Successful digital marketers combine talents to achieve marketing goals
Successful digital marketers combine talents to achieve marketing goals

The Path to an Exciting Career in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics

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).


The ongoing changes in the global marketplace offer both good news and new challenges for marketing professionals. The good news? Leading ad agencies expect global ad spending to rebound in 2021, increasing by potentially more than 10% over 2020.

However, the way companies and organizations invest their resources continues to change. Leading ad agencies expect that more than half of all ad dollars in 2021 will be directed to digital streams.

This means the prospects for digital marketing and data analytics careers are growing rapidly. Again, this is good news and, for some, challenging news. Many marketing professionals find themselves eager to capitalize on these opportunities but perhaps more prepared for traditional marketing careers than for digital marketing and data analytics careers. In those cases, an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics can be a powerful pathway to new opportunities.

Team of digital marketing professionals work together to achieve strategic goals.

Key Changes Are Shifting the Balance Toward Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Careers

The tilt in the marketing field toward digital marketing and data analytics careers is not a short-term change. In fact, a few key indicators suggest the shift is likely to continue to grow in both the short- and long-term future, making an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics even more valuable.

Digital Marketing Spending Will Continue to Increase

Digital marketing expenditures worldwide are expected to exceed half a trillion dollars and account for over 60 percent of all media ad spending by 2023. That represents a striking trend, with the percentage growing from less than half to over 60 percent in a five-year period. That global pattern holds true for the United States as well, meaning continued growth for digital marketing and data analytics careers.

The Power of Big Data Is Driving Growth in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Careers

Certainly, no one needs to be convinced any longer that the internet and digital platforms are central to almost every aspect of our lives. Still, here’s a number that puts in perspective just how powerful a force the digital revolution is: 2.5 quintillion. That’s how many bytes of data are created every day as computers, tablets, cell phones, and other devices create, track, and store information. And most experts agree that number — which has given birth to the term Big Data — is likely growing every day as the number of devices and our reliance on them grows.

Big data is a powerful force in virtually all areas of daily life, including:

  • Commerce and Shopping

  • Politics and Public Policy

  • News Gathering and Delivery

  • Educational Services

  • Entertainment (Movies, Television, and Music)

  • Transportation and Travel

  • Medicine and Healthcare

  • Employment Services

This nearly infinite stream of data is the lifeblood for many digital marketing and data analytics careers as companies and organizations seek to harness, understand, and utilize relevant information in marketing strategies.

Search Engine Optimization Is a Key Dynamic in Successful Marketing Campaigns

One of the primary applications in the era of big data is search engine optimization (SEO). As the digital revolution marches forward, businesses and organizations are realizing that a strategy for maximizing their presence in search engine results is essential. Why?

Research indicates that 93 percent of online activity begins with a search engine. Perhaps even more importantly, 75 percent of users never look beyond the first page of search results. Those numbers clearly illustrate the importance of analyzing data to determine how target audiences search the internet so that marketing efforts can be directed into those spaces.

These are just three of the key shifts in the marketing field that are creating new opportunities for digital marketing and data analytics careers and that make an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics a potential game-changer for marketing professionals.

Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Careers: What Opportunities Can an Online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Create?

The marketing industry is changing, no question, but there are many digital marketing and data analytics careers that are well-suited for marketing professionals willing to grow and adapt. Adding an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics to the skills and experience you’ve already built over the years can translate into exciting new opportunities. Consider these roles that can maximize your current knowledge when combined with new training and education.

Marketing Executive or Manager

As digital marketing plays an increasingly prominent role in the marketing field, it follows that marketing executives will need relevant training and experience. A digital marketing and data analytics degree can be the key that opens the door for a marketing professional otherwise ready to rise into management. Marketing executive or managers oversee marketing teams whose tasks include:

  • Planning and executing overall marketing strategies

  • Working with other managers and staff to plan budgets, design contracts, and execute marketing plans for various divisions within a business or organization

  • Creating advertising campaigns and determining the optimal outlets for the campaigns

  • Planning and overseeing promotions that generate attention and brand excitement

  • Negotiating contracts for advertising and media buys

  • Guiding the development of brand identity, including visual and verbal components of websites, social media, and other collateral 

  • Managing all market research efforts designed to identify, understand, and communicate with target audiences

  • Collaborating on pricing strategies

  • Hiring for advertising, promotions, and marketing staff and overseeing their work

Professional digital marketers working together to interpret data into actionable results.

