Differentiating yourself is an important aspect of a long term successful career in digital marketing.
Differentiating yourself is not just about dressing better than the rest or getting an extra degree under your belt. Differentiating is more about how your skills, talent, and education makes you irreplaceable.
It is about bringing the best and the most real version of you and honing it until the whole digital industry sees your brilliance.
Why Differentiating Yourself is Important
Most people are afraid of getting skills which are not “Hot in the market” or saying something which is not “popular belief” because they think they will get ignored or mocked at. The truth is far away from it. An offense is the best way of defense and is a faster way to find both security and success in your career.
1. Higher Job Security
In a cut throat market people who are easily replaceable are the ones who get fired. The one’s easily replaceable are the ones who are like the rest – similar looking resume, similar job roles, and similar salaries. The ones who stay are the ones who have proved the ROI they provide to their business. The one with highest job security is the one who the company knows that they can’t find a replacement to your passion, hard work, and brilliance.
2. Draw a Higher Salary
You get paid not just for the work you do but also for how the company perceives your value. If you have a skill set which is difficult to find in the marketplace you should expect a higher salary by the simple demand to supply economic equation. Having mastery over skills like Web Analytics, Technical SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization can give you a better salary edge over your peers.
3. Get Better Opportunities
If you are good only at digital marketing and applying for a role as a CEO in a digital agency then chances are that 100 other applicants have resumes which are as good as yours. By having proven record of leadership, client servicing, operations, and sales you would have a better shot at this role. An important set of skills most digital marketers shy away from learning because they think it is irrelevant.
Ways To Differentiate Yourself in the Industry
Standing out from the crowd is same as having the courage to say NO to fitting in. Differentiating your self in the digital industry or in fact in any industry requires courage.
1. Start with Self Awareness
Self-awareness is about discovering that aspect of you which makes you unique. Self-awareness is an exercise which can define your career path. It is about dwelling in aspects like strengths, weaknesses, life values and goals.
2. Develop Self Confidence
Most people have a problem with being confident. Even the most talented people in the industry haven’t developed the skill of self-confidence. You can have an edge over most people by becoming confident and projecting the same at networking events and at work.
We perceive a person’s talent by the amount of confidence she can project. Confidence doesn’t mean we have to be bold because we think we are right. Confidence also means voicing your ideas and being ready to be shot down.
3. Communicate Like a Pro
Great digital marketers tell stories with data. As a digital marketer, your communication needs to be a lot more precise and analytical than the average bloke. While the crowd talks wishful thinking an adept digital marketer talks real data and presents it in a manner so that all levels of management get actionable insights from it.
A digital marketer over the course of her day works with technology, design, product management and marketing teams. She must know to alter her communication style in order to be effective. For instance, a business centric language would work with a manager but might be inappropriate if you want to communicate a SEO requirement to a developer.
4. Show Direct Business Impact of Your Work
Tying your digital marketing efforts to direct business outcome is one of the best aspects of digital marketing. Yet most digital marketers don’t leverage it because they are too lazy to set up conversion goals in Google analytics. Once you show what changes in the website and campaigns led to the X% growth to the company top line you are automatically in the good books of your manager. People remember you for the results you delivered and not the presentations you gave or the emails you sent.
6. Find a Skill the Industry Shies Away From and Master it
Most digital marketers start with SEO and then learn PPC. They play around with Google analytics and go off on holiday to ignorance. This makes most digital marketing resumes look the same.
- Your company could receive a 30% uptick in revenue next month if only you knew how to run A/B tests.
- You could communicate your development team on slow money pages if only you took the time to dig into analytics.
- May be you could build more links if only you knew how to market your blog content better.
Skill sets like web analytics, conversion rate optimization, enterprise SEO have been around for many years yet rarely do you see digital marketers focusing their efforts to become good at these. This is a missed opportunity which digital marketers who want to differentiate themselves must capitalize.
7. Personal Branding is Key
Personal branding is how people perceive your skill set. There are multiple ways a recruiter or a client comes to know about you. One way is by Googling your name. You must google your name and see how you might be perceived. Is your website showing up on search? Is your Linkedin profile showing up? If not you might have to work on the richness of your profile.
8. Get Certified by Trusted Sources
Corny as it seems certificates do matter. Especially when you are certified by trusted sources. Certifications give a stamp of authority from top tier companies and training institutes.
For instance, a certificate from Google on Adwords would definitely give your profile more value and trust if you are applying for a digital media buying role. In a marketplace where everyone claims to be an expert, you can get a vote of validation and credibility by getting trusted certificates to support your skills.
9. Maintain Healthy Level of Technology Awareness
If you want to be a great digital marketer you must have a reasonable level of awareness of technology. You must understand the medium in order to play with it better. You should know how to optimize the experience, improve engagement of both web and mobile apps. You need not know to code but you must be able to know the possibilities and limitations of the platform you are working on.
Most digital marketers don’t want to get their hands dirty with these aspects because they are not comfortable. If you want to be rock star digital marketer you must be comfortable being uncomfortable.
The best way to get started on differentiating your career is by doing some soul searching. Start by asking.