the more capable you will become.
Digital marketing is great for gaining rapid responses and instant feedback from an audience, meaning that you can quickly spot a failure and come up with solutions without having to dwell on each setback for too long. However, you will still benefit from building up your resilience and learning to roll with the punches. Doing so will make your decisions braver, bolder, and more likely to catch your audience’s attention.
4. Creativity and Problem Solving
Digital marketing is full of creative people. Making a product or service stand out from the crowd doesn’t just stop at the product or service itself. Digital marketers are able to straddle between looking at something from the point of view of their audience while implementing the changes that will create the most alluring brand or campaign strategy. They must combine creativity and the ability to solve problems, sharing the perspectives of both the target market and the business.
Being able to respond to the feedback obtained from digital marketing campaigns quickly can make all the difference between success and failure. Unexpected issues can arise from anywhere and must be remedied as soon as possible with the most effective fix.
This takes someone who is highly adaptable and able to weigh up the various options before making a clear decision. Those who lack adaptability are not long for the digital marketing world. Refusing to adapt means falling behind and not meeting the constantly changing demand of the market.
6. Knowing Your Audience
As mentioned briefly above, one of the most vital talents that a promising digital marketer should possess is the ability to adapt to the perspective of an audience. This means understanding precisely what makes an audience want to engage with a business and what doesn’t. These will be different depending entirely upon the type of audience, social trends, and the methods used to seek attention by the business.
For example, younger audiences use different social media platforms more often than their more senior counterparts and engage with a completely different online culture. The digital marketer most primed for success is someone who can identify the nuances between various target markets and keep track of the subtle changes that are constantly taking place.
Knowing an audience isn’t as simple as researching a target market’s preferences and feeling that the job is done. It’s about continually listening, assessing, and analyzing market trends to deeply understand and perhaps even anticipate movements in the attention of the market.
7. Technical Proficiency
Taking on a digital marketing role doesn’t necessarily mean that you must be at the cutting edge of technology. Still, it does mean you should be capable of keeping your eyes open and learning about a variety of technologies with a view to taking advantage of them to promote business and attract an audience.
This involves growing confident using different hardware, software, and online platforms so you can design a successful marketing campaign that capitalizes on features that are relevant to the business being advertised.
The whole aim of digital marketing is to persuade. Whether that means influencing a target market to engage with a brand or persuading potential investors to back a business, the job of the digital marketer is to use all appropriate tools at their disposal to make it easy for other people to pay attention.
If you are good at finding the best angle from which to encourage someone to see another point of view, you can use this skill in a digital marketing role.
Do You Have What it Takes?
Digital marketing is never static and demands versatility, creativity, and passion. No matter which brand or business it might be, there is always a need to grab people’s attention and tell a compelling tale.
If you already possess some of the skills mentioned here, perhaps your next career move should be toward digital marketing.