Business January 2, 2019 Last updated January 1st, 2019 1,802 Reads share

Advice for Digital Marketing Rookies

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Marketing newcomers are confused by a growing number of channels and technologies. Their audiences are living in more places and they need to manage a fractured set of communities with no increase in budget or people, but an expected increase in performance.

There is no single channel marketer anymore.

The solution? It’s not more software, but training up on how to manage multiple channels with less time. Understand the basics before you increase complexity.

The idea of a “digital consumer” is not valid anymore.  Consider that nearly everyone has one type of primary device and often multiple other devices they use for different things. The car and TV are now computers, so is that digital? Consumers expect their devices, apps, and brands to be smart enough to know what to say to them when. The personalization burden is on you.

Now let’s acknowledge some of the many tools available in digital marketing. Did you know the best tools are FREE?

There are standard tools from Google, Facebook, and other networks you should start with.

We rarely recommend 3rd party tools, though we build such tools ourselves.

Other “tools” are being overused or abused. There is a special place in the underworld for social media tools and anything in the realm of “analytics”. Generating charts is not the same thing as understanding what’s going on and taking action.

And if you ask me what my favorite tool is, I don’t have a preference since it depends on the client and where their customers are.

In general, Facebook has the biggest audience in developed markets with the greatest targeting capabilities.

When building a campaign, you can’t fake passion, so work only on campaigns for companies that you actually love yourself.

Inspiration comes from that brand’s mission, not the love of various technologies.

For example, one of my favorite campaigns was Jack Daniel’s launching Tennessee Fire against Fireball. They leveraged the great strength of the Jack Daniel’s brand while being highly attuned to their market. Brown-Forman, their parent company, is in my opinion, the best storytelling company on the planet– more than Coke, Old Spice, or Nike.

As space evolves, marketing automation and social media will merge– the intersection is mobile.

And while a lot of people are saying “mobile first” and cloud out of fashion, or even building mobile apps for no good purpose, what underlies this is having a single view of the customer across all channels, devices, and experiences. No company does this, so expect the merging of analytics, app, and advertising companies.

My best advice for new marketers? Stop marketing and start getting customers to do your marketing for you.

Most companies will likely fire their agency to take this in-house since they can’t produce content that enthralls their audiences– only actual users and zealous employees can do that, so hand the microphone to them and let them speak.

This is another way to say word of mouth marketing is now measurable. Customers can do the work for you-you just need to find them and reward them in a non-incentivized way.

What do you think will come next for social media marketing? Think over the user experience and the strategies of the digital marketer in the ever-changing digital realm. Will you continue to dig deeper and recognize the value of the tools we have all around us?


If you try to learn digital marketing and look for a guide (or so to say) online, you’ll come across plenty of “ultimate”, “complete” and “step-by-step” resources published by marketers or agencies.

These lack a personal touch and aim to have you register to an e-mail newsletter or try a service. That’s because that “publication” is part of their content strategy to capture leads

Also, they tend to contain plenty of internal links — you end up opening them, read a third and just give up because there was way too much to read. They boost their internal linking while you boost your “give-up” rate.

This article is free of links. I want you to read the entire piece (as long as you are learning), and cultivate your own opinion on how to start learning.

There will be no definitions in this article. Why? I want you to do your own research and build your own definition. Reading multiple definitions will help you build your own.

I am not affiliated with any of the resources I will mention (or recommend).

Let’s get started.

As a LinkedIn user, I turned to LinkedIn learning and started to explore the jargon:

  • SEO (search engine optimization).
  • PPC (pay-per-click).
  • SEM (social engine marketing).
  • Social media marketing.
  • Growth hacking.
  • Content marketing
  • This is a good start for a noob, as it helps with having a better perspective on the different aspects of the digital marketing realm.

    At this stage, I had not watched any courses yet and was simply informing myself about what to explore in depth

I randomly selected SEO and decided to make it “my topic” for September.

I promised to educate myself on the subject and be quite knowledgeable about SEO by the month’s end.

You can do the same for any topic you feel like learning.

Be it for a skill you want to use in freelance, your current job or any other reason.

You don’t have to pick from the list above — just create your own.

Or don’t create any and just start learning immediately.

To cover the basics and beyond, boost my motivation, and understand SEO-related topics, I took the following courses:

  • “Become an SEO expert” on LinkedIn
  • “Learning Content Marketing” on LinkedIn (the course has been removed)
  • “Content Marketing” on the free HubSpot Academy
  • “The 2018 SEO Training Course” on the free HubSpot Academy
  • “SEO: E-commerce” on LinkedIn
  • “Advanced SEO: Search Factors” on LinkedIn
  • “SEO: Apps” on LinkedIn
  • “SEO Fundamentals Course with Greg Gifford” on the free SEMRush Academy
  • “Technical SEO course with Bastian Grimm” on the free SEMRush Academy

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Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu

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