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You have waited long enough. Whether you’re a marketing business owner, a small business owner, or a marketer, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: Everything about digital marketing grows and evolves, and you do NOT want to be left behind.

One of the most obvious metrics is digital ad spend. While it only increased by 2.4% in 2020, it is expected to increase by 17% in 2021 to reach $ 389 billion (Source: eMarketer). To put that number into perspective, global spend on ALL ads was $ 657 billion in 2020 (Source: Magna).

Even so, many people still resist digital marketing personally, professionally, and within their businesses (and maybe even their marketing firms).

If you’ve ‘interned’ even a little bit, you’re probably familiar with this meme:

Super funny! However, did you know that this is only the first part of the comic? In the original, the dog’s face FOND. Another artist made a revised version which includes the frame you see above followed by multiple frames like the one below:

I hate to say it, but if you haven’t started building your digital marketing skills, it will be you soon.

Why are you not in digital marketing?

There’s only one major reason why you may have delayed developing your digital marketing for so long: you’re resistant to change.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business Review, described ten reasons why people are resistant to change. I am paraphrasing the points below but I recommend that you read the whole thing to fully understand the situation:

Loss of control: change interferes with autonomy.
Too much uncertainty: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.
Surprise, Surprise: It’s easy to say no to sudden changes.
Everything looks different: we are creatures of habit and change is uncomfortable.
Loss of face: People are on the defensive that the old ways (their ways) are being replaced.
Competence concerns: change is resisted when it makes people stupid.
More work: change is more work.
Ripple effects: change disrupts services, customers, etc.
Past resentments: Change reminds people of their past ghosts.
Sometimes the threat is real: we resist change because it can hurt.

Digital marketing is the biggest change in marketing since television, and it is actually a much bigger one. The digital marketing environment is growing, evolving and changing every minute. Going from zero to a basic understanding of online marketing is like drinking from a fire hose that spins uncontrollably, and also on fire.

Regarding Professor Kanter’s list above, you deal with the ten on a regular basis. Here is just a short list of SOME of the situations you will face online as a digital marketer:

  • New advertising and social media platforms emerge regularly.
  • The rules and regulations of existing platforms are changing due to societal and political concerns.
  • Updates, developments and launches of devices (desktop, mobile, tablet, VR, etc.).
  • Content volume requirements exceeding previous methods by orders of magnitude.
  • Increased competition due to reduced entry and operating costs due to the availability and affordability of digital marketing.
  • Requirements for creative assets requiring graphic design, photography, videography, animation, etc.
  • Analytical evaluation skills to understand and use the massive amount of data points provided by digital marketing.

When you say “digital marketing” to someone who has resisted the modern environment, they are probably thinking of Facebook-like and Google-style online ads. It’s not just because there are dozens (and more likely hundreds) of unique aspects of digital marketing, it’s wrong because it shows a lack of understanding of the digital environment itself.

This environment provides instant access to everything related to your brand. It’s not just about your products and services and their corresponding advertisements. It provides public access to your brand’s big picture, mission, personality, voice, and intelligence (or lack of it).

Think of your brand as someone who attends the biggest speed-dating event ever and you can begin to understand how exposed you are online. When people meet your brand, are they in awe of what they see, hear, and think about your brand’s actions and presence? How could you improve your presentation?

Digital marketing isn’t a change to be feared, it’s an opportunity to be connected to your audience like never before. Either way, your brand is participating in this mega-speed-dating event and you don’t want them to be alone at the end of it.

How to become a digital marketer

how to become a digital marketer

Suppose you have recognized and overcome your resistance to change. Congratulations! Now you can start to become a digital marketer, a profession and skills that you will use for many years to come.

STEP 1: Determine your position in digital marketing

The skills you will need to develop are determined by the position you are going to occupy. A kid who graduated in graphic design doesn’t need the same skills as a senior marketing manager or owner of a local small business.

You can’t learn everything at once, and in many cases, you might not need all of the digital marketing skills. Choose your role, then determine the skills you will need for that role.

When it comes to DigitalMarketer, we send people who need the nuts and bolts of digital marketing to the lab, professionals and business owners who want to learn more about managing and executing marketing at Elite, and marketing companies and professionals who want an out-of-the-box white-label offering at our Certified Partner Program.

STEP 2: Develop the necessary digital marketing skills to fill your role

What’s the best way to banish fear? Knowledge, experience and expertise. You have to learn the skills and then practice and hone them over time. One of the benefits of digital marketing is the availability of instant feedback.

Take paid online advertising for example; Within 24 hours of running an ad on Facebook, you’ll know if and how it works. You can immediately test demographics, creative elements, ad content, and funnels.

This instant feedback on your new skills will provide you with the motivation you need to keep learning and growing.

STEP 3: Network with other beginners and professionals for you

Like any new skill, long-term motivation will be paramount in your success. You need experienced professionals to go to when you have questions, and you need other digital marketing newbies to lean on when you get discouraged.

Think of it like a gym membership, are you more likely to show up if you have a trainer there telling you how and what to do? Are you going to get up and go if your workout buddy is around to pick you up at 5am or not?

Join free online communities and see what everyone else is up to (or you can just join us of course).

STEP 4: Embrace the change and start evolving with the world of digital marketing

Digital marketing is not like learning to ride a bicycle. You cannot do it once and expect to use these same skills for success in the future. You need to be flexible, determined and motivated to continue to grow.

Fortunately, we made this easy at DigitalMarketer.

You can be the digital marketer you always wanted to be

We’ve been helping individuals, marketers, business owners and marketing firms become better digital marketers since 2011. Our founder Ryan Diess literally wrote the book on digital marketing.

What we offer goes beyond courses, workshops, and certifications (although we have hundreds of them as well). We offer a community of digital marketing professionals committed to your success and the literal ability to sell marketing through our Certified Partner Program and Ambassador Affiliate Program.

The choice is yours now. Accept the need to develop your digital marketing skills or continue to resist change (I’m sure you’ll be fine).

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