Digital marketing skills and experience
Digital marketing skills and experience

Skills or Experience: What's More Important for Digital Marketers?

Since this blog was initially published, the curriculum has been updated to be even more relevant to the modern marketer. As of Fall 2022, Emerson College is proud to offer our reimagined Master of Arts in Marketing, previously known as the Master’s of Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA).


Depending on who you ask, you may hear that specific digital marketing skills matter far more than the previous positions listed on your resume. Or you may be told the opposite: that skills can be learned as you go, but workplace experience shapes and prepares you in ways that are irreplaceable. These opinions may seem to be inherently at odds with each other, but the truth rests somewhere in the middle. When it comes to a career in digital marketing, both experience and skills matter. But that doesn’t have to mean doing twice the work in order to both acquire the skills and then gain the experience. Instead, skills and experience developed in tandem can set a professional up to be a successful marketer. 

In this post, we will take a look at the reasons why skill development is so important. We’ll do the same for the vital role of experience. If you’re feeling like you lack in one of those areas, or both, don’t despair just yet! Skills and experience are often too narrowly defined, keeping professionals from seeing the skill sets and professional experiences they have already developed or are positioned to begin developing right away. Let’s take a look. 

What Is the Outlook for Digital Marketing and Analytics?

To say that the demand for data is rising is quite the understatement. Business Insider reports that the Data Center Infrastructure market is projected to reach a total market size of $230.169 billion in 2025, up from $155.201 billion in 2019. In the retail market, global big data analytics were valued at 4.43 billion in 2019. By 2027, they are expected to reach a valuation of 17.85 billion. 

Companies are relying on data to gain meaningful insights into the marketplace, their customers, and pathways to long-term organizational sustainability. Well-executed data analysis reduces guesswork, bolsters educated predictions, and increases measurable outcomes. All industries need professionals with finely tuned data analytics and digital marketing skills in order to reach consumers in an online age.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of marketing research analyst and marketing specialist positions will increase by 18% between 2019–2029. which is remarkably larger than the national projection of 4% for all occupations. The job outlook is bright for digital marketers who are pursuing management roles as well. The BLS projects that marketing manager roles will increase by 7% between 2019–2029, which is quite a bit faster than the average growth projection rate of 4% for all occupations. 

There’s no doubt about it—digital marketing skills are, well, marketable! 

Digital marketing specialties

What Do Marketing Companies Look for in Employees?

The increase in available data and resulting demand for professionals who are skilled at making that data understandable and useful has heavily influenced corporations’ perspectives on what defines a successful marketer. MarketingWeek found that eight of top 10 in-demand marketing skills relate to data or hard skills. Those skills, and their respective increases in demand, are:

  • Paid social media: +116.4%
  • Ad serving: +84.6%
  • Analytics: +46.1%
  • Social media advertising: +45.9%
  • Marketing consulting: +36%
  • Creativity: +35.4%
  • Content marketing: +31.9%
  • Web content marketing: +30.3%
  • Instagram: 28.4%
  • Social media optimization: +26.2% 

The evidence couldn’t be any more clear: well-honed digital marketing skills are imperative for any professional who wants to be a successful marketer. But what about other, softer skills that have long been associated with marketing expertise, like communication skills and intuition? Do those still matter? Let’s find out.

The Skills of a Successful Marketer

While data analytics are in high demand in today’s marketplace, they have not replaced the importance of communication skills, creativity, or intuition in marketing strategy. Rather, a data-driven approach to marketing works best in tandem with these skills.

Since we looked at some of the hard digital marketing skills necessary for a successful marketer in the prior section, let’s consider some of the other skills that can lead to a successful career in digital marketing:

  • Attention to detail: By looking closely at each step of a process, campaign, or decision, successful marketers can better solve problems and understand their markets
  • Multi-tasking: Marketers always have several irons in the fire—a social media marketing initiative here, an email there, a landing pages initiative here, a content marketing campaign there. The ability to move calmly from one project to the next with agility is a fundamental skill.
  • Active learning: With consumer data rushing toward them at the speed of sound, the best marketing professionals develop the ability to intake, comprehend, and plan in response to new information on a daily basis.
  • Communication and collaboration: Moni Oloyede, senior marketing operations manager at Fidelis Cybersecurity, says that these are the “biggest soft skills” marketing technologists—whose jobs revolve around marketing and IT—need to have as they navigate teams and markets with varying levels of technological expertise, data knowledge, and creative vision.

By combining the science of data with the art of design, a successful marketer leverages every skill in their skill set to create and execute excellent marketing campaigns ranging from landing pages to content marketing, search engine optimization to social media posts.

Digital marketing skills

The Value of Experience for a Career in Digital Marketing

In years past, experience has often felt like that elusive necessity rising professionals needed in order to get where they want to be in their careers. Hiring managers often want to see a good bit of experience on an applicant’s resume, but how can you get experience before someone hires you? While there’s no substitute for workplace experience, the technological age has given rise to a new type of experience that provides professions with another opportunity. 

For those pursuing a career in digital marketing, there are several of these opportunities for gaining meaningful experience through educational programs. Take the industry-standard programs and certifications built into the Emerson Master of Arts in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA), for example. Aligned with best practices and hiring demands, these programs and certifications bring skill-building and experience together in order to prepare marketers who can confidently showcase both their skills and experience. 

The DMDA includes three certification programs that directly correlate to the combined digital marketing skills and experience that employers are looking for as they consider what their companies need to produce successful marketing campaigns now and in the years to come. Those certifications are in Google Analytics and Hootsuite Certification.

Google Analytics Certification

Having a Google Analytics Certification on your resume doesn’t just make you more proficient at search engine optimization, it shows potential employers that you understand the importance of data analytics, technology, and digital marketing skills in your digital marketing strategy. 

Hootsuite Certification

Hootsuite is one of the most used social media dashboards, so completing its certification program is a great way to enhance your marketable skills and gain experience that will immediately be put to use in your career in digital marketing. 

Master Essential Tools

In addition to building certifications directly into the curriculum, the DMDA at Emerson College teaches students through experiential learning how to leverage key tools in the digital marketing space, including:

  • SAS Studio
  • Enterprise Miner
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Student Digital Marketing Simulation Platform

Don’t Wait to Network—Experience Professional Connection Right Away

In keeping with the merging of art and science and data with intuition, the successful marketers prepared by Emerson’s College DMDA also know how to bring the priority of accomplishing tasks into unison with the importance of professional networking and building relationships. Just like certifications and tool mastery are built into the DMDA program, so are opportunities for networking and collaborating with innovative marketing and communications professionals across a wide variety of marketplace sectors and marketing roles. 

Gain the Digital Marketing Skills and Experience You Need to Succeed with Emerson College

You can become a data-savvy, creatively-minded digital marketer with a Masters of Arts in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics from Emerson College. Our 100% online, no GMAT or GRE-required program can be completed in as little as one year. You’ll grow confidence in your competence at a variety of key marketing tasks, including:

  • Digital campaign creation
  • Analytics methods and applications
  • Brand storytelling
  • Advanced consumer insights

Through a curriculum that blends art and science, the Emerson College DMDA equips holistic, successful marketers who are ready to enter the marketplace with excellent skills and experience. Characterized by innovative thinking and rich with expert faculty members and state-of-the-art learning opportunities, the DMDA program will prepare you for an exciting career in digital marketing. 

Take hold of your future. Discover why Emerson’s DMDA program could be your next step.