Why digital marketing managers have become the innovators of the marketing team

Why digital marketing managers have become the innovators of the marketing team

Digital marketing is clearly shaping marketing departments everywhere. But the Digital Marketing Manager role is itself becoming a test bed.

Companies are increasingly shaping this role as a means for trying out new ways of working within Marketing. Think agile working, focusing intensively on projects, rarely staying in one place.

Abbey Bennett, Recruitment Consultant, Marketing at VMAGROUP, says many large companies in the UK are creating Centres of Excellence, relocating functions including Marketing out of costly inner city locations and creating in-house agency set-ups.

“The work of a Digital Marketing Manager is becoming more project-based, fluid and involves working across Communications and IT with a lot more automation through the use of digital marketing platforms – and this is likely to happen in other marketing roles in future,” says Abbey.

So this is the agile future being shaped by the Digital Marketing Manager role.

Is demand stronger than supply at present or vice versa? Why is this?

Abbey: “Demand is very high as digital is at the forefront of the agenda. Two of the key challenges affecting professionals is both lack of training and development and, or, lack of genuine investment in these new digital tools by their companies; it’s a catch-22 for some candidates looking for their next role and progression.

“Mathematics, computer science and other technical degrees are in higher demand due to the increase in technicality of the digital marketing manager role. Strong demand for these key skills means that companies are also taking into consideration your degree.”

What are a Digital Marketing Manager’s typical responsibilities?

“It varies widely and this can be confusing for job hunters and hiring managers. It could be purely organic, paid, PPC, SEO or a real mix of all of these areas depending on the organisation and team structure.

“The more technical roles involve working with marketing automation Product Architects and we’ve seen a clear uptick in this area.”

Abbey Bennett

What is the salary range?

“At manager level, salaries can range from £40k to £60k base plus bonus and benefits depending on sector and scope of the role; the highest paid being in professional and financial services with the low end being membership bodies, education, local government and so on.”

Is it usually considered a senior, mid-level or fairly junior role?

“It’s a key role for organisations with lots of responsibility. It can hold either or both project and people management responsibilities, usually up to three or four direct reports and the number of projects can vary widely dependant on the organisation.’’

In which function does it usually sit and to whom would a Digital Marketing Manager report?

“Within ‘agile’ working environments it’s less prescribed, being more open and project-focused. In larger businesses, it could report to the Head of Marketing; and for smaller ones the CMO or Marketing Director. With owner-managed businesses it’s not uncommon for this role to be the most senior marketer, reporting to the CEO or Founder.”

What hard skills do you need? What about soft skills?

“Lots of experience with digital tools really helps and it suits someone who likes to draw trends from data. So being able to navigate an Excel document well is a key skill. From an agile perspective, skills like multi-tasking, multi-project management, flexibility and being happy in a non-hierarchical set-up are important too.”

Which sectors usually hire for this role?

“We’re seeing high demand from most sectors, with lots of investment in digital across the board.”

What types of role do people usually have before they become Digital Marketing Managers?

“Typically Marketing Executives, and on occasion those from content, social and product backgrounds looking to broaden their experience.”

What advice would you give to prospective candidates before applying?

“Make sure your CV contains the right buzz words. You need to be explicit by including a toolbox that shows – if you were able to measure outcomes in your previous role – what you achieved in facts and figures.

“I’d recommend getting as much exposure to organic, paid, PPC and SEO – as many of these areas as possible – before taking on a more specialist digital marketing manager role so you have a better understanding of how everything connects and you can find out what you enjoy the most.”

If you were interviewing someone for the post, what would be your key question?

“Not a single question but an approach. I would pick three projects where you had the opportunity to measure outcomes, familiarise yourself with those outcomes, and always relate your answers back to those top three projects.”