We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.
–Donald J. Trump
Whether that’s true for our country is up for (very frequent) debate. I can only tell you that for me personally, this is wrong. After twenty years of “winning” at digital marketing, I can say with certainty that I’m not sick and tired of it.
In fact, I’m not even a little bit sick of it, and maybe only a little bit tired, but that comes with age.
Digital marketing has, essentially, been my life since my mid-twenties. I pretty much stumbled into it, but have never looked back. As part of Pole Position Marketing’s 20th-Anniversary series of posts, I wanted to share the top 20 reasons why I love digital marketing. Some of them are personal and some professional, but all are true.
1. Provides for my family
I have to start this on a personal note. While I know that any career I could have chosen would, ultimately, provide for my family, running a digital marketing agency has given me added benefits that help in my unique situation. In short, I live in Ohio and most of my kids live in Nevada. Since I travel a lot to speak at conferences and visit clients, I’m also able to fly to see my kids every four to six weeks. I can’t imagine most jobs allow for that kind of flexibility. If I was to rank my number one reason for loving digital marketing, this is it.
2. Provides for my employees
I have deliberately tried to build a company that was more team focused than profit focused. In fact, more times than not, when the company goes through lean times, it’s those at the top that feel it the most. I always want to make sure we can continue to provide for the rest of the team. My team is my second family, and I want nothing more than each of them to feel valued and successful.
3. Building jobs and economic growth
To round out the top three reasons why I love what I do, I have to say that I love the economic impact that digital marketing has on the world. Every company that we help make more successful is a company that can hire more people, give more raises, and expand their customer base. That, in turn, creates more jobs, improves standards of living, brings people out of poverty, provides for their education, and translates into more dollars donated to charity. It’s a great circle of life that I’m proud to be a part of.
“Every company that we help make more successful is a company that can hire more people, give more raises, and expand their customer base. That, in turn, creates more jobs, improves standards of living, brings people out of poverty, provides for their education, and translates into more dollars donated to charity.”
4. Opportunity for the unschooled
I’m don’t hate college, but I also don’t consider college degrees as “essential” as most. Personally, I think colleges tend to be overpriced and inadequate in preparing young people for the challenges of real life. In fact, I can’t remember the last time that I even bothered to ask a job candidate what degrees they have. The education can certainly be helpful knowledge-wise, but in practice mean very little when it comes to digital marketing.
I love that someone with no background or experience but a solid drive can succeed in this space. And remarkably so. I’ll take a self-educated person with drive than someone with a degree looking to fill a seat any day.
5. The challenge of developing unique solutions
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. Give me two websites that sell the exact same product or service to the exact same audience, and I’ll give you two unique digital marketing strategies. Every website requires its own unique solutions. Coming up with those solutions is one of the most interesting and fun aspects of this job. This stuff never gets boring!
6. The breadth of verticals
When it comes to digital marketing, a holistic approach is needed. And the breadth of that approach can, at times, be vast. It’s hard to succeed on SEO alone. You need social media, conversion optimization, content strategy, etc., etc. While this presents challenges of its own, it also keeps things interesting.
7. Keyword research
When it comes to doing the actual work, keyword research was one of my first loves. Not only does the discovery process fit my personality (go spreadsheets!) but it can also be quite entertaining to see the things that people search for.
8. Navigation optimization
If I had to pick a more recent love of the job it’s navigation optimization. There’s just something about taking dozens, if not hundreds, of URLs, throwing in keyword research and using that to create some kind of a structural rhyme and reason out of it all.
9. User-experience optimization
Almost daily I hear my wife say something to the effect of, “These people need you!” She’s usually online trying to research or buy something, and she finds problem after problem with whatever website she’s on. Most user experience issues are easy to spot but not necessarily easy to fix. But the process of uncovering all such problems feels more like exploring than work.
10. Teaching about digital marketing
Having a team means that I no longer do a lot of active digital marketing. But I do get to do a fair bit of teaching at conferences, workshops, and in-house. And I have to say that I love it. There’s just something about being in front of people and helping them learn, grow, and improve, and doing so in a fun, engaging, and entertaining manner. Seeing a happy audience makes me a happy marketer.
11. The breadth of clients
I love the fact that I get to work with clients all over the business spectrum. Not only do we get to help people in manufacturing, medical, ecommerce, tourism, and a variety of other industries, but each client also has a variety of needs. This definitely keeps things interesting
12. Good optimization is good optimization
Despite the fact there is more than one search engine… just kidding, we know only Google matters. Let me try that again: Despite the fact that we serve clients in multiple industries, covering both B2B and B2C, there is very little daylight in regards to the optimization between them. Certainly every industry, vertical, and website requires unique strategies, but when it comes to the overall nature of what we do, good optimization is just good optimization and is applicable almost anywhere.
13. The constant change
If there is one thing that is true about digital marketing is that is always changing. Google’s algorithm changes almost daily as do people’s preferences. This doesn’t change the good-is-good aspect but adds a layer of additional challenges that keep us marketers on our toes.
14. Non-stop education
Back when I was in school, I had delusions of finishing my education and being done with it. Little did I know that life rarely works out that way–especially for a digital marketer. Despite having my delusions smashed, turns out that I enjoy the education process. Every day I get to learn something new that I didn’t know the day before. And yes, that’s still true today as it was 20 years ago!
15. Precision of tracking
When it comes to tracking and data, nothing beats digital. There are more metrics–and more accurate metrics–available through digital marketing than any other form of marketing. This wealth of data is what helps us fine tune the strategies we put in place to improve performance and results. When you don’t have data, you’re just guessing.
16. The ROI
When it comes to return on investment, nothing beats digital marketing. This is largely due to the data mentioned above, but also because digital marketing can be much more tuned and focused for your target audience. Plus, you can do it at a fraction of the cost of traditional media.
17. Customer engagement
There are very few marketing platforms that allow for direct customer engagement. TV, radio, billboards, and magazines are almost all passive. But digital is more like creating a choose-your-own-adventure novel. You can see how your customers interact with your content and provide direct opportunities to engage with them in real time. That’s so cool!
18. Small businesses can still compete
Large brands definitely have an advantage in the digital space, just like they do offline. Deeper pockets mean they can invest more in building authority, which is a key component of succeeding in competitive spaces. But that doesn’t mean all is lost for the little guy. There are still plenty of opportunities where small businesses can outmaneuver their larger competitors. That’s good for them, and it’s good for us who primarily serve enterprise level. Competition makes everyone work harder to be the best.
19. It made me a better writer
I hated writing in college. I dreaded every term paper, every research project, and every essay. But dread or not, I always seemed to get high marks. Me? A writer? Never saw it coming. But today writing is probably 75% of my job, and whether I liked it or not, I was forced to improve. I have since published a book on digital marketing and am now using my skills to write a novel.
20. Making the web world a better place
Everything a digital marketer does should benefit both the business and the customers alike. In short, we make the web–and the world–a better place for everyone.