Neil Patel

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What Are the Most Common Digital Marketing Job Descriptions and Roles?

title slide with text reading "what are the most common digital marketing job descriptions and roles"

As a teenager preparing for college, you struggled for months (or even years) trying to decide which degree was right for you. 

What if I told you that your degree (or lack thereof), among other surprising factors, doesn’t play as big a role as you might think in landing a job in the digital marketing field?

That’s just one of many surprising data points uncovered by my team’s research.

So, if you’re wondering how to grow your marketing career, or even just break into the field at all, look no further.

This post will discuss the current digital marketing job landscape. It will also outline the most common digital marketing job descriptions, roles, and functions. This information will help you to better understand the job market so you can land the digital marketing job of your dreams.

Key Findings About Marketing Job Roles

  • NP Digital collected data from over 4,000 respondents to analyze the varied landscape of digital marketing jobs.
  • 36 percent of marketers have three to six years of experience, the largest group in the survey.
    • 55 percent have zero to five years of experience, with 18 percent having less than two years.
  • 53.9 percent of marketers hold a Bachelor’s degree, while 28.2 percent have a Master’s degree.
  • Marketers with three to six years of experience have varied responsibilities, including social media campaigns (51.4 percent), email campaigns (44.6 percent), paid advertising (39.2 percent), SEO (35.8 percent), and content writing (32.6 percent).
  • AI is widely used in various tasks, including writing copy for social media posts (32.6 percent), blogs (22.6 percent), and emails (29.8 percent).
  • 56.6 percent of marketers earn less than $50,000 per year, with 18.2 percent making between $51,000 and $75,000.
  • Compensation varies based on location, specialization, and company.
    • 30.9 percent value flexible hours, contributing to a comfortable work-life balance.
    • 43.5 percent of marketers are either very or somewhat satisfied with their compensation.

The Digital Marketing Job Market: What Is It?

When you think of marketing roles, what first comes to mind?

For me, it’s the cutthroat yet prestigious world of Mad Men.

Now that’s an ad agency, and one set in the 1960s, so things have certainly changed since then.

This is even more true for digital marketing, which only really entered the scene in the 1990s.

Heck, things have changed since the early 2000s and even into the 2010s when it comes to the digital marketing job landscape.

So, what does the digital marketing job market look like today?

While big marketing agencies still exist, there is more opportunity than ever in the world of digital marketing. From freelance consultancy to in-house roles on a digital marketing team, there really are a plethora of options for marketers.

The good news, as we’ll see, is that digital marketing is not just a world for those lucky or highly experienced individuals. With the right combination of education, soft skills, and grit, you too can break into the world of digital marketing.

Our Data on Digital Marketing Job Roles

Speaking of digital marketing agencies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own!

NP Digital is a global digital marketing agency that helps businesses to accelerate their digital growth. With hundreds of clients around the world, my team is made up of professionals from all walks of life.

As part of our work as a digital agency, we collect data on the things that matter to our clients and other digital marketers. That’s what we’ve done today with our data analysis on digital marketing jobs.

We’ve used a combination of two surveys—totaling over 4,000 respondents—to find out just how varied the digital marketing job market is.

Our goal?

To help you understand the most common job roles and responsibilities of digital marketers today, so you can make career development decisions that drive your professional growth.

Now let’s dive in!

Years of Experience

When looking for work, it can be easy to compare yourself to other professionals in the field. After all, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to find colleagues and monitor their career progression.

Whatever you do, though, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others.

A common example is thinking you have too few years of relevant experience when compared to your colleagues. It may even lead to you not applying for that job you think would be the perfect fit!

According to our respondents, 36 percent of marketers have three to six years of experience1. That’s the largest group in our pool, and that bodes well for you if you feel you aren’t as experienced as you should be.

This is reinforced in our second set of data below as well:

pie chart of ages of marketing professionals

According to the 3,806 responses2, the majority (55 percent) have anywhere from zero to five years of experience. Eighteen percent have less than two years of experience.

The good news is, that zero to five years of experience doesn’t appear to be solely due to second (or third) career transitions.

What do I mean?

It’s not uncommon for professionals to pivot their careers, or even make jumps into entirely new industries, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. While these professionals may have little experience in marketing, they still have other experience that is taken into account when applying for jobs.

