Why Entrepreneurial Spirit Makes the Best Digital Marketers

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Digital marketers are the entrepreneurs of the marketing world.

As digital marketing recruiters, we’ve worked with thousands of digital marketers and have seen great changes in the landscape over the last few years. One trend we’ve noticed, especially among the best and brightest talent, is entrepreneurial spirit. There are many similarities between entrepreneurs and digital marketers. Both roles wear many hats, learn quickly, and can have a huge impact in their company– even without much working experience.

What Digital Marketing Teams and Successful Startups Have in Common

In-house digital teams must act like startups because they are typically understaffed despite the rapidly growing industry and increasing expectations to perform. They have to be creative with how they stretch their resources and find ways to do more with less. Like entrepreneurs, digital media managers today have many different responsibilities and are involved with many aspects of the business, even those that don’t always directly involve marketing.

“As digital marketers, we’re creating content, measuring results, and responding to consumers every single day” says Katie Tyson, the Director of Digital at Freshpet. “We need to know the ins and outs of the business, and our products, to do all of that. We need to understand how our efforts compare with and relate to other marketing, how to best support the brand that day (this changes all the time- from new product launches, to products that need help, to events or FSIs coming into market), and how to respond when consumers ask specific questions.”

Adaptability and an Obsession with Testing

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One defining facet of startup culture is the emphasis on testing and flexibility. Testing in startups is a necessity because it allows you to move fast when there is uncertainty. You often don’t know what will work because the space is changing so quickly and there isn’t a very accurate playbook. This applies to digital marketing as well. The most successful digital marketers are invariably comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The best digital marketers are addicted to testing and constant learning.

The best digital marketers are addicted to testing and constant learning. Digital media today encompasses a myriad of different touch points, platforms, and forms of advertising. As a result, good marketers need to stay up to date with the newest technology and test to see if it’s effective for their respective business.

In this constantly changing digital landscape, innovation is essential for survival. For instance, just a few years ago Snapchat didn’t exist and Facebook pages had much higher organic reach. Before that, StumbleUpon and Digg were some of the top distribution channels for content. If you can be one of the first companies to establish a presence on a new technology or platform then you can receive a massive return on investment and time spent.

Traits Entrepreneurs and Digital Marketers Share

1. Fire

Because of the fast-paced culture and vast responsibilities, what makes a good digital marketer also makes a good entrepreneur. In both roles, passion and belief in your company’s mission will result in better work because you frequently need to go above and beyond your listed responsibilities. As a founder, you represent the voice of your startup, and as a digital marketer, you control many of the touch points where consumers interact with your brand. This passion and belief is immediately felt by anyone that interacts with your brand.

2. Strategic, Creative, Analytical Minds

Like entrepreneurs, the best digital marketers can act and think independently, balancing strategy, creativity, and analytical thinking. First, they must create the digital strategy and prioritize initiatives based on the company’s objectives. Then they need to come up with creative new campaigns and content that will engage their audience. Finally, they need to set up the right metrics to evaluate ROI and create a plan to pursue it.

3. The Ability to Sell

Not all sales pitches are directly to customers. Both entrepreneurs and digital marketers face an uphill battle lined with constant rejection, especially when people don’t understand your industry or technology. Entrepreneurs need to sell their idea to everyone: investors, customers, and potential employees. Digital marketers need are constantly pitching new ideas that are often less understood or contrary to tradition within their organization. There are times when a CEO doesn’t want to allocate budget towards a digital initiative because he or she can’t see the direct return on investment. It’s up to the marketer to change his or her mind. Entrepreneurs and digital marketers both need to have the conviction to sell their ideas despite the uncertainty.

Making an Impact with Less Age and Experience

Entrepreneurship is attractive to Millennials because age and inexperience are less of a barrier in your ability to have substantial impact. There is a sense that it offers more control of your destiny. The same concept can be applied to digital marketing, which has exploded in recent years.

Digital marketing recruiters and companies of all kinds are scrambling to find enough digital expertise to fuel their marketing. Because there is less domain knowledge in more senior levels of business, good digital marketers can make a name for themselves and have a significant impact beyond their years.

Digital teams are small. In an emerging field there are large opportunities to define and discover best practices and new methods. You can be the expert! For instance, Snapchat has only been around for a couple of years. There are a limited number of people in the world that are experts in how brands should use Snapchat, let alone experts within your own company. You can be that expert and truly drive the initiative.

Watch Will Smith’s Advice for Young Entrepreneurs

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Talent is the Bottom Line

The digital marketer role is incredibly entrepreneurial in many different aspects: responsibilities, culture, skillsets, and impact. In today’s society where entrepreneurship is celebrated, more recent grads should look at jobs in digital media. For CMOs and other executives, hiring good digital talent is imperative. Having a good digital strategy means nothing if you have no one to execute it. Ultimately, strong digital talent enables brands to connect with the next generation of consumers and beyond.

article source: Forbes

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