8 Digital Skills That Will Increase Your Salary
The digital space is exciting. It allows you to reach consumers at scale. It brings you closer to your customers on the channel of their choice. It allows you to personalize your message and your service. It gives you the ability to tell your stories in fun formats and in new ways.
And it’s becoming even more exciting as artificial intelligence comes into its own to offer new ways to automate activities and personalize content. This rapidly advancing technology can be leveraged by marketers across sectors to drive campaign performance and boost revenue (more on this later…)
Many executives are shifting their focus – and budgets – from traditional to digital marketing. For all these reasons (and many more), this space now draws the attention of professionals across many areas of interest: marketing, research, paid media, branding, customer care, sales, recruiting, etc.
Independent of your focus, if you are a professional looking to succeed in this space, there are a variety of skills you’ll need to accelerate your career and, with it, your salary. Let’s look at some of them:
Table of Contents
1. Analytics and Insights
Whatever role you perform, always remember to measure the impact. Measurement and optimization are a must when it comes to any digital role – especially when it comes to conversion rate optimization or CRO.
However, go beyond just vanity metrics. Really study the art of extracting insights from data. One of the roles that continues to be in high demand is that of the Data Scientist, someone who can turn big data into true business insights.
Strive to acquire analytical skills in your current role. Learn about any tools to help you automate some of the analytical tasks. Talk to people who know the field deeply. Or go one step further and take on a role that solely focuses on business intelligence.
No matter what you do after that, you will be in high demand because of your knowledge of turning data into insights.
2. Community Management
If you think community management is something a random intern should do, think again. Best-in-class brands don’t hire interns to manage their communities and for a good reason.
To successfully build and nurture your community you need to have someone at the helm who understands your industry, your business, your brand; and at the same time someone who loves your customers and is willing to serve the tough role of being a bridge between a brand and a customer.
Great community managers have a tough job of balancing the needs of the company and the needs of the community.
Possessing this skill requires actual experience. You need to be intimately familiar with the social networks and the tools that allow you to manage high volumes of inquiries. These are hard skills that will take you halfway to your goal.
However, it’s the soft skills that come with actually performing this role that are priceless. Find a community manager role and do it for a year or two. Alternatively, you can start a community in a role you are in. If you are going for the latter, be careful not to interfere and overlap with the current brand communities.
Content is king. Everything you do online revolves around content. But creating great content isn’t enough. To stand out in an already saturated space, you need to become a great storyteller. You need to find ways to tell stories that are relevant to your audience in the right format, on the right channel, and at the right time.
Great storytellers are not born, they are made. To become one, do the following: read on the subject, learn from the best storytellers in your industry and beyond, pay attention to what stories resonate with you, and take note.
Look at how the coolest brands tell their stories, and carry a notebook with you to jot down powerful stories other people tell and ideas about the ones you want to craft and share.
A master of storytelling, McDonald’s launched its #RaiseYourArches campaign with no food in sight! The hook was the music accompanied by people raising their eyebrows or arms to signify the famous Arches logo with the tagline ‘Fancy a McDonalds?’ The campaign was featured on TV, social media through Snapchat and Instagram lenses, and high-tech venue takeovers.
4. Social Media Platforms
Here is the harsh truth that most people don’t want to hear – if you are not using social platforms personally, you have no clue what they can do for your business. I’ve seen it time and time again.
Firsthand knowledge is absolutely necessary to not only figure out how those platforms will serve your immediate goals around customer engagement but also to create successful marketing strategies across the whole customer journey. Any knowledge – strategic or tactical – will play a huge role in defining your career trajectory.
To learn about various social platforms, just jump in and try them out. Then do a lot of reading about the functions and features (there isn’t any shortage of content out there on the web). Subscribe to niche publications (such as ‘Social Media Examiner‘) that keep you updated on the latest feature releases and platform changes. Talk to your peers about how they use the platforms to their advantage.
5. Paid Media
A lot of social media is about organic and owned content. But if you want to be successful in the digital space, you have to possess skills that span POEM (paid, owned, earned media).
Some might argue that there isn’t such a thing as organic reach anymore. I disagree, but that’s a topic for another blog post.
Here, I’ll say that you need to be very familiar not only with how to create owned content and spark earned media, but how to amplify that content in alignment with your brand goals. Learning the paid media side of the house is important.
To learn it, either partner with the paid media counterpart and dig deeper into how the whole POEM works together, or step into the role for one or two years and actually execute paid media campaigns.
6. Technology and AI
Artificial intelligence seems to be everything right now, from ChatGPT to Jasper to Google’s Search Generative Experience. While this technology may seem daunting, it has huge potential for marketing activities.
AI can be used to speed up processes or automate tasks. It can also be used to personalize communications with customers as it reacts to what a customer wants and continues to learn by getting insights from data.
As the technology continues to emerge it’s crucial to have a fundamental understanding of the relevant tools. It would also help to try out any of these tools such as using ChatGPT to generate copy for your social media posts or adverts. That said, “any tool is only as useful as the person using it”, in the words of Clark Boyd, speaking on the DMI podcast.
AI tools you can use include:
- Adcreative.ai for creating ad copy
- Hunch a creative management platform
- Craftly for content development
- DeepBrain for video creation
- GrowthBar for SEO content
No doubt many more will be developed over the coming months and years so it’s wise to keep an eye on our AI with DMI series, and look at publications such as TechCrunch or the New York Times for new developments and AI platforms that can help drive performance.
7. Collaboration and Project Management
Digital spans business units and functional teams. It also has many layers, which means large teams are involved in the strategic execution across those functional teams.
You need two distinct skill sets here (which actually align nicely): the ability to collaborate with people across your own team and organization as a whole, and strong project management skills to ensure the campaigns are run smoothly.
Both are learned with age and experience. When I was starting out, I read a lot of books on communication and listened to my mentors’ advice on how to engage with people. I also understood early on that project management skills – no matter the role – are critical for success, because you need to know how to manage complex programs (from budget to stakeholder/partner alignment to execution).
I did get a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate. I don’t advocate that you do (unless you are passionate about it), but I do suggest you read a lot on agile project management techniques and tactics and implement them in your work environment. ‘Digital’ now means ‘real-time’ and the agile project management approach will help you succeed.
8. Digital Trends
Understanding digital trends is important if you want to stay ahead of the curve in your career. Mine is successful because I look ahead and I try to predict what will be business critical or “hot” in the future and position myself to align with that trend.
If you do that, you will always be the invaluable “expert” who management comes to when they have questions about “that new thing everyone is talking about”.
I suggest spending one or two hours a day reading. Subscribe to a list of publications in your industry and in digital that are of most interest to you and set aside time to educate yourself on what’s happening, what other experts are saying, and what your peers across industries are doing.
Here’s the key – don’t limit yourself to just your industry. Make sure you look at the best-in-class across the globe and learn from the best. Draw inspiration from wherever you can get it. And don’t be afraid to steal ideas, approaches, frameworks and blueprints. Try them out on a small scale, discard the ones that don’t work, and perfect the ones that do.
There is no secret sauce. There is no magic bullet. There are no hacks. The way you become successful is through hard work, building your internal and external network, and looking for a strategic path to pile up as many professional experiences as you can.
Never stay in a role for longer than two years unless the role continues to evolve and you continue to grow. Otherwise, outline the list of skillsets you need to possess and find the roles that will ensure you get them.
Looking to make the shift into a more senior role in the digital space? Consider enrolling in DMI’s Digital Marketing & Strategy Leadership course to learn how to manage a digital team, understand analytics, data and ethics, manage a budget, develop a digital strategy, and much more.