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The evolution of digital marketing expertise

Do you love SEO and feel like you could dive its depths for the rest of your career? Do you think email marketing is your long-term career destiny? Do you thoroughly enjoy display media planning and think it’s a great fit for you? Do you believe that social media is the place to be both now and in the future?

That’s cool with me, because there’s nothing wrong with endless passion and deep expertise. However, in my experience, it pays to branch out from your core discipline and diversify your portfolio of marketing knowledge.

Mind you, it’s not just about job security, though having more than one feather in your cap can definitely open up doors in the corporate world. Rather, the reason for the recommendation has to do with what diversification can do to your overall marketing perspective.

Here’s why and how:

  • For starters, with every passing day, many of the supposedly silo disciplines that we know and love become increasingly intertwined with other supposedly silo disciplines. Want to be a successful SEO? You’d be have a fairly deep understanding of social media, PR, and coding among other things. Want to grow your brand’s social media following? You’d better learn how to properly leverage email segmentation and messaging in order to usher your existing customers into your social media community elements. And so on, and so forth.
  • As multi-channel attribution develops and matures as a discipline, the ties between channels will become more evident and success in one will be dependent on alignment with the others. For example, my brand’s attribution insights are helping us recognize just how integral parallel marketing channels can be in terms of maximizing the revenue we generate via paid search. In other words, it would be virtually impossible to maximize ROI in one of the channels I directly manage (paid search) if I didn’t have an intimate understanding of what was happening in several parallel channels that I don’t manage directly.
  • Working closely with other channels and their corresponding stakeholders helps you develop a healthy respect and admiration, and that in turn, often results in a more empathetic and less contentious approach to dealing with those stakeholders, even when you’re reasonable certain that your point of view is the right one. And guess what? You get more bees honey then vinegar.

In a nutshell, what I’m saying is that educating, and in some cases, immersing yourself in channels outside of your main discipline can actually make you more of an expert in your main discipline. It sounds like a paradox, I know. But those that have experienced this phenomenon in action know that I speak the truth.

If you’ve been enveloped and consumed by your marketing channel of choice up until this point, give this approach a try. You might like the effect it has on your marketing world view as well as the effect it has on your channel’s marketing ROI.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://casiegillette.com Casie Gillette

    I love this post Hugo & I am 100% with you. For the past few years I’ve done everything I can to be involved with things OTHER than traditional SEO. While it’s certainly my passion and where my knowledge lies, I couldn’t be successful at it without learning PPC, social, email, analytics and more. I know there’s already the discussion out there of is ‘SEO’ still the right term for people but overall, I think it’s just evolving. Nice post!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for swinging by to share your thoughts, Casie! I’m glad you enjoyed and can identify with this post. I’m pretty much in the same boat in that while a lot of folks in the industry still think of me as an “SEO guy” I’ve worked hard to expand my knowledge and expertise in a variety of other channels. Ironically, my first love (back in 2002) was paid search!

  • http://twitter.com/scottkrauss Scott Krauss

    Could not agree more. I think over the long term the specialist will absolutely have their place but they likely won’t be able to take on a leadership type role overseeing an entire program because they do not have the required insights and understanding from a top down perspective.

    • Anonymous

      What’s up, Scott! Thanks for swinging by to chime in. I think that you’re absolutely right and I applaud you for the steps you’ve taken over the years to transition from a single-channel guy (email) to a truly seasoned and nuanced multi-channel digital marketer.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    In digital marketing you can never get too comfortable or set in your ways. It’s always changing. It’s important to keep up with industry trends and spend the time educating yourself in order to stay relevant.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Nick! One thing I would mention is that it’s not enough to simply stay on top of industry trends, etc. You have to actively build expertise in channels you aren’t typically involved in at a granular, day-to-day level.

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