At the time of writing this article, there are over 30,000 digital strategist positions available at Zippia. This, followed by the 20% job increase also goes to reaffirm the fact that the career path for the digital strategist is on the rise and more companies are seeing the need for digital strategists.
If you’re looking to begin a career as a digital strategist, want to make a career shift, or are simply looking for information on the career path of digital strategists, look no further than this article as we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the career paths of digital strategists.
If you’ve been working in-house in a marketing role and want to position your career for remote work, this is a job you can try.
Who is a Digital Strategist?
A digital strategist is someone that creates and integrates and implements digital strategies for companies and clients. This includes creating strategies that will be implemented alongside marketing campaigns to provide more insights, analyze data, generate leads, and ensure campaign objectives are met.
As a digital strategist, your job not only entails ideating and implementing digital strategies such as, analyzing user data and making decisions on implementation, optimizing for SEO, increasing the organization’s value, and implementing strategies such as campaign demands. As a digital strategist, you must also have hands-on experience using digital tools, analyzing data, interacting with subordinates and superiors, business knowledge, punctuality, and all other interpersonal skills that aren’t specific to a particular job.
Career Path for Digital Strategists
There are two routes to begin a career as a digital strategist. You can either do it with your education or with your skills. Digital jobs are unlike jobs in other fields where your education is a determining factor for the position, with digital jobs, the preference is always given to skill rather than education. Here are the two ways you can begin a career as a strategist.
Becoming a Digital Strategist Using Your Education
To start a career using your education, it is ideal to have a bachelor’s in marketing or any relating field. Digital strategies fall under the domain of marketing and now, curriculums are constantly changing to meet the ever-evolving industry’s demands.
Based on your ambitions, you can decide whether or not to do a master’s in marketing. Doing this not only increases your chances, but it would also give you an edge if you’re pitting against a number of candidates.
If you’re interested in taking on managerial roles down the line, you may want to ignore the traditional master’s degree and opt-in for an MBA instead. While a traditional master’s offers a more technical and skill-oriented curriculum, an MBA gives you an edge if you have intentions of C-suite managerial roles down the line.
As said earlier, the role of a digital strategist isn’t tied to a specific educational requirement. While a degree in marketing will fast-track your career, you still need hands-on marketing experience to thrive as a digital strategist.
Becoming a Strategist Using Your Skills
Digital roles are constantly evolving, as such, no specific educational requirement to become a digital strategist. More often than not, an employer would pick someone with the right skills and experience over someone with a closely related degree.
To begin a career using your skills as a digital strategist, you would need to have specific sets of technical skills to increase your chances and ensure success in the position.
Some of those skills include:
- CRM Proficiency: CRM software helps manage customer interactions and relationships. As a digital strategist, you would have firsthand knowledge of campaign objectives and demands. With CRM proficiency, you can ensure your sales pipeline is effective and your lead gen. process is streamlined.
- SEO Expertise: SEO has become a non-negotiable aspect of business growth. Both brick-and-mortar companies and digital companies are optimizing for SEO. As a digital strategist, your strategies would need to be centered on SEO. As such, ensuring you’re proficient in SEO is a non-negotiable skill to succeed.
- Web Design knowledge: Having a working knowledge of web design makes your work ultimately easier as a strategist. While you may not be required to build full-on websites, you would need to have the web design experience to ensure the website isn’t falling short on the usability experience.
- Business Strategy: As a digital strategist, part of your job is to create strategies for product launches, feature roll-out, etc. These strategies can be broad or extremely targeted. Ensuring you’re capable of ideating and implementing these brand strategies for success is one of the most important jobs of a strategist.
In addition to the skills listed above, here’s a list of some other skills and certifications that would help you stand out among the competition:
- Google Analytics
- Digital Marketing Certifications
- Inbound Marketing Certification
- Meta (Facebook) advertising
- Keyword Analysis
- Social Media Certifications
- Funnel Building and Mapping
While a third of working strategists have 5-9 years of experience, more than half have 1-4 years. While the ideal years of experience for this role is a minimum of 3 years, this is not a given as the more skills and achievements you have under your belt, the better your chances of getting the job.
Salary Range and Related Job Paths
According to Payscale, the average base salary of a digital strategist is $62,583 with more experienced strategists earning over $100,000.
The role of the digital strategist is expected to grow by 20% in the coming years, and as such, the demand for strategists is only projected to grow. The career path for a strategist also broadens across the board. From being a strategist, you can pivot to more directorial or managerial roles.
The career paths and related roles for a digital strategist include:
- Head of Marketing
- Head of Strategy
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Marketing Manager
- Social Media Director
These and more are some of the various paths available.
There are misconceptions associated with the role of a strategist and in this section of this article, we’re going to clarify some of the common misconceptions.
Digital strategist vs digital marketing
The role of a digital marketer is different from a digital strategist. While digital marketing is a part of digital strategy, it only makes up for a small portion of it. Digital strategy ties it all together to ensure the marketing campaigns in general achieve their desired aim.
Is it possible to begin a career as a strategist?
While this is possible, it is uncommon. Most strategists begin their careers in other marketing-related roles before making the career switch.
Is content marketing also a digital strategy?
Like digital marketing, content marketing is a part of the general marketing objective. It deals with marketing the company through written, video, or audio content. The digital strategy brings it all together as part of the strategy.
Like most digital roles, the career path for a strategist is not a straight path. There are twists and turns, and with the right skills, you can make that career switch or apply for that role. This article covers everything you need to know about the role and make an informed decision.
Thanks for sharing, Jim!
The idea for me is for digital marketers and content marketers should aspire to become digital strategists so they can contribute more to the organizations they work with.