The tools any marketer needs to be familiar with, today

Whenever I ask recruiters or those working in digital marketing what single thing my students ought to do to increase their chances of getting an interview, the response is unanimous: have a digital presence… and that such presence needs to go (well) beyond having a Facebook account!

According to top executive recruiters interviewed by Forbes, the 3 questions informing every job interview are:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you love the job?
3. Can we tolerate working with you? the back of every interviewer guide

As many firms are either trying out digital marketing initiatives or considering whether they should, it is natural that they consider job candidates’ digital skills. The specific skills will vary with the company or position. However, from my own (admittedly anecdotal) experience, any graduate considering a digital marketing job needs to be familiar with:
– The main social media platforms
– The principles of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
– The business model of mobile application (or Apps)

Social Media
Kietzmann and colleagues define ‘Social Media’ as the broad range of highly interactive mobile or web-based platforms through which individual users and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content.

Hence, social media includes social networking sites like Facebook, as well as business networking sites like LinkedIn. But social media goes well beyond social networks.

There are creative content sharing sites likes YouTube, and collaborative websites like Wikipedia. It also includes virtual worlds like Second Life.

Other platforms through which uses can share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content are commerce communities, podcasts, news delivery sites, open source communities and social bookmarking/tagging facilities.

The definition also includes blogs – company sponsored ones, as well as those produced and maintained by individual users. Talking of blogs, as you may remember, this semester I am asking the Marketing eFutures students to keep individual blogs – I explain why here. These are the URLs for their blogs – do take a look and leave a comment if you see fit:

I remember a time when you could buy a book with URL addresses – a kind of phone directory for the web. Those days are long gone. Now, we use search engines. Hence, if firms want their websites to be found, they need to understand how current or potential customers use search engines at various stages of the consumption decision-making process.

My colleague Sarah Quinton names (and explains) the following key tools for increasing website traffic here:
– Analytical and heuristic searches
– Affiliate marketing
– Pay per click
– Link building
– Directory submission
– Online press release distribution

An ‘app’ is a software application designed specifically for the mobile platform (phones or tablets). It allows the user to perform specific functions – e.g., check the weather, compare prices… or simply be entertained.

Apps are not only a good source of income; they can be a good source of customer insight, as well.

Most importantly, apps are a mechanism to add value to the customer. For instance, location-based services – including augmented reality – really make the most of mobile handsets. And reducing the number of steps that customers need to perform in order to do something – e.g., reading news or blogs from various sources – adds convenience and creates a switching cost.

This is my list of essentials. What other digital tools do you think today’s marketers really need to be familiar with?

PS – A note about the picture accompanying this blog post. My mother in law was rummaging the attic and found this notebook. It runs on MS-Dos 5 and it has the grand total of 2MB of memory!!!

3 thoughts on “The tools any marketer needs to be familiar with, today

  1. Interesting post, again. I think it’s essential for students now to understand what the effect of the digital world is on their future jobs. And have a bit of an understanding of how huge and constantly moving the landscape is. I really like to show the conversation prism ( to make an impression of that.What I also think is important to know, especially for those that are graduating next year and later, but already increasingly now as well, is the understanding that social media marketing goes further than SEM and SEO and viral videos. What I see becoming more and more important for companies is real added value, and yes: ROI. Jeremiah Owyang has an excellent website where he discusses this: and his company Altimeter does great research which they share.


  2. Personally, I feel that marketing students must be familiar with a broad range of digital media if they want to have a fair chance in today’s competitive job market.But you are right – the landscape is always evolving, and that can be very daunting (for me, it is).Ah… the ROI issue. I agree that marketing is also about measuring, and that investment in SM, too, should be monitored. But it is so much more than ‘likes’, ‘followers’  and RTs.I’ve added Jeremiah’s blog to by reader. Thank you!


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