College students or recent college grads that are interested in a career in digital marketing will reach out to me occasionally. It’s a topic I know a lot about, but I almost always disappoint them when I tell them that I don’t actually do digital marketing. I consult on it. I help digital marketers leverage new tools and marketing teams develop new digital capabilities. But I don’t actually stick around to do any of those things. It’s worth noting that my firm does have people that stay behind to do the actual work, but that’s a different post.
So what do I do? Well, the common thread for me has been to work with marketing departments that are undergoing some kind of change. This change is usually geared towards becoming more digital and more data-driven. This may sound simple on the surface, but once you start to dig a little it gets complicated. Really complicated.
We help them organize their data. We help them organize their teams. We help them decide which digital capabilities they want. We help them understand which technologies and tools they should invest in. We help them install these tools. We develop org charts, processes, and governance to ensure everything runs effectively. Within each of these categories, there are other tricky problems that emerge and we help our clients solve these too. With as fast as technology and media is changing, there is plenty of work for consultants in the digital marketing world.
This path has been interesting and frustrating at the same time. You get to work with very smart, very senior, very cool people that do some cutting-edge things in digital. However, like I mentioned earlier – I don’t stick around to DO any digital marketing.
For those that want to become real digital marketers, there is an important caveat here. I have plenty of colleagues that started in consulting and are now DOING digital marketing in another industry. So if that is your end goal, consulting can help you get there. You also develop very valuable problem solving, critical thinking, presentation, leadership and teamwork skills, among others.