Job Prospects for Marketing Executives or Managers

Marketing managers are needed in a wide range of industries and organizations. Some of the most common include:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

  • Management of companies and enterprises

  • Finance and insurance

  • Manufacturing

  • Wholesale trade

On the whole, employment opportunities for managers in marketing fields is projected to grow by seven percent by the year 2029, which is notably higher than overall projected national job growth.

Salary Expectations for Marketing Executives or Managers

As one would expect, increasing your skills and experience in order to earn a position at a management or executive level also increases your earning potential. The median annual salary for marketing managers in the United States is $136,850. Median salaries in some of the most common areas of work for marketing managers are even higher:

  • Finance and insurance $145,720

  • Management of companies and enterprises $145,510

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services $145,300

  • Manufacturing $138,950

  • Wholesale trade $128,680

Perhaps you’ve worked for years in marketing and are interested in taking the next step into a management role. Consider the edge you might gain by getting ahead of industry changes with an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics.

Content Manager or Content Strategist

The transition toward digital marketing is not just about new delivery methods. New philosophies and strategies are driving the growth in digital marketing and data analytics careers. 

One of these is a shift from sales-driven strategies to content-centered marketing. This has created a demand for marketing professionals who can envision, organize, and grow content that communicates brand identity and satisfies customer interest. Many career marketing professionals understand this intuitively and may just need to learn the language and nuance of digital changes.

Content managers and strategists perform a variety of key tasks, including:

  • Develop content strategies based on brand identity and consumer needs

  • Create effective content consistent with marketing strategies

  • Conduct ongoing analysis of existing content for effectiveness and to identify content gaps

  • Manage content calendars and life cycles

  • Create style guides and other tools for content consistency 

  • Manage writers, designers, and other employees on the content team

Job Prospects for Content Managers or Content Strategists

Content strategy is one of the most vibrant growth areas in digital marketing and data analytics careers. In fact, Digital Marketing Institute lists content managers and strategists at the top of their list of hot digital marketing jobs. That’s no doubt in part because so many brands are now employing content marketing strategies.

A wide range of organizations and companies have made content marketing a central part of their growth and success, including:

  • Lego

  • GE

  • IBM

  • NPR

  • GoPro

  • Denny’s restaurants

Content managers and strategists are in high demand in technology fields, fashion, financial services, politics, and other areas as this strategy catches on. Relevant, excellent content is now crucial to effective marketing strategies in the digital world, and the role of the content specialist is among the most promising of digital marketing and data analytics careers.

Many marketing professionals already have much of the basic skill set for this role and simply need the educational tools to translate those skills to a content specialist role. An online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics can provide those tools.

Salary Expectations for Content Managers or Content Strategists

The Robert Half 2021 Salary Calculator lists the midpoint starting salary for a content strategist in Boston at $75,375. Digital Marketing Institute suggests the earning potential for content managers and strategists is $80,000 and upwards. 

Creative Director

The role of Creative Director is certainly not exclusive to digital marketing and data analytics careers, but creative professionals who add the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in digital environments are positioned for new levels of success. Effective creative directors conduct an orchestra of sorts, unifying a creative team behind a cohesive vision, bringing content and marketing strategies to life.

A creative director’s job typically includes:

  • Managing creative processes from idea origination to project completion

  • Translating marketing strategy objectives into coherent creative plans

  • Working closely with a variety of teams, including technology professionals

  • Leading the creative team through the process of creating collateral in a variety of streams

  • Developing and maintaining visual standards and continuity for the brand

  • Hiring, managing, and cultivating a creative team, including designers, art directors, copywriters, photographers, and web developers

Job Prospects for Creative Directors

While the tasks of a creative director will continue to evolve as marketing continues to trend digital, the need for seasoned creative professionals will not change. As marketing expenditures continue to grow, opportunities for creative directors with the kind of expertise gained through an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics will grow as well.

Salary Expectations for Creative Directors

The Creative Group 2020 Salary Guide lists the midpoint starting salary for creative directors at $116,750. Digital Marketing Institute confirms that creative directors can expect to earn north of $100,000.

