I was asked a question the other day. How do you know that you are a true digital marketer? That’s a great question. The truth is there is no way to measure your digital knowledge per se. There is no test that you can take. The breadth and depth of your digital knowledge and expertise is based on your personal experience. In addition, digital technology is changing every day. There is no baseline that you can gauge against.
To make it more complicated, digital knowledge can also be categorized into different fields from website design, search optimization, paid social media buy, retargeting paid ads down to personalization and data analytics. No one person can be an expert at all of it.
Personally, I’d evaluate a person’s digital knowledge based on an ability to ‘connect the dots’.
Digital is about connecting the dots
in the past, if you wanted to create print collateral, you knew there were specific layout templates that you could use. You would use that design template with some modifications and fill it with compelling copy and purposeful visuals. The good ole’ days were so much simpler.
But today, when you create digital collateral, your thinking process needs to be different. The design and copy of a digital asset are heavily dependent on where it will be displayed and how your audience will consume it. Will it be viewed on a mobile device? If so, your design should have minimal visuals and the copy needs to be structured to scroll up and down easily. The size of copy should be dynamically scaled to the form factor of the device from mobile phones and tablets to desktops, because you don’t know where this asset will be read. As a digital marketer, you also need to be concerned with the flow of information and overall user experience. That is not something that you need to think about when you just create one piece of print collateral.
Often, I’ve seen many brands just upload PDF collateral. When the readers open it on their phones, it shows the whole PDF or an entire page on a tiny screen. The readers need to pinch with 2 fingers to zoom in to see the text. If you want to continue to read, you need to scroll left and right to see the complete sentences. It’s very user-unfriendly.
I am not saying the PDF is dead. The PDF layout still works nicely for print or desktops. As a marketer, we just need to be cognizant that our content will be consumed on multiple devices and think through on how the content will come through.
Digital allows you to test and validate your assumptions
Another important element for digital marketers is testing, especially QA and AB testing.
For example, when I launched my new website, I made sure that I viewed the different pages on PCs, Macs and various phones and tablets as well as different browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox and Edge. I’ve discovered that some images or colors did not show up well on some browsers. Then, I needed to figure out how to fix that. Another characteristic of digital is the ability to do A/B testing of headlines, CTAs, creatives or whatever you want to test. That’s not something you can do easily with print.
Digital is about attention to details
How do you know if you are a digital marketer? On the digital side, everything is integrated and connected. For example, when you design a website, you need to think through the user journey and SEO, in addition to using beautiful visuals and layout. When you create content, you need to think through how and where users consume the content and what user-interface should look like to create a seamless customer experience.
If you do event marketing, you need to think through how to use email or different tech tools after events to continue to build the relationships with your new leads. Digital is complex because there are many details, bits and pieces that you need to pay attention to. Most of the time, you won’t know how everything is tied together until you dive in and start doing the work.
The best way to be a digital marketer is to work on inbound and outbound marketing, sales enablement, and even customer services. That’s how I learned to be a digital marketer. The learning never stops.
How do you grow your digital knowledge? Share your thoughts.
Let’s keep learning together.