Study: Marketers’ Roles Are Changing. What They Need To Succeed

Do marketers practice what they preach? And are they being rewarded for it? In an industry where best practices are constantly shifting as a result of new technology and trends, marketers need to keep up. They need to keep themselves relevant in order to keep their brands relevant, too.

It seems that marketers today are eager to expand their skill sets, but many don’t know how. What’s more, these marketers know all the “buzz” strategies, yet many don’t apply them to their own work. Despite that, many marketers saw promotions and comfortable pay raises in the past year, and average salaries continue to be competitive in the search marketing industry.

The Perplexed Marketer

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, 64 percent of marketers surveyed expected their role to change in the next year, according to the “Digital Roadblock” report by Adobe. And while 40 percent said they wanted to reinvent their role as a marketer, only 14 percent felt they knew how.

Adobe Marketing Survey

It’s not just the pace of change that alters the roles of marketers; 73 percent cited the expanded number of channels and platforms needed to reach audiences as drivers. That means new skills to adopt and new things to learn.

Particularly within companies that spend a significant amount on marketing, reinvention is key with 82 percent saying marketers need to reinvent themselves to succeed.


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Sometimes it’s not so easy to keep up, which makes practicing what you preach even harder. According to the Adobe survey, 39 percent of marketers said “thinking social first” is something they say, but don’t do very well themselves. And 49 percent of marketers still “trust their gut” when it comes to marketing spend, which is the antithesis of what many advise on a daily basis.


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If you’re in an enterprise marketing environment, consider the following:

  • Provide regular training when new platforms and channels are introduced into the marketing mix
  • Ensure your team is up-to-date on the latest certifications available in their area of focus
  • Find opportunities for team members to cross-train one another, sharing methodologies and practices that can enhance their existing skill sets

Marketing Roles & Their Rewards

Digital marketers are in a constant state of professional growth. In fact, 61 percent of those surveyed for the BrightEdge “2014 Search Marketer ” survey said there was a promotion on their team in 2013.

With that came more responsibility (79 percent), pay raises (63 percent) and higher titles (57 percent).

BrightEdge 2014 Search Survey

Skills Marketers Need To Succeed

This ever-changing landscape of digital marketing means building up skill sets that keep the marketer relevant and primed for promotions.

Kirill Kronrod, senior global SEO manager at Adobe Systems, believes that the ability to analyze and interpret data will be crucial for marketers looking to stay on top. “For larger organizations, we really need to understand the numbers,” he said, “so analytical skills are going to be a big focus for web marketers.”

Other professional skills he said were crucial in today’s marketing environment included:

  • The ability to prioritize when there are multiple projects and areas of impact. “SEOs need to run ‘impact vs. difficulty’ analyses to make sure we’re focusing on the most impactful areas.”
  • Subject matter expertise — specifically, knowing the products/services/solutions that the brand markets.
  • Technical SEO skills, with development and coding experience a “must.”

Kronrod said that regardless of the skill set a marketer has, how they respond to change is most important. ”One skill that’s not easily quantified is how to approach SEO. The SEO manager needs a startup mentality. You can never rest; you can never say, ‘OK, the project is done now.’ You have to be iterative and think outside the box.”

With the creative side of traditional marketing increasingly converging with the technical and analytical side of web marketing, building teams that have the right balance of both creates harmony in marketing.

“We lead with data,” said Kronrod, “but we think about user experience to ensure we have very appealing content. It’s definitely a balance.”

To get the most from your marketing teams:

  • First, analyze the opportunities for your brand’s marketing, then allocate budgets and staff based on your priorities. That way, roles are more clearly defined, and more specialized talent can flourish.
  • Look for staff with not only the right mix of marketing skills, but also flexible ways of thinking and working that will allow your teams to be agile in the face of change.

“You have to be CEO of your own program. You cannot just wait for somebody to define your responsibilities. You have to really drive yourself,” said Kronrod.

Digital Marketing Salaries

The time is now for able marketers. With competitive pay for competitive skills, marketing professionals are wise to plug into the brands that value those skill sets as they work to implement cutting-edge marketing programs.

Of those 63 percent who experienced a pay raise in the past year, the majority (55 percent) saw a 10 percent to 25 percent climb, according to BrightEdge’s survey. Not too shabby considering the average pay raise at mid- to large-sized companies is expected to be 3 percent in 2014.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Marketing Strategies Column


About The Author: is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO Platform. He combines in-depth expertise in developing and marketing large on-demand software platforms with hands-on experience in advanced SEO practices


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  • Lisa

    Thanks for the information! Any sources for salary ranges? Just sold my last business and may consider playing with creative and analytic marketing.


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