Market Research Analyst

Given the overwhelming quantity of data being generated each day, marketing professionals who can make sense of relevant statistics and information are crucial. Market research analysts serve as guides for the entire marketing organization, gathering, synthesizing, and interpreting volumes of data that offer crucial information about customers and business opportunities.

A market research analyst performs important tasks such as:

  • Monitoring and forecasting marketing and sales trends

  • Measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies

  • Devising and evaluating methods for collecting data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls

  • Gathering data on consumers, competitors, and market conditions

  • Analyzing data using statistical software

  • Converting complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs, and written reports

  • Preparing reports and presenting results to clients and management

Job Prospects for Market Research Analysts

The opportunities for Market Research Analysts are growing rapidly alongside the trend toward digital marketing. The number of jobs in this field is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2019-2029, which is a growth rate four times that for all jobs.

In its ranking of “100 Best Jobs,” U.S. News and World Report lists market research analyst jobs among the top 50 overall and in the top 10 of its “Best Business Jobs.”

As is often the case, the actual job title for individuals doing market research analyst work can vary quite a bit. Some other titles for the same or similar role include:

  • Marketing Analyst

  • Research Analyst

  • Market Researcher

  • Market Data Analyst

  • Business Analyst

  • Market Research Statistician

  • Researcher Statistician

  • Digital Marketing Analyst

  • Business Development Analyst

Salary Expectations for Market Research Analysts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary for a market research analyst at $63,790. However, analysts in many industries make notably more. Here are some the median annual salaries for market research analysts in the top industries in which they work:

  • Publishing industries (except internet) $75,720

  • Management of companies and enterprises $74,510

  • Finance and insurance $71,500

  • Wholesale trade $61,780

  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services $61,520

A successful market research analyst also has the opportunity to ascend to a market research manager role, with an average annual salary of $84,006.

And, again, the need for effective market research is not unique to digital marketing and data analytics careers. That makes this yet another opportunity for seasoned marketers to expand their knowledge into the digital realm and thrive.

Search Engine Optimization Specialist

As noted above, search engines are at the heart of most online activity, which puts them at the heart of digital marketing strategies. The field of search engine optimization (SEO) has created one of the most rapidly growing job markets in the United States. Companies and organizations realize how vital it is to identify and respond to the ways their target audiences search the web for content, products, and services.

Search engine optimization specialists develop intuitive understandings of the formulas that Google and other search engines use to determine search results. They then use that knowledge to help push a company’s or organization’s content to the top of various relevant searches.

It’s little surprise that SEO has become central to market strategy considering these striking statistics:

  • 81 percent of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase

  • 57 percent of business-to-business marketers indicate SEO generates more leads than any other marketing effort

  • SEO leads result in sales or customer creation 14.6 percent of the time compared to 1.7 percent through traditional offline marketing efforts

  • Internet searches are the number one way people find content sites (more than 300 percent more frequent than social media links)

SEO specialists perform key tasks like:

  • Formalizing search SEO and helping lead the technology team in their implementation across all websites and brand extensions

  • Analyzing organic traffic and providing strategies for improvement

  • Developing SEO assessments and recommendations and translating them into technical or copy requirements

  • Providing SEO guidance in technical areas such as server infrastructure, website structure and page construction

  • Reviewing and managing all page tagging, and consistently analyzing changing opportunities and trends in search engine algorithms and important keywords

Job Prospects for Search Engine Optimization Specialists

As companies continually strive to keep step with emerging SEO trends, search engine specialists and managers play a critical role in digital marketing strategy. Search engine specialists have opportunities to expand their work within the marketing field, taking on roles such as:

  • Search Engine Marketer

  • Business Marketing Consultant

  • Digital Marketer

  • Marketing Analyst

  • Content Marketer

  • SEO Manager

Salary Expectations for Search Engine Optimization Specialists

The average salary for SEO managers is almost $70,000. SEO is an emerging field among digital marketing and data analytics careers, and demand exceeds supply. That means salaries will continue to trend upward. SEO specialists find themselves with a command of one of the key growth areas in digital marketing, which also bodes well for earning potential.

Finding Your Opportunity: The Path Into Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Careers

Changes in your field can be daunting, but marketing professionals are often closer than they think to capitalizing on these changes for growth and advancement. The core skills and insights of marketing enhanced with new education and training are a powerful combination for success in digital marketing and data analytics careers.

Take that next step and consider the value that an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics from Emerson College could add to your career.