How To Make It In Digital Marketing in Northern Ireland

How To Make It In Digital Marketing In Northern Ireland

Being a digital marketer is hard. We have one of the most demanding jobs, often held to unrealistic expectations whilst managing shoestring budgets, working long hours and constantly having to keep up to date with daily developments in the industry. Many might perceive it to be ‘fluffy’, or that anybody can do it, it’s not rocket science, both belittling and undermining the intelligence, work ethic and passion required to succeed and deliver results.

Well, speaking as a digital marketer with 9 years experience, I can tell you two things that I know for certain. It can be one of the most challenging and difficult fields to work in and yet it can also be one of the most exciting and rewarding.

Throwing it back to over 9 years ago, with a psychology degree under my belt, I had completed a professional certificate in Marketing from CIM and I was thinking to myself, ‘have I made the right decision, is marketing what I want to do?’. Traditional marketing just didn’t seem to be the right fit, but I didn’t want to give up. I then enrolled in the CIM digital marketing diploma, lectured by the amazing Kathryn Pyper (our associate director) and it just….clicked.

I was hugely passionate, eager to learn and I flipping loved it. Digital marketing encapsulated just the right mix of analytical and technical skill with creative content and visual aesthetic. I knew it was the right path for me and I’m just as passionate about it now as I was then.

The demand for digital marketers is ever increasing, but it’s also proving hard for many companies to recruit staff with the right skill set, experience and work ethic to fill these roles. We as an agency, want to see the digital community grow, sharing tips and advice on our social media channels on a daily basis for both brands, businesses and budding digital marketers.

For those who are interested in learning more about becoming a digital marketer, we have compiled a few top tips to help with your career endeavours.

Education is key

As an agency, we are always learning, always keeping up with new developments. That will never change (there’s a reason why we are called Digital24 – 24/7 learning) and it’s so important not to rest on your laurels/degree/qualifications and continually drive yourself to take in new learnings. However, that’s not to say that courses and qualifications are not important, they absolutely are and will help you to get your foot on the ladder.

Courses like the CIM digital diploma are fantastic at giving you an insight into the fundamentals of digital marketing. Online academies like google digital garage, google adwords academy and facebook blueprint all provide access to e-learning courses that will help you further enhance your career, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced.

Learning from the best

Before you can become a leader in your industry, you need to learn from the best. Look at their path to success, learn from their journey and absorb their knowledge. We follow leaders such as Barry Adams, Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin to name but a few. We also follow brands that we love and admire for their bold content choices and clever digital marketing techniques.

Follow thought leaders on social media, subscribe to their newsletters and glean from them what they know and how they made it. It’ll either inspire you or scare you off and if it’s the latter, then you’ll quickly realise that digital marketing may not be the right career choice for you.

Networking

In marketing, it is all about who you know, the connections you make and the professional relationships that will help open doors and introduce you to new opportunities. Make sure to attend events, conferences and workshops where you can forge bonds with influential people in the industry and at the very least, pick up new tips and advice that will help you gain experience and enhance your knowledge.

In my personal opinion, Linkedin is a minefield, increasingly filled with over the top motivational speeches and the occasional ego trip. However, it is also a prime location for connecting with brands and companies that you may want to work for and connecting with people that inspire you and could help support you in fulfilling your career goals.

Don’t do it for the money

I think this goes without saying, that you should never embark on a career purely for monetary reward. To become a good digital marketer takes skill, knowledge and experience. Even if you have a background in traditional marketing, chances are you will have to take a pay cut until you have gained the experience and knowledge required to put together a robust digital strategy.

As an agency, we are hands on and we require a team that can think strategically, but also implement the work, build the campaigns, optimise and measure results. A marketing background isn’t always necessary, as many digital marketers hail from different backgrounds. I myself, have a Psychology degree, which gave me the analytical skillset that I needed to succeed.

Generalist vs Specialist

This is a debatable topic, as some job roles require you to have a general awareness of all channels and strategies, whilst others require specialists/experts/gurus. Management roles will require knowledge of all areas in order to manage each team member and department effectively with each individual team member required to know their digital speciality inside out.

I personally believe that you need to be aware of all areas, but to hone your craft focusing on one or two core areas, such as social media advertising and/or influencer outreach. You can’t be an expert on everything digital, that’s just not possible, but you can learn key skills from each area and really swat up on the channel that you feel strongest in.

This may leave you feeling either majorly put off by a career in digital marketing or hugely excited, enthusiastic and ready to go for it. We hope the latter, but it’s important to know that it’s not always an easy path, but it can be a really rewarding one.

Carolyn x 

Written by Carolyn – Digital Marketing Specialist at Digital 24