By Gaston Taratuta
The world of work has always changed and evolved in line with technological advances and major consumer shifts. Did you know, for example, that in Victorian Britain people were paid to wake factory workers up by tapping on their windows? Called knocker-uppers, they were a common sight until alarm clocks rendered them obsolete.
In recent months you may have seen articles predicting that thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT, prompt engineering will become an important and necessary career skill in the near future. Some experts even suggest that the field, which boils down to giving AI tools the best possible inputs, is so critical that it may become a career path.
But that’s just one example of where the world of work is headed. If you really want to future-proof yourself, it’s worth having a much broader view. And on that front, you could do a lot worse than keeping a close eye on the digital marketing sector.
An industry unafraid of change
Digital marketing has a long history of adapting and embracing big technological and societal shifts. From the early days of website banner ads through to innovative products on social media and streaming platforms, each advancement has required people in the sector to build up new skills to ensure that they’re providing the best possible service to their clients.
That’s unlikely to change in the near future either. According to LinkedIn, the “Digital Marketing Specialist” role is among the top 10 most in-demand jobs, with 860 000 job openings. The fact that the most requested experience in digital marketing includes social media, content strategy, SEO, and analytics, also shows how broad the field has become.
Even those specific areas of experience are changing all the time. Take online communities, for example, before 2016, when the likes of Facebook and Twitter were well established, no one had any expertise in marketing on TikTok. Today, the platform has more than a billion users and is an increasingly important part of any organisation’s digital marketing strategy. As a result, people in digital marketing have had to build up the skills necessary to market on the platform.
The same is true for every new product a social media platform launches. Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Spotify, are all unique in its form. It’s also worth remembering that a user’s experience on TikTok has nothing to do with their experience on Twitter. You seldom meet someone who understands all the platforms very well. Additionally, there are changes all the time, so to be successful in digital marketing you have to be able to learn new things and be flexible all the time.
These are also the qualities that you need to succeed in the rapidly changing world of work.
Acquiring the right skills
So, how should you go about acquiring the skills necessary to thrive in the world of digital marketing and beyond?
There is no doubt that formal certification can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re starting out on your journey. It’s part of why we launched our free Digital Ad Expert community. The 12-week course covers the basics of strategy and analytics, as well as platform-specific advertising methodologies for all the major social media platforms.
Once you have those basics in place though, self-exploration becomes critical. You have to be curious. You have to want to learn. You have to commit. By certifying yourself on all the platforms you can (this can usually be done for free). Learn things like Google Adwords, how to do marketing on Instagram, and as many other products as you can.
Getting to that point won’t take long, for some people it can take as little as six months. From there, practice and keep practising. If you don’t have a client to practise on, market yourself. Soon enough you’ll learn that, in such a fast-changing world, years of experience matter less than your ability to deliver results.
Powered by the present, ready for the future
It’s something that’s been true of digital marketing for a while now. It’s also something that’s becoming increasingly true of the world of work in general. So, if you want to be ready to face the future, look to an industry that already has a strong track record of adapting to epoch-shifting changes.