The Ideal Skillset for Digital Marketing

So you want to join a digital marketing agency? Look, this is becoming THE area to get into so if you are going to succeed then you need to stand out from the proverbial crowd.

Your CV has to convince those edgy digital marketing types that you are able and willing to slot into this fast-moving arena. However, be aware that just as you are desperate to join them, they are desperate to hire you: but only IF you fit the bill.

Recent research indicates that employers are struggling to find suitable employees. Part of the reason is that, whilst there are a lot of jobs to be filled in this area, it is also essential to employ people with the right skillset. People who will fit into the organisation, team and role not only in terms of their ability but also their motivation.

According to Joshua Behr, President of Wearable Technology at Maxima Group Ltd: “It’s certainly true that college and University curriculums have not caught up to the technological landscape in which digital marketers work today. But that’s only half the problem. The other problem is that many digital marketing teams are small to medium-sized and place high emphasis on finding not only the right candidate for the job, but the right candidate for their team. This makes the hiring process more sluggish than in other areas.”

So what kinds of skills and qualities do you need to be an attractive hiring prospect for a digital marketing agency?

Let’s break down these into two groups. Firstly the digital marketing skills and secondly the equally important “soft skills” that underpin them.

Top 5 digital marketing skills

At the beginning of 2017, the Digital Marketing Institute outlined its top five important digital marketing skills for 2017 as follows:

Search Engine Optimization

As 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine you need to have Search Engine Optimisation skills to be able to succeed in digital marketing. In particular you need an awareness of the importance of effective keyword research, how to determine optimal length and relevance of content, and how to ensure quality links. You will then be able to offer the ability to help a client drive more traffic and gain more conversions.

Video Content Marketing

This year video marketing is expected to account for 69% of all consumer traffic. YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine and landing pages with videos can generate 800% more conversions. Therefore taking the time to get to grips with video content marketing will put you in a strong position to advise clients how to use video marketing to reach a larger audience and make their brand distinctive and memorable.

Social Media Communities

As well as using social channels to advertise and communicate news, a key skill is being able to create a positive customer experience and nurture your community. Learning how to identify the needs, challenges and preferences of your target audience, then engaging with them and developing meaningful social relationships with them is time consuming but well worth it. Also check out our recent blog Is Social Media Worth It? to see how the impact social media marketing can be effectively measured.

Marketing Automation

As the digital marketing landscape is ever expanding, there will be an increasing amount of tasks to be done. Marketing automation can be the answer. 91% of the most successful marketing automation users have found it to be essential to the overall success of their multichannel marketing. It enables you to set up workflows to share tailored and personalised content, use trigger emails, perform faster follow-ups and schedule ongoing communications. It is the perfect tool for creating integrated cross-channel marketing campaigns and establishing a consistent brand presence across a variety of platforms, including social, email and text.


The ability to interpret results and then incorporate them into appropriate action is an indispensable skill. You will be able to bring a data-driven approach to clients, enabling them to make their digital marketing strategy more targeted and specific whatever the budget. You will be able to constantly assess and improve the effectiveness of what you are doing.

Top 5 soft skills

Work Ethic

These days in any job you need to be prepared to work hard and digital marketing is no exception. It is not the place simply for laid-back, creative thinking and wonderful ideas: you will need to put all of that creativity into action using any combination of skills from the above list. There will be deadlines to be met and quality standards to keep to, irregular hours and many obstacles along the way. A strong work ethic is one of the fundamental factors for success in digital marketing.


Empathy is also referred to as emotional intelligence, but could be summed up in terms of do you “get” people – and do they get you? Are you able to tune into their wavelength and understand not only what’s being said but the non-verbal cues and vibe behind the words? No matter how skilled you are in all the above digital marketing skills, if you are unable to relate empathetically to clients and co-workers you will not be effective in the world of digital marketing.

Culture Fit

Closely related to empathy, this means would you fit into your organisation and into your team? Are you singing from the same proverbial hymn sheet? A truly effective team is greater than the sum of all the parts: it consists not just of everyone performing their allocated role(s) but an indefinable chemistry between them that just works. Culture fit is more than paying lip service to the stated values of the organisation, it’s unconsciously becoming a true part of the lifeblood of the organisation and reflecting that to others.


A tough one this. On the one hand you do not want to be the employee who is always questioning everything and getting on everyone’s nerves instead of getting on with the job. Nor do you want to be the one who is always vocalising about better ways that things could be done instead of actually doing them. But on the other hand, it is good to have a curious and questioning mind about why things are the way they are. In digital marketing answers matter and to have the guts and incisiveness to dig deeper or think outside the box can be a real strength. Just make sure you strike a healthy balance between doing and improving.

Excellent Presentation

Last but by no means least. You need to present yourself well in every way to succeed in digital marketing. Can you scrub up well and string words together so that you are not an embarrassment in front of clients? Are you able to give a presentation and handle questions without having a meltdown? When preparing presentations and writing content are you able to write and present that information in an easily readable format with no spelling or grammatical errors? Can you explain things clearly? Being able to absorb information, summarise the key points, then put it into a presentable format is another invaluable skill in the world of digital marketing.

So if you want either to start working in a digital marketing agency, or to improve your overall skillset in digital marketing, consider the ten points above and see where you need to improve to make yourself irresistibly employable.