What Does a Digital Marketing Manager Do? 7 Must-Have Skills


Are you interested in pursuing a role as a Digital Marketing Manager?

The demand for digital marketing managers is continuing to increase as organizations transfer their marketing budgets from print and television onto digital platforms. Growth in digital advertising is driving more organizations to hire marketing professionals that specialize in maximizing growth and driving ROI through digital channels.

If you’re excited by the prospect of creating multi-channel digital marketing strategies and executing them alongside a dedicated team of marketing professionals, a digital marketing manager role could be perfect for you. 

To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide explaining what it takes to become a digital marketing manager in 2020. You’ll learn exactly what a digital marketing manager is, their most important responsibilities and activities, and the seven skills that digital marketing managers need to succeed.

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What is a Digital Marketing Manager?

Digital marketing managers are responsible for developing and implementing long-term digital marketing strategies within an organization. 

digital marketing manager example

At the organizational level, digital marketing strategy includes multiple digital channels like organic search, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, digital PR, and more. Digital marketing managers must therefore possess a broad range of digital marketing knowledge across multiple channels.

Digital marketing managers are also team leaders. They manage teams of marketing professionals with diverse skill sets and coordinate them in executing on the organization’s established digital marketing strategy. 

Becoming a digital marketing manager is fun and fulfilling, as well as rewarding. In the United States, digital marketing managers earn an average salary of around $60,000 per year, and many earn as much as $100,000 or more.

What Does a Digital Marketing Manager Do?

Develop Strategy

Digital marketing managers are responsible for creating marketing strategies that advance the business goals, objectives, and priorities of the organization. They must understand business priorities by communicating effectively with their leaders, including marketing directors and the executive team. The best digital marketing managers possess specialized knowledge across multiple online marketing channels and use their expertise to choose the most favorable channels based on the organization’s current goals and objectives.

Communicate with Team Members

A digital marketing manager typically oversees a small team of 3-12 digital marketing specialists who collectively execute on the organization’s digital strategy.

digital marketing teamwork

Digital marketing managers are responsible for communicating with their team members on a regular basis, maintaining accountability for results, tracking progress against KPIs, and providing team members with the training and resources they need to be productive.

Measure Results & Optimize Campaigns

Digital marketing managers use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of their digital campaigns. KPIs are metrics used to determine whether a campaign is helping the business advance its goals and priorities. Goals for digital marketing include things like increasing website traffic, generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs), or generating increased brand awareness.

Once a marketing campaign goes live, digital marketing managers are responsible for ensuring the success of that campaign by regularly measuring KPI progress, identifying opportunities for campaign optimization, and working with team members to implement changes.


Digital marketing managers are accountable to their leaders for the results of their digital marketing efforts. 

digital marketing reporting

Digital marketing managers use specialized data visualization tools to produce reports on the performance of their campaigns and present those reports to their leadership team. 

Interface with Sales & Service

Marketing, sales, and customer service or customer success are all critical touchpoints in the customer journey. 

Digital marketing managers must communicate regularly with sales & customer success team members to ensure that prospective customers are getting a consistent, on-brand experience throughout the customer journey. That means establishing shared definitions of MQLs and SQLs with the sales team and facilitating cross-departmental collaboration to drive success in upcoming go-to-market programs.

Monitor Industry Trends

To keep their organizations ahead of the competition, digital marketing managers must keep up with the latest industry trends and share those insights with team members to drive organizational improvements. 

7 Must-Have Skills for Digital Marketing Managers

  1. Communication – Digital marketing managers must communicate effectively with their executive leadership team, team members, and managers in other departments like sales and service, their own team of marketing professionals, and sometimes even external customers. digital marketing communication skills
  2. Decision-Making – Digital marketing managers exercise decision-making in every aspect of their job performance. They make decisions about digital marketing strategy, which marketing tactics should be used, which daily operations are required, how the work should be delegated, and how performance should be measured and evaluated.
  3. Planning & Project Management – Digital marketing managers spend relatively little of their time on marketing operations and much more on high-level strategic planning and project management. This includes tasks like project conception and planning, budget management and allocation, setting goals, milestones, and timelines, communicating with stakeholders, and delivering results on time and on budget.
  4. Analytics & Financial Modeling – Digital marketing managers use data analytics tools and financial modeling to measure their marketing results and measure return on investment or downstream impact on revenue.
  5. Technical Digital Marketing Skills – Digital marketing managers need exceptional technical digital marketing skills to effectively plan, analyze, and optimize campaigns across multiple digital marketing channels. The most successful marketing managers have diverse expertise in areas like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, conversion rate optimization (CRO), marketing automation, social media marketing, eCommerce, and more. digital marketing technical skills
  6. Problem-Solving – Digital marketing managers bring value to their organizations by applying their problem-solving skills to many different situations. Figuring out how to optimize an under-performing marketing campaign, how to coordinate team members around a project schedule, and how to manage expectations with customers are just a few examples of the problems that digital marketing managers face and overcome every day.
  7. Motivating Team Members – Motivating team members is a critical aspect of managing people. As team leaders, digital marketing managers motivate their team members to produce their best work by helping them connect their job performance with personal goals, values, and ideals.

How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager

So far, we’ve explained in detail the most important skills, activities, and responsibilities associated with the Digital Marketing Manager role – but how exactly does one become a digital marketing manager?

Landing your first digital marketing manager role can take years, but we’ve condensed the process down to three simple steps that you can follow to get there in the shortest time possible.

Start with Technical Digital Marketing Skills

The most important thing that sets digital marketing managers apart from the marketing professionals they manage is their breadth of knowledge. Digital marketing managers possess strong technical digital marketing skills across multiple channels, while their team members typically specialize in just one or two channels. 

If your goal is to become a digital marketing manager, you’ll need to expand your knowledge base and acquire specialized knowledge across several different areas of digital marketing.

Through our digital marketing course at Directive Institute, aspiring marketers can earn certifications in SEO, PPC, CRO, and Data Analytics. You’ll gain practical experience and expand your breadth of knowledge in digital marketing, helping you prepare for a future role as a digital marketing manager.

Start an Entry-Level Digital Marketing Role

On your way to becoming a digital marketing manager, you’ll need to gain some experience in an entry-level marketing role. 

Here, you’ll be responsible for executing daily marketing operations and strategy according to the organization’s established marketing strategy and business goals. You will gain experience in one or more digital marketing channels and you’ll continue to develop skills like client service, decision-making, communication, and problem-solving that will pay dividends when you become a digital marketing manager in the future.

Apply for Digital Marketing Manager Roles

After one to three years of experience in an entry-level digital marketing role, you should be ready to apply for your first digital marketing manager job.

Make sure that all of your skills and certifications are up-to-date and craft a resume that demonstrates strong technical digital marketing skills, as well as the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in a management role.


Thanks for checking out our guide on becoming a digital marketing manager in 2020! 

We hope this article sheds some light on the digital marketing manager role and inspires you to keep pursuing your career goals in digital marketing.

Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO and co-founder of Directive Consulting – a global search marketing agency headquartered in Southern California specializing in comprehensive search marketing campaigns for B2B and enterprise companies.

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