How to start your Digital Marketing career

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

With Digital Marketing becoming more and more popular, we asked our Social Media, Content, and PR Executive, Thomas Duggan, his advice to anyone wishing to pursue a career in Digital Marketing.

Thomas completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce at University College Cork, where he majored in Marketing. Following his undergraduate studies, he completed a Master’s in Marketing at National University of Ireland, Galway and started working in the Marketing Department at Griffith College in February 2021.

Now, without further ado, here is Thomas and his advice.

The T approach to skills

You may have come across the two main schools of thought surrounding careers, to be a specialist or a generalist. For those interested in a career in Digital Marketing, I want to propose an alternative - The T model.

This approach to skills somewhat combines the generalist and specialist philosophies. Imagine a list running from left to right of all the skills that sit under the umbrella of Digital Marketing. For example: Paid Search, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media, Content Marketing etc. Now imagine there are blocks underneath each heading representing the depth of your knowledge in each area. The T approach encourages the individual to have a basic knowledge in all things Digital Marketing with a specialisation and deep knowledge in one particular area.

Benefits of the T

The benefit of the T approach to skills is that a small bit of knowledge about other Digital Marketing activities can go a long way to enhancing your own performance.

Knowing that the paid search genius regularly gets ‘search terms’ (the queries people typed before clicking on your search ad) can greatly help your SEO efforts.

Struggling to reach that niche audience in your paid social media campaigns? It might help to know that the email marketing guru most likely has numerous workflows operating at once and can create audience segments that could form the basis of an extremely targeted lookalike audience for your social campaign.

No idea how long to make your next content marketing video? The social media expert can help! Facebook provides stats on video engagement and drop off rates that can help measure and improve the resonance of your video content.

Another way to look at it is - a specialist can only make suggestions based on their siloed view of the world. For example, their campaign ideas could be as basic as:

‘For the paid social side of this campaign I think we should run carousel ads’’

But a team member who is well versed in all things Digital Marketing can suggest holistic campaign strategies such as:

‘I think we should use social and display ads to raise awareness at the top of the funnel, then we could utilise paid search to target those in the middle of the funnel by driving traffic to our lead generation pages and then we’ll use email workflows to nurture those from the middle of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel where they will eventually convert.’

Widening your T

The great thing about learning the basics of Digital Marketing is that every Digital Marketing agency in the world gives away free knowledge in the content they create!

If you’re looking to develop the width on your T, I can recommend the following websites for good beginner content:

Supporting knowledge with experience

Being well-read on all things Digital Marketing helps you stand out in the job marketplace but if you want to stand out from the competition, supporting your knowledge with experience helps immensely. In lots of careers, graduates come up against the vicious unfair cycle of companies saying ‘we won’t hire you because you don’t have experience’ but if you can’t get a job then how are you ever supposed to get experience?

The great thing about Digital Marketing is that experience is now easier than ever to acquire. You don’t need to be entrusted with a huge marketing budget to be allowed to run ads. You can get ad experience with €10! You don’t need to be running a company before creating an Instagram page. You can start one right now, for free! What better way to show off your SEO expertise than by ranking first for your name on Google? Or how cool would it be to not only say you are a social media expert but have thousands of followers online to back it up? If paid search is your speciality of choice, then what if you organised to work with a local charity to run a small Google Ads campaign?


In conclusion, I would recommend the T model approach to your digital marketing skills - shallow knowledge in many areas with a deep specialisation in a single area. The benefit of this is you can see the marketing funnel and customer journey in a more holistic way that enhances your individual value.

Furthermore, an excellent way to improve your chances of landing a digital marketing job is to bolster your knowledge with experience, and if no one is willing to provide it, then I would encourage you to become resourceful and entrepreneurial in how you acquire such experience.

If you’re interested in the marketing programmes Griffith provides, you can view them here.