I used to think marketing was a magical concept, a gift that some professionals had and others didn’t, even though I’ve been working in digital marketing since 2012. Marketers and small business owners are an interesting bunch, and I suffered from pretty extreme impostor syndrome thanks to some negative experiences early in my career.
Digital marketing is a pretty straightforward discipline. You’re using technology to help sell products through the internet (or using the internet to bring customers to physical stores). You can build awareness through social media campaigns, paid advertising, and content marketing. You can use analytics to track the success of an email marketing blast.
If you plan, design, or build display ads, you’re a digital marketer. If you write SEO copy, alt text, or descriptions for websites, you’re a digital marketer. If you build anything digital as part of a greater marketing plan to help a business gain leads and earn sales, then you’re definitely a digital marketer.
I got my start as a blogger, which led to a career building WordPress websites for small businesses. I’ve dabbled in UX design, business development, email marketing, analytics, and yet I still didn’t consider myself to be a marketer. Why? Other marketers, naturally.
Marketing has a very low barrier to entry. As I mentioned before, it’s a straightforward discipline. You’re strategizing ways to help businesses create brand awareness and motivate customers to make a purchase. It’s all about data, knowing your product, and understanding your target market. It’s also about testing, experimenting, and never expecting perfection. It’s kind of a lot of work, to be honest.
Since anyone can call themselves a marketer, many employed digital marketers feel the pressure to gatekeep and discourage others from joining the field. I once worked for a marketing director who convinced me I had no idea what I was talking about when it came to marketing. My self esteem suffered and we clashed a lot.
After the job didn’t work out, I did some reflection and realized that this company had no marketing plans or goals. I knew my boss was just winging it, but I genuinely thought she must be some genius who could work without a plan. The company still doesn’t define goals, use data to measure to success, and struggles to grow.
So if you’ve been on the fence about learning marketing, or if you’ve been doubting your skills and abilities like I have, take heart. This is the golden age of free online learning, and there’s never been a better time to learn digital marketing. You might already know a thing or two!