A Day in the Life of a Digital Marketing Director

A group of people discussing around a laptop

Digital marketing directors evaluate, develop, implement and monitor digital marketing strategies. While spending on print media marketing continues to decline, digital media marketers are experiencing employment growth through digital media campaigns. Marketers and advertisers can now reach a global target audience across multiple platforms such as the internet, social and chat applications and other mobile media.

Marketing managers and directors have a strong career outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of 2019, there were 286,800 marketing manager jobs and experts indicate that there will be nearly 22,000 more over the next ten years. This career outlook represents an eight percent increase, which is higher than the national average for employment change across all industries.

As the marketing climate continues to shift toward digital, companies have a demand for strong managers to lead effective digital campaigns. Digital marketing directors require a special set of digital skills and are in demand across all industries. We’ll evaluate digital marketing director careers and how professionals can secure one of these marketing roles.

What a digital marketing director does

Depending on the size of the company, a director role is typically considered an executive-level position, but could also be considered manager-level. Typically, a digital marketing director oversees a team of digital marketers. In addition to maintaining day-to-day digital marketing functions, digital marketing directors work with organizational leaders to ensure digital marketing strategies coincide with overall business goals.

Digital marketing sets itself apart from traditional marketing because it functions across a wide range of digital marketing channels and media. Digital marketing teams keep up with the latest technologies and optimizes all content for mobile viewing. A digital marketing team is responsible for the following functions:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing strategy
  • Digital marketing strategy
  • Search engine optimization (organic search)
  • Search engine monetization (paid search)
  • Multi-channel analytics
  • Web analytics
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content marketing

Digital skills are in-demand and digital marketing career opportunities are vast. Digital marketers benefit from this demand because they can often afford to be picky about selecting roles and typically receive higher salaries than their peers. Digital marketers also have an easier time launching a career and maintaining skill versatility.

The BLS reports that digital marketing managers and directors work in a wide range of environments and are often required to travel:

Employer industry Share of Jobs
Advertising Advertising, public relations and related services 40.0%
Information 11.0%
Management of companies and enterprises 8.0%
Self-employed workers 6.0%
Wholesale trade 6.0%
Marketing Professional, scientific and technical services 23.0%
Management of companies and enterprises 14.0%
Finance and insurance 10.0%
Manufacturing 10.0%
Wholesale trade 8.0%

Responsibilities of a digital marketing director

Digital marketer roles and responsibilities within an organization include expanding brand awareness both in online search and mobile device spaces. Branding carries individuals throughout the entire customer lifecycle, from lead acquisition to retention. Thus, digital marketers must strategically incorporate company values and beliefs into a story that will be both well-received and believed by customers.

Professionals interested in securing a digital marketing director job can do so by following a solid digital marketing career path. Putting in the time to gain valuable experience is unparalleled in digital marketing. It’s most helpful to find a senior marketer who can mentor and guide workers that are in the infancy of a digital marketing career. Individuals who are interested in a digital marketing director role could start out as an entry-level specialist, move up to an analyst, become a manager and eventually earn a position that maintains vision and oversight.

Outlined below are job titles in digital marketing that can lead up to a digital marketing director career:

Entry-level digital marketer

Entry-level digital marketers play a critical role within a marketing team. Although performing junior tasks, entry-level marketers work across teams so they are required to adapt quickly, maintain consistency and keep track of changing priorities. During this career stage, professionals are given the chance to learn everything they can about being a marketing generalist, which may come in handy down the road when pursuing an oversight or managerial role. Specialists often compile marketing materials for important meetings and act as a liaison between the sales and marketing teams.

Intermediate-level digital marketer

Intermediate-level digital marketers perform more complex, independent tasks within the marketing team. Digital marketing analysts and strategists may be given projects that last months at a time and are expected to develop plans and strategies individually or within a group capacity. This includes collecting, organizing and analyzing marketing data; conducting market research; evaluating campaigns; identifying target audiences and designing digital marketing campaigns. Digital marketing analysts find ways to reach customers through various digital media channels and strive to maintain a positive customer experience.

Manager-level digital marketer

First- and mid-level managers in digital marketing retire from performing as an individual contributor and take on the responsibility of managing a team of people. Digital marketing managers plan, oversee and implement marketing plans while considering and managing a digital marketing budget and human resources functions. Manager-level employees in digital marketing work closely with a marketing coordinator to assign work, and provide performance evaluations and ongoing feedback to subordinates for the purpose of strengthening both individuals and the team. Digital marketing managers are mindful of organizational goals and values and therefore make recommendations for business solutions that will provide a greater return on investment.

Senior manager-level digital marketer

In addition to planning and developing marketing strategies, a digital marketing director communicates from the top down, providing insight to first- and middle-level managers for the priorities of the executive team. Digital marketing directors deliver a general marketing plan to employees and delegate responsibilities for carrying out a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Skills and qualities of a good digital marketing director

Effective digital marketing directors are inherently curious and genuinely enjoy finding answers to human problems. Digital marketing director qualifications include a background rich in marketing, sales, promotions, advertising or another related field. Also, according to Burning Glass, nearly 30 percent of surveyed digital marketing directors carried a master’s degree.

Digital marketing directors must have the following skills to be successful:

  • Decision-making: Digital marketing directors often make the most difficult marketing decisions, maintaining a conscious mind for customers’ needs, staff capacity and executive goals. Digital marketing directors create and prioritize goals, and adjust marketing plans as needed.
  • Time management: Digital marketing directors oversee multiple marketing campaigns at any given time and must plan the department’s workload according to available resources and staff. Time management is essential in order to maintain the quality of a final product.
  • Creativity: Even with the automation of digital campaigns and other advances in technology, marketing is a creative industry and requires its leaders to be innovative.
  • Communication: Digital marketing directors work closely with multiple teams at all different levels. Given the often fluid environment digital marketing can bring, directors must know the individual skill-set of each marketing employee so tasks are assigned appropriately and efforts are maximized.
  • Adaptability: Being a director often means you’ll be the first person to put out fires and solve problems through a marketing campaign. Digital marketing directors must also know when to push a project forward and when to go back to the drawing board.
  • Testing and tracking: In addition to identifying and prioritizing goals, digital marketing directors are able to track and measure results. This includes rolling out the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) so performance data is streamlined and accessible.

Burning Glass also lists the following core and desirable skills for digital marketing directors:

Digital marketing director core skills Digital marketing director desirable skills
Budgeting Business-to-business
Digital marketing Market strategy
Ecommerce Search engine optimization (SEO)
Key performance indicators (KPIs) Social media strategy
Project management Staff management
Social media Thought leadership
Teamwork/collaboration Web analytics

Career and salary outlook

As demand grows for digital skills, digital marketing salaries follow. Burning Glass provides a comprehensive view of the digital marketing director salary range which reaches $127,000 per year. The report also indicates the demand for the position, by location. The first chart below represents locations in the U.S. that have an average salary of $80,000 per year or higher. The second chart below represents locations in the U.S. that have a high to very high demand.

Digital marketing director, sorted by top salary locations in the U.S.

Demand Average Salary
Santa Rosa, CA Low $127,000
Worcester, MA Medium $101,000
Cape Coral, FL Medium $100,000
San Antonio, TX Medium $100,000
San Jose, CA High $98,000
New Orleans, LA Medium $92,000
New Haven, CT Low $89,000
Portland, OR Medium $86,000
Charleston, SC Low $85,000
San Diego, CA Medium $84,000
Baltimore, MD Medium $84,000
Milwaukee, WI Medium $82,000
New York, NY Very High $82,000
San Francisco, CA Very High $82,000
Lincoln, NE Low $81,000
Atlanta, GA High $80,000

Digital marketing director, sorted by highest demand locations in the U.S.

Location Demand Average Salary
New York, NY Very High $82,000
San Francisco, CA Very High $82,000
Denver, CO Very High $76,000
Los Angeles, CA Very High $72,000
San Jose, CA High $98,000
Atlanta, GA High $80,000
Boston, MA High $78,000
Dallas, TX High $76,000
Chicago, IL High $76,000
Philadelphia, PA High $72,000
Austin, TX High $69,000
Miami, FL High $64,000
Washington, DC High $64,000

Finding a role that performs social media or brand management is a great opportunity to transition to a new career at the conclusion of a master’s degree program.

The chart below provides a breakdown of digital marketing roles that are commonly found within the path of a digital marketing director.

Title Demand Average Salary
Product Marketing Director Medium $87,000
Product Marketing Manager High $86,000
Vice President of Marketing Low $82,000
Marketing Automation Manager Low $76,000
Marketing Director Medium $74,000
Content Marketing Manager Medium $73,000
Marketing Operations Manager Medium $72,000
Digital Marketing Manager Medium $70,000
Digital Marketing Analyst Medium $69,000
Brand Manager High $68,000
Marketing Manager Very High $66,000
Event Marketing Manager Low $61,000
Digital Marketing Specialist High $60,000

Develop your digital marketing skills at Yeshiva University

Setting your sights high on a digital marketing director role is a great motivation to advance your career. Yeshiva University’s (YU) Katz School of Science and Health provides graduate students with the support needed to hone your leadership skills in the online MS in Digital Marketing and Media (MSDMM). The Katz School has a strong commitment to cultivating the next generation of digital marketing leaders.

Whether pursuing a career that emphasizes digital marketing strategy, search engine optimization, marketing campaigns or web analytics, graduate candidates at the Katz School can be assured that their education will be taken seriously. When it comes to a career in digital marketing, job and salary outlook are aligned.

Deciding whether to invest time and resources in a master’s program is a big commitment. Two of the most important questions to ask are:

  1. Does the curriculum provide me with the knowledge and skills to become a digital marketer?
  2. Does the expert career and salary outlook support my goal to become a digital marketer?

At YU, the professors, faculty and staff share a collective goal to ensure graduates are equipped with essential marketing, media, communication and data analytics skills to engage with digitally-savvy consumers. Whether candidates are looking for a foot in the marketing and media door, or simply want to increase their earning potential, the online program offers an opportunity to earn a master’s degree from anywhere.

The Katz School’s MSDMM is designed for aspiring marketers and young professionals working in marketing-related fields, and the program is offered entirely online so students have the flexibility to continue working. The program provides remote access to educational resources is remote, and students and teachers are able to communicate both in class and during office hours through the learning software. Based in the heart of NYC, the Katz School connects students with industry experts, top researchers and emerging entrepreneurs. Reach out today to learn more about how YU’s online MS in Digital Marketing and Media will help grow your digital marketing career.

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