However, our data shows that most of our respondents (44.6 percent) are between the ages of 25 to 44 and a good chunk (12.2 percent) are between the ages of 18 to 242. That’s over half of the respondents combined!

This is good news for new graduates, as it shows you have a good chance of breaking into marketing.

Speaking of new graduates, what degree do most of our respondents hold?

While some marketers certainly got their start right out of high school, that’s not the case for most marketers in today’s world. The majority (53.9 percent) of marketers who participated in our survey had a Bachelor’s degree2. That’s followed by 28.2 percent with a Master’s degree2.

pie chart showing education levels for marketers

Remember, a relevant degree is helpful and it will certainly give you a boost in the job market. However, it’s not completely necessary as any degree will have transferable skills.

One such transferable skill? Communication.

Communication skills are a must in any professional role, but especially in marketing.

And if you don’t have a relevant degree, think of your resume and cover letter as an opportunity to market yourself. Let your transferable skills—often soft skills like interpersonal communication and problem solving—shine through.

Job Responsibilities

Now, perhaps you’re thinking that marketers with so “little” experience can’t possibly be doing the things they enjoy. The truth is that the job responsibilities of these marketers are as varied as the day is long.

Let’s take a look at the mix of responsibilities for those marketers with three to six years of experience.

Note: Marketers could select any responsibilities that apply.

bar chart showing percentage of respondents who selected various marketing responsibilities

The majority (51.40 percent) of respondents say the main responsibility of their role is running social media campaigns1. With how popular and vast social media has become, that’s no surprise.

However, other main responsibilities include running email campaigns (44.60 percent), running paid advertising campaigns (39.20 percent), search engine optimization (35.80 percent), and writing content (32.60 percent) just to name a few1.

As you can see, marketers with “little” experience are spread out across the industry!

So be sure not to hold back on applying to a job just because you can’t imagine a “newbie” working in that role. If it’s the role you want, it’s the role you should work towards.

This data is reiterated in our Salary Trends survey. There are roles in SEO (17.8 percent), content marketing (14.3 percent), paid media (10 percent), and social media (8.6 percent), among others2.

pie chart of the areas of marketing people work in

Do you notice a pattern here?

A lot of these job roles pertain to content. That’s because good content—whether on blogs, social media, or ads—never goes out of style.

Now, before you think marketers only work at marketing agencies or in-house in marketing departments, think again!

pie chart of job functions of marketers

Marketing is certainly the largest job function or department for the marketers we polled, with 77.4 percent claiming to work in marketing2. However, you will also find marketing professionals in sales, operations, finance, and beyond.

My recommendation for those looking to break into the field? Keep an open mind when browsing job listings. Your dream job may be marketing, but it may not fall into a company’s marketing department (if they even have one!).

Also, consider that digital marketing job role descriptions will vary from company to company. So don’t overlook a job role simply because of the title. Instead, dig into the description to get a true feel for the job requirements.

Of course, we can’t talk about job responsibilities without talking about seniority. After all, your seniority level will greatly impact the day-to-day work you do.

From our respondents, mid-level seniority is the majority of digital marketing roles at 49.5

percent2. That’s followed by entry-level and intermediate professionals at 21.6 percent2.

pie chart of marketing seniority levels

We can’t ignore the owner/freelance responses (12.8 percent), either2. After all, freelance digital marketers are a good portion of the digital marketer population.

How Marketers Are Leveraging AI Within Their Job Roles

We now know who our marketing respondents are and the job roles they have.

So, what about job functions?

When we consider the job functions of modern marketers, we have to take into account Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role. So we asked the respondents what their most common tasks were and how they used AI to assist.

Here’s what we found.

bar chart of the different ways marketers are using AI

The job tasks ranged from image generation to writing scripts for videos to creating backend code for websites. The most common use of AI, though, was in writing copy for social media posts which 32.60 percent of respondents said they do1.

Social media wasn’t the only place where AI-generated copy was used. The respondents also said they used it for writing copy for blogs (22.60 percent) and writing copy for emails (29.80 percent)1.

If you’re thinking, “Great! I don’t need to improve my writing skills because AI will do it for me,” you’d be wrong. The use of AI for such tasks actually makes solid copywriting skills more important.

Why?

First, AI will never have the human touch that is needed when it comes to marketing to humans. It may provide passable copy, but it certainly needs to be tweaked to meet your audience’s needs.

