By simply accessing the Internet frequently and observing different Web site designs, advertising campaigns, marketing techniques, and the increasing number of e-commerce sites, you can gain an insight into the field. Contact advertising and marketing workers and set up information interviews. At the interview ask them questions about their educational backgrounds, what they like about the work, what important skills someone wanting to enter the field should have, and any other things you are interested in knowing about this work.
Obtain experience in advertising and marketing by working on your school newspaper or yearbook or by finding a part-time or summer job at an advertising or marketing firm (especially one that specializes in digital marketing/advertising). You can also create an online advertising or marketing campaign for a real or imaginary product or service. Consider creating a campaign for your favorite video game, the Kindle, your favorite Apple app, or the iPhone.
While the work of digital marketing professionals can vary depending on their place of employment and the project at hand, they all work toward the same goal: to drive more traffic to a company’s Web site or other digital resources and sell more products or services.
One major area of work for digital marketing workers is the revision or creation of a company’s Web site. If the Web site already exists, digital marketing workers study it to ensure it's an effective marketing tool for the company’s products or services. They might ask the following questions: Is the site attractive to potential customers? Is it is easy to navigate? Is there enough information available about the products or services? Is purchasing a product easy? Are there any features that may deter customers from completing a purchase? How does the site compare to those of competitors? Once these questions are answered, the workers revise and revamp the Web site to make it a more effective marketing tool.
Digital marketing professionals may create a brand-new Web site for a company. In doing so, they consider the company’s marketing goals, design elements, user interface, purchasing interface, and the actual products or services that will be marketed. A team of artists, art directors, photographers, graphic designers, stylists, and copywriters may work together to collect images and create merchandise presentations and product descriptions that stay true to the retailer’s brand.
In addition, digital marketing workers are responsible for implementing an e-commerce strategy that addresses concerns such as retail competition, special promotions, and the overall performance of the site. They must identify the company’s potential market (teens who like to play video games, young parents who are interested in using online investing services, etc.), customers' expectations regarding a Web site (state-of-the-art graphics and vivid colors, quick-loading pages, a straightforward, conservative look, etc.), and customers' buying habits. Customers who shop online typically have very different buying habits than those who purchase products in brick-and-mortar stores. For example, a customer who shops online might like the immediacy of being able to shop at home, but may also be seeking quick delivery options or a large selection of products from which to choose. Others may use the Web site to conduct research, but follow up by purchasing the product on the telephone or by visiting a brick-and-mortar store.
Digital marketing professionals work closely with Web site developers and webmasters in creating and overseeing sites that customers can locate via search engines. Web developers determine the overall goals, layout, and performance limitations of a Web site after receiving input from marketing, sales, advertising, and other departments. They design the site and write the code necessary to run and navigate it. To make the site, they must have working knowledge of Internet programming languages and the latest in graphic file formats and other Web production tools. Webmasters maintain and update Internet Web sites. They have working knowledge of network configurations, programming languages, digital design, software development, business, writing, marketing, and project management.
Search engine marketers (SEMs), also known as search engine optimization specialists, are responsible for ensuring that clients’ Web sites score high on search engine results. They research a client’s products or services, and develop advertisements using concise descriptions and keywords that will place their company’s Web site high in search rankings. SEMs optimize ad campaigns with the most effective keywords so potential consumers are directed to the client’s Web site during a search—the ultimate goal is to rank as high as possible in a search engine’s top 10 results. Search engine marketers are skilled at using HTML coding and analytical tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Another type of digital marketing worker is the pay-per-click specialist (PPC). PPCs research sites, or content providers, that have an interest or relation to their client’s business. For example, a PPC representing clients who sell video games may contact the online manager of a video game magazine’s Web site to convince him or her to place banner ads or sponsored links at the site. Clicking on these banners or links will direct the user to the advertiser’s Web site. PPCs regularly monitor log files to determine the number of visits or "clicks," and then pay the content provider accordingly. PPCs are highly sought after for digital marketing campaigns because of their ability to understand consumers' behavior and target audiences.
Digital marketing workers who specialize in working with social media include community managers, online reputation managers, social media directors, and vice-presidents of social strategy, among others.
There are many other types of marketing workers. These professionals work at marketing firms or in the marketing firms of digital media companies.
Guided by a research director, marketing research analysts collect, analyze, and interpret data in order to determine potential demand for a product or service. By examining the buying habits, wants, needs, and preferences of consumers, research analysts are able to recommend ways to improve products, increase sales, and expand customer bases. Researchers also gather information about competitors' products, prices, sales, and advertising and marketing methods. For example, a researcher for the division of Amazon that produces its Kindle e-reader would investigate the products of competitors, such as Barnes & Nobles Nook or Kobo's Glo.
Although marketing research analysts often recommend which media to use for an advertising campaign, media planners are the specialists who determine which media (print, broadcast, Internet, etc.) will be the most effective. Ultimately, they are responsible for choosing the combination of media that will reach the greatest number of potential buyers for the least amount of money, based on their clients' advertising strategies. Accordingly, planners must be familiar with the markets that each medium reaches, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of advertising in each.