How To Become a Digital Marketing Executive in 5 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 28, 2022

Published May 3, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital marketing executives are the leaders of a company's digital marketing team. Becoming a digital marketing executive requires an extensive background in digital marketing and a fundamental understanding of leadership and teamwork. Since digital marketing executives usually need specific training, education and experience to reach the executive level, it's important to understand these requirements if you want to pursue this career.

In this article, we explain a digital marketing executive’s job duties and list the steps to take to become a digital marketing executive, and we describe common skills for this role and its salary and job outlook.

What does a digital marketing executive do?

A digital marketing executive is a business's digital marketing leader. The digital marketing executive collaborates with the other executives in the company and works closely with other departments to ensure the marketing plans align with the company vision and are helping generate revenue. A digital marketing executive’s exact duties can vary based on their employer, but common duties include:

  • Formulating a business's digital marketing plan from conception to implementation

  • Researching keywords and other marketing topics in order to anticipate market and user trends

  • Leading the digital marketing team in increasing web traffic in order to generate conversions

  • Using data analytics and reporting tools to inform strategies and improve future digital marketing campaigns

  • Developing partnerships with external stakeholders and partners and pitching ideas for collaboration

Because digital marketing strategies take place across multiple channels, it’s important for digital marketing executives to have a mastery of the following topics:

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Content marketing

  • Email marketing

  • Search engine marketing

  • Social media marketing

  • Video marketing

  • Website marketing

Related: What Is Marketing Management? Definition, Skills and Salary

How to become a digital marketing executive

A digital marketing executive is a senior-level position, so you can expect to first work in entry- and mid-level marketing roles as you acquire the experience and skills necessary for this advanced role. Here's an example of a typical digital marketing executive career path:

1. Get a degree in marketing or a related field

Many digital marketing executives start their career with a bachelor's degree in marketing, business administration or communications. Pursuing one of these degrees can help you gain knowledge of basic marketing tactics, business and persuasive language. During your degree, you may seek to complete a marketing internship to learn more about the field and apply your skills in a practical work environment.

2. Become an SEO expert

SEO is a core component of digital content, and it’s the practice of optimizing content to rank higher on search engines. With a thorough understanding of SEO, you can create fully optimized content quickly and affordably.

There are many online SEO courses and tutorial videos that offer opportunities to expand your SEO knowledge. You can also obtain certifications specific to popular search engines or more comprehensive certifications that address optimizing content for multiple search engines or platforms.

Related: 25 Digital Marketing Certifications

3. Launch ad campaigns

As you gain experience in entry- and mid-level marketing careers, working on ad campaigns can give you familiarity with different types of marketing and advertising. Successful ad campaigns engage readers and viewers, so mastering multiple types of advertising and marketing can help you expand an audience and gain more data to analyze:.

  • PPC advertising: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is very common to the industry, and it helps drive audience traffic to websites. In this model, the advertiser only pays the ad publisher at a rate proportionate to the number of people who click on the advertisement.

  • Social media advertising: Both paid and organic social media advertisements can potentially reach new audience members, and it can be crucial in building brand identity and recognition.

  • Email marketing: Although social media is popular, marketers still rely on email to generate leads, connect with consumers directly and close deals. Knowing how to write engaging and reusable email templates that you can easily customize for new campaigns or clients can save you time and increase your chances of success with this strategy.

  • Content marketing: Informational or entertaining video, audio, image and text content can support an ad campaign by capturing audience interest and subtly directing them toward your products or services. Developing and optimizing content marketing materials helps you establish brand identity and credibility.

Related: Organic Search vs. Paid Search in 2022: What’s the Difference?

4. Increase your team management skills

 As you work toward an executive role, focus on learning team management skills to improve your credibility and efficiency in a leadership position. Consider taking on projects with multiple team members, offer to lead the marketing team on specific projects or take courses on leadership and team management.

Digital marketing executives are responsible for delegating tasks and motivating their teams, so advanced leadership skills will help you complete large-scale projects successfully.

Related: The 5 Best Marketing Skills To Include on Your Resume

5. Diversify your skills and knowledge

Digital marketing is a constantly changing field, so digital marketing executives pursue new skills and knowledge in order to adapt. Understanding the latest data analytics and reporting tools helps you with strategic planning, and staying current with industry publications informs you about changes in trends or practices.

You can also attend conferences, seminars and virtual workshops. You might also enjoy creating your own seminars and workshops for others, as it gives you the chance to expand your professional network and emphasize your credibility in the field.

Related: What Is a Marketing Executive? (Duties, Salary and Skills)

Digital marketing executive skills

Digital marketing executives use both hard and soft skills in their roles. In addition to the knowledge mentioned above, some common skills include:

  • Communication skills: Great leadership depends on good communication, so digital marketing executives use verbal and written communication skills to better connect with and lead their team. They also use this knowledge when strategizing about how to best connect with a particular audience segment.

  • Creativity: Creativity helps digital marketing executives develop new and innovative marketing techniques. This mindset also helps encourage the team to think outside of the standard pathway to solve problems.

  • Web analytics tools: The digital marketing executive uses experience with web analytics tools to track your marketing performance and use the data to improve campaign strategies.

  • HTML/CSS: As a digital marketing executive, you may need some experience in coding languages like HTML and CSS in order to work with specific marketing or content creation software.

  • B2C experience: A typical digital marketing executive has an extensive understanding of B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing strategies. Having this understanding helps you effectively promote products and services.

Read more: 15 Top Skills for a Digital Marketing Expert

Digital marketing executive salary and job outlook

The average salary for marketing executives is $59,439 per year. Factors that can influence salary include years of experience, marketing specializations, geographic location, size of employer and the size and scale of the digital marketing campaigns on which you work. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the related roles of advertising, promotions and marketing managers will increase 10% between 2020 and 2030. The BLS expects that companies may be in particular need of digital media experts as more businesses implement digital marketing strategies in order to remain competitive.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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