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Becoming a digital marketing specialist

Posted over 4 years ago by Harry Silvester

The growth of digital marketing and what it means for marketers has been a core topic over recent years. Experiencing 15% growth during 2019, digital marketing is fast becoming the most popular method of reaching consumers, with huge brands like M&S and even politicians increasing their use of digital media.

Positively, from a recruiter perspective this shift is increasing the variety of digital marketing roles available. Sourcing the right talent can however, be difficult because of the perceived digital skills gap within the market. While senior figures may have experience, some research suggests that  they can lack the skills to deal with more specialist topics such as SEO and PPC. In contrast, while junior talent may be more knowledgable in these elements, they often lack the required commercial experience - both of whom potentially hold more experience in a generalist (e.g a Marketing executive/manager controlling all aspects of a marketing strategy from PPC to SEO) role than a specialist.

This is set to be a key issue as in-house brands and agencies alike are increasing their search for more specialist talent to ensure the creation of campaigns which are driven by knowledge and insight. For instance, we have seen an increase in demand for SEO & PPC executives/managers, Data & Analytics experts, Content specialists and CMS Developers to name a few.

Whilst the candidate market is responding to these developments, finding the right candidates can be difficult for any agency or in-house recruiter. This is often due to many candidates coming from a generalist background with limited specialist experience, an inverse to what a specialist employer may want to find.

We believe most generalist marketers (and other professionals) can make the shift into a specialist role due to their exposure to working with multiple platforms. For instance, a Digital Marketing Executive will lend their hand to PPC, SEO, Content and website management. Whilst this is a strong skillset, employers will want to see that you are dedicated to making the transition. In order to standout you should consider demonstrating the following traits sought by specialist employers.

Become the tailored professional

It goes without saying in every application you should tailor your CV and application to the role at hand, but this is even more vital in a specialist role.

What specialist employers don’t want to see is that you are an all out generalist. To really get their attention make sure to hone your CV down to the fundamentals of the specialist role and consider using your more generalist talents as a bonus. For instance, your PPC campaign may have increased sales by 110%, but this required you to liaise with the SEO team to ensure effective targeting.

Integrating your generalist skill set in this manner will show you have a broader knowledge for how your specialism may need to cooperate with wider teams to ensure success - potentially making you stand out from other applicants.

Be distinct

When competing for specialist roles, there may be a lower volume of suitable applicants, but that does not mean the client is not looking for someone really special.

The key to standing out amongst these applicants is to demonstrate how your specialist skillset has driven change and innovation within an organisation. Even if you have previously been a generalist, consider specifically how you worked to enforce a SEO strategy - did you pull teams together? How many sales did your PPC campaign generate? Did you overhaul the CMS?

The key to standing out is reinforcing the how and results of what you achieved, only by doing this you will be able to promote yourself beyond your previous generalist role.


If you want to move into a specialist position, you will need to demonstrate a level of commitment to enhancing your skillset outside of the workplace. This shows you are willing to learn outside of your parameters and are willing to enhance your specialist knowledge by taking on new perspectives.

This does not have to be just through training, often entering competitions, belonging to specialist networking groups or even providing your thoughts through professional speaking can help to demonstrate your commitment and build your reputation as a specialist marketer/creative professional.

If you are looking to make the next step in your career to become a specialist digital marketer, contact us today to have a confidential chat and gain a deeper understanding of what prospective employers may be expecting in your application.

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