9 Essential Digital Marketing Skills To Develop in 2024

CareerFoundry contributor Dr. Anneke Schmidt

Economic downturns can cast a shadow on job security, but digital marketing stands out as a beacon of stability. Businesses rely heavily on online outreach, making this field a recession-proof career path.

But the rise of AI and the increased emphasis on customer experience mean that digital marketing skills focusing on these areas are critical in 2024 and beyond. As a digital marketing manager, your ability to specialize—whether it’s in AI-assisted content generation or social media analytics—will help you keep ahead of the curve.

At CareerFoundry, we’ve trained hundreds of digital marketers who are now killing it in tech and other fields (check out our free digital marketing short course here). We put together this overview of the skills you should focus on as a digital marketing manager (or if you’re aspiring to be one).

We’ll cover the following topics:

  1. What is digital marketing?
  2. The top 9 digital marketing skills
  3. How to get into digital marketing

Let’s get started!

1. What is digital marketing?

Digital marketers are responsible for producing and publishing digital marketing content, implementing strategies aimed at promoting a company’s products or services online. 

The marketing world is constantly changing, and digital marketing, in particular, is a rapidly growing field. Today, it includes any form of marketing that uses digital channels to reach consumers, including:

  • email
  • social media
  • search engines
  • websites
  • banner ads
  • mobile apps
  • online video

A digital marketing manager often juggles all of these channels, making strategic decisions on where to invest.

Watch the following video to see some of the downsides of digital marketing careers as explained by CareerFoundry CMO Ed Wood:

2. The top 9 digital marketing skills

The ability to adapt quickly and learn new skills as needed is one of the most important qualities of a successful digital marketer.

Apart from general soft skills—such as communication, strategic thinking, and time management— focus on developing the following nine technical skills in digital marketing:

1. AI expertise

AI is rapidly becoming an essential skill for digital marketers due to its ability to analyze vast data sets, personalize marketing efforts, automate repetitive tasks, and ultimately improve ROI.

Chatbots, predictive analytics, and more efficient content generation enable businesses to maximize the impact of their campaigns.

If you’re not yet using AI in your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to explore its potential and get ahead of the curve.

Check out our guide to the top AI tools for digital marketing and our guide to the top digital marketing ChatGPT prompts.

2. Impactful and original content marketing

Inbound marketing is becoming increasingly important today. For this, businesses rely heavily on content, such as blog posts, ebooks, or white papers, to attract and engage customers.

As a content marketer, you need to be able to produce engaging and valuable content across a variety of platforms (or specialize in a specific platform) and have an understanding of how to measure the success of your campaigns. Competition with AI-produced content means that only the best will float to the surface and drive ROI.

2. A refined understanding of SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO is the process of optimizing websites and their content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), thereby increasing their chances of being found by potential customers. 

Google algorithm updates are constantly changing, so staying up-to-date on the latest SEO trends and best practices is crucial. This includes knowing how to do keyword research, interpret search intent, and improve a website’s search engine ranking through on-page optimization and link building.

As generative AI enters the scene, it’s critical that SEO marketers stay up to date with the latest trends and changes.

3. Email marketing and CRM (customer relationship management)

Email marketing is a direct marketing approach that communicates commercial or fundraising messages to a defined audience. The power of segmentation tools and targeted messaging means that email is more powerful than ever.

Skills to master in email marketing include:

  • segmenting lists, using 
  • personalizing messages
  • designing attractive email templates, and
  • using marketing automation to trigger and track email campaigns.

Interested in learning more about email marketing? Find out more about it in our extensive guide.

4. Social media marketing channel or area expertise

Social media marketing has evolved—it’s no longer the intern’s job, but a primary digital marketing channel for many businesses, with extensive teams working together.

Finding a specialization in a particular channel or function of social will allow you to float to the top of a pile of social media manager applications.

Every marketer should have:

  • an understanding of how social media algorithms work, and follow the changes so they are up to date
  • an eye for visually engaging and creative posts, whehter 
  • familiarity with paid social media marketing, and
  • experience with social media analytics tools.

5. Data-driven performance marketing chops

Performance marketing is a data-driven marketing approach focusing on achieving specific marketing objectives, such as increasing brand awareness or generating leads.

Paid advertising is a common performance-marketing tactic requiring a keen understanding of targeting the right audience, tracking campaign results, and optimizing ad spend. As a digital marketer, you will also need to be well-versed in marketing attributionthe process of assigning credit to marketing touchpoints that led to a conversion.

6. Multichannel marketing know-how

Multichannel marketing means using a combination of marketing channels to reach and engage customers.

While it is theoretically possible to combine any type and number of marketing channels, the most common combinations include the following channels:

  • website and email marketing
  • social media and content marketing, and
  • paid advertising and search engine optimization.

The key to successful multichannel marketing is creating a cohesive customer experience across all channels. This means ensuring that your branding is consistent, your messages are aligned, and your marketing efforts are coordinated.

7. An eye for design and visual marketing

This includes basic design skills, such as understanding color theory, typography, and composition. But it also extends to more advanced skills like visual marketing and UX design.

UX design stands for user experience design, which is the process of designing productsincluding websites, apps, and softwareto be both valuable and easy to use. As a digital marketer, you will need to understand basic UX principles to create marketing collateral that is both effective and user-friendly.

Want to learn more about user design? Check out this guide to teach yourself UX design skills.

8. Short-form video marketing

TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts are essential channels for many businesses.

To be successful in video marketing, you will need to know how to conceptualize and produce engaging video content. You will also need basic video editing skills and an understanding of how to promote videos for maximum reach and engagement.

Recommended viewing: 8 Essential Tactics To Grow A YouTube Channel 


9. Data literacy and analysis

In today’s data-driven world, businesses rely on data to make informed decisions, from product development to marketing strategy. Therefore, digital marketing managers need to be able to understand and analyze data correctly—from Google Analytics to social analytics and beyond.

Data literacy involves being able to read, interpret, and make decisions based on data. To be a successful digital marketer, you need to develop strong analytical skills and learn how to use data to inform your marketing decisions. Additionally, you should be familiar with basic statistical concepts and methods and basic data visualization techniques.

If you’re not already comfortable with data, now is the time to start developing your data analysis skills with free resources such as this beginner’s guide to data transformation or by enrolling in a comprehensive data analytics course.

4. How to get into digital marketing

If you want to become a digital marketing manager or transition into this field, there are three things you can do to get started:

Educate yourself

The first step is to educate yourself about all aspects of digital marketing. This includes understanding the different marketing channels, strategies, and available digital marketing tools, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends.

Gain relevant skills

There are many online courses and programs that cover everything from social media marketing to data analysis. 

Here at CareerFoundry, we offer a top-rated digital marketing program with a job guarantee. Check it out here or try our free 5-day digital marketing short course.

Get work experience

Once you have a strong understanding of the basics, you can get experience in the field. There are several ways to do this, including internships, working with a small business, or taking on freelance projects.

If this article has piqued your interest, you may also be interested in the following articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, self-paced short course comprised of five short tutorials.

  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online digital marketing events with industry experts, and check out digital marketing student Adelina’s portfolio project.

  3. Become a job-ready digital marketer in just 3-7 months—all backed by the CareerFoundry job guarantee.

  4. This month, we’re offering a partial scholarship worth up to $1,365 off on all of our career-change programs to the first 100 students who apply 🎉 Book your application call and secure your spot now!

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