A Guide to the 10 Next Hot Jobs in Digital Marketing, and for Several Years to Come

Plus, 2 inspirational career transformