The Most In-Demand Skills in Digital Marketing in 2020
The 21st Century: An Era of Constant Change and Challenges
In only 20 years, technology has advanced at a pace never seen before. Every single industry has had to adapt to these changes and focus on digitalization in order to survive, especially throughout the recent events in the beginning of 2020.
It has become clear that if we don’t integrate technology and connectivity into our businesses, we will become obsolete. Jobs related to the digital world have become the future of all industries – in this scenario, digital marketing is growing at an exponential rate, and accompanied with this are the skills necessary to succeed.
Digital marketers are constantly adapting to the latest tools, strategies, and best practices. However, spanning across such a diverse range of core areas can be difficult for marketers. They also need to hone in on the key skills needed for long-term career growth.
As digital marketers, we need to not only have knowledge of current online media channels, but also have a creative and analytical mindset in order to overcome challenges–all while being able to predict future trends.
So how do we evaluate the necessary skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing digital world?
In this article, we'll take a look at what we consider to be the most in-demand digital marketing skills in 2020.
Content Writing & Content Strategy
It is no surprise that content writing and content strategy development is at the top of this list. The ability to communicate in a clear and concise way has become one of the most important skills that digital marketers need to develop in order to stand out in an ocean of information.
But content creation has changed: forget blog posts or a logo catchphrase; content is now embedded into every single aspect of your marketing strategy. At the heart of any marketing strategy with multiple channels, quality content is the fuel that drives performance for each of these mediums.
Content needs to engage, educate, and captivate your target users. For a digital marketer, it's essential to identify the best channels for your brand and create a shared value that allows for long-lasting relationships with your audience.
From blog posts to videos, ebooks, webinars, social posts, events, and emails (I could go on and on here...), every digital marketer needs to understand the value of each of these channels in order to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Here are some recommendations for content strategy development courses:
In recent years, we've seen a shift towards decision-making based on data analysis.
Brands are no longer relying on intuition or traditional strategies. Tracking and measuring every single aspect of data has become an essential process when trying to understand what is driving value. Technology has made it possible to measure every single action and its impact within a marketing campaign. In the past, brands would rely less on stats and assume the impact of a TV, radio, or billboard ad.
Data analytics has become one of the most necessary and important skills that marketers need to master in order to execute effective and meaningful marketing campaigns.
As this data-driven mentality has taken a prominent role in every industry, digital marketers need to be both creative and have an understanding on how to track and measure events across multiple channels and platforms.
And we're not just talking about Google Analytics. Other tools like Tag Manager, Hotjar, and SQL have become equally as important. The need for generating predictive models based on data is why this skill is ranked at #2 on our list and is a must for any digital marketing professional.
Check out Google Academy for fundamental and advanced training in Data Analytics and Google Tag Manager:
Complementary to data analytics, data visualization is a skill that has become very important for digital marketers in order to create interactive and engaging experiences when reporting results obtained through data driven strategies.
This isn't just a minor skill that would be "good to have".
Being able to present information in a clear way is just as (if not more) important as understanding the data you are presenting.
For companies and brands, decision making based on data is only possible through an effective visualization of that data. This means having the skills to combine analyses from multiple channels and generate variables and graphs which present information clearly and effectively.
You may have thousands of spreadsheets of data, but the way in which the data are presented and visualized has become a must for making strategic marketing decisions. Data Studio and Tableau are the essential tools used in data visualization, so we recommend familiarizing yourself with these to start.
Here are some courses on Data Visualization:
SEO is not something new within digital marketing. Positioning content or a website on the top positions of any search engine is key for long term success.
Even though the theory behind SEO is simple, the actual process of performing successful SEO is one of the most complicated tasks in the marketing world since it feeds off all the other parts of a digital marketing strategy and the exact algorithm that search engines use is constantly changing.
So how do you optimize for SEO? This is where the creativity of digital marketers comes into place. There is no single way to "do SEO". It is a combination of different tools and techniques that will eventually pay off in the long run.
In 2020, SEO has been shown to drive an average conversion rate of 14% from organic website traffic. When compared to paid acquisition channels that average just 1.6%, we can get a sense of having a solid SEO strategy.
From researching keyword search queries, writing content with a concise intent, fixing site errors, structuring websites in a particular way, building backlinks, and understanding UX insights, SEO is in itself a skill that encapsulates multiple marketing skills. As paid acquisition channels keep growing, SEO has become one of the most important strategies that every digital marketer needs to focus on for long-term success.
If you want to learn more about SEO, I recommend checking out Google Academy tutorials to start. Then, you should consider tools which can help you improve your SEO, such as SEMrush, Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Moz.
Here's a training starter-pack if you're new SEO:
Social Media Marketing
With more social media platforms than ever before, the role of social media marketing has been evolving at a tremendous pace. No matter what your business model is, there is a social media platform that will work for you, both organically for driving traffic and through paid advertising.
The skills required for effective social media strategies are shifting constantly and recruiters consider these skills to be a priority when looking for candidates.
Social media was primarily used by brands interested in communicating and directly interacting with users.
That's no longer the case today. Now we see that content, data tracking, and the need for creating shared value with customers are of the utmost importance. As such, digital marketers have to develop multi-platform strategies that integrate social media and cross-measure the data collected from each source.
Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube have dominated the social media world for a while. But other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, and even private messaging platforms have risen to become an essential part of a brand strategy as well.
Developing your social media marketing skills is very important as it combines content creation, data driven measurement, and predictive analytics in order to understand how to maximize results.
Here are some recommended courses to increase your skills in social media marketing:
With COVID affecting the entire world, companies have noticed that without a public-facing website, they have little to no chance of success.
But it doesn't stop there. What a lot of brands are seeing is that they can have the best marketing strategy in the world–yet they're still falling short because their website is not up to their market's standards.
Designing engaging landing pages, communicating content in an effective way, guiding users through your website, and trying to keep them engaged has become one of the most important skills that any digital marketer needs.
This does not mean that we need to know how to write code or know every app on Adobe Creative Cloud. Like SEO, digital marketers need to develop a theoretical framework from which to understand how to layout a website or app that will keep users engaged.
This will only become more and more important in the future as interactive content generation and engagement with users online become the main ways that brands communicate with their users in an original way. Design thinking will become the theoretical foundation of marketing strategies as we continue to connect in different ways with each other.
These are some great free courses on UX design and design thinking, but there are plenty of options for beginners and advanced users:
Nearly all digital marketers know email marketing like they know the back of their hand. It has been integral to digital strategies for a long time.
With over 3.5 billion email users in the world, having a clear understanding on how to use email marketing for brand outreach is key. But be careful. Too many emails with filler content can be detrimental to a brand's overall marketing strategy.
In order to deliver a good email marketing strategy, we need to understand which users we are targeting and why.
When connecting with subscribers, brands should bring added value to their audience. If a customer left an item in their cart but never completed their purchase, that's an instance where email could potentially reengage the user and, hopefully, nudge them to purchase.
In any conversion funnel, if the user has started a process but left halfway through, you can use email marketing to remind them to complete the desired action. You can also A/B test the content of the email and compare visualization rates and interactions. The versatility email marketing provides makes it a very important part of any 360 strategy (even if it has been around for quite a while).
Here are some courses on Email Marketing that can be helpful:
We've gone through a list of the most in-demand skills in digital marketing in 2020.
While you need to have some preliminary knowledge of these platforms, the ultimate goal of this list is to present complementary skills that are intertwined with general strategy development.
However, there is one skill worth mentioning before we finish this article, and we consider it the most important of all: understanding that, as a digital marketer, you'll need to collaborate with every team in your company.
There is no single strategy that works without understanding that there has to be a 360 degree approach. While having the technical know-how needed to do your job is essential, it's important to develop your technical and personal skills in tandem.
Working with programmers, graphic designers, sales, customer service, and support teams is the most valuable skill of all. Understanding that, in order to generate a great strategy, you have to consider every team in relation to their goals, as well as the overarching goals of your company.
A marketing strategy is useless without really considering how it relates to the greater business objectives. So the most important skill of all is to be able to communicate and collaborate with humility and passion.