Second, the use of AI for such tasks is indicative of a larger need. Marketing teams—whether as part of agencies or in-house—will always need copywriters and content writers. If you have solid copywriting skills, you can be a valuable asset to any marketing team. In fact, you’ll be a standout among applicants if you have a copywriting portfolio.

Compensation and Career Satisfaction

There seem to be two common depictions of the marketing world in pop culture.

The first is that of a high-stress, high-reward environment. You work long hours, but you also are compensated more than fairly for that work.

The second is a similarly high-stress environment, but one that pays peanuts.

Where does the truth lie?

As with most things, it lies somewhere in the middle.

pie chart of compensation levels for marketers

The majority of marketers (56.6 percent) earn less than $50,000 per year2. Next up is 18.2 percent of marketers who make between $51,000 and $75,000 per year2.

Of course, compensation will depend heavily on your location, your specialization, and your company. Something to note is that we polled marketers from around the world.

Other factors should also be taken into consideration, like work-life balance.

According to 30.9 percent of marketers, flexible hours are a benefit they value most2. While this can’t be quantified financially, it can go a long way into creating a comfortable work-life balance.

pie chart of what benefits marketers value most

As for overall satisfaction with compensation?

pie chart showing percentages of marketers satisfied with their compensation

43.5 percent of marketers were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.”2 Just 20.7 percent were “very dissatisfied.”2

Insights From Our Data on Digital Marketing Job Roles

Entering the job market—as a new graduate or as a seasoned professional—is daunting. This is especially true in an ever-changing field such as marketing.

But knowing who the current professionals are, and what they do, can help.

Digital marketing is a diverse field, with a wide range of ages, education levels, and job skills. This means that even marketing hopefuls can break into the field with a bit of persistence.

Most importantly, if you’re a new or “unconventional” marketing professional, you should not sell yourself short. Digital marketing is present in a wide array of industries. You should never assume due to age, lack of experience, or a non-traditional educational background that you will not find a good fit for yourself as a digital marketer.

You should take those risks and apply for the jobs you desire because the data shows that digital marketers are a varied bunch. 

Now, whether a new or established marketing professional, what does it all come down to?

First, content is very much an integral part of any digital marketing role.

In all areas of marketing—and especially email, social media, and landing pages—content plays a key role. So knowing how to identify and create quality content is crucial whether you’re a junior-level associate or a senior vice president.

Second, it’s impossible to ignore AI’s role in the modern marketing landscape.

Marketers are relying on AI more and more for common job tasks, including research, copywriting, and customer service.

This doesn’t mean you can neglect your training and education, though. While AI is used to assist in these job tasks, the “assistance” only goes so far. Skilled professionals are still needed to clean much of AI’s output, so continue to hone your skills so you can stand out in the job market.

Digital Marketing Agencies and Filling the Talent Gap

As a digital marketer, it’s clear to see that you have some choices to make when it comes to where to work and in what specialty.

As the owner of a digital marketing agency myself, I have to give a nudge in that direction.

It’s true that you can likely find satisfaction in-house or even consulting. However, it can be hard to grow professionally when there’s no clear direction. That’s why so many new marketers strive to find a place within digital marketing agencies.

Digital marketing agencies are full of top-talent professionals. This is great for new, or even stagnating, digital marketers. They also fill the talent gap for businesses in a way that most businesses can’t afford to do on their own.

FAQs

What does a digital marketer do?

A digital marketer is a person who uses various digital channels—social media, websites, search engines, etc.—to promote a business and its services or products. This differs from traditional marketing in that the medium is online.

How does digital marketing work?

Digital marketing works by connecting with potential customers via online marketing mediums, such as email and search engine advertisements. Digital marketers implement these initiatives to increase traffic to websites and drive revenue growth.

Conclusion

I would be lying if I said that breaking into the digital marketing job field—or any career field—is easy. You will certainly face challenges no matter your age, education level, and experience.

However, as the data bares out, there is plenty of opportunity for new and seasoned professionals alike.

The most important aspect to focus on is what you can bring to the table. While content writing skills and knowledge of AI are helpful, they are also skills that can be learned on the job. Your transferable skills are what are likely to help you stand out—and succeed.

Do you have questions about modern digital marketing job roles? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Data sourced from our Pollfish market research.
  2. Data sourced from our Digital Salary Trends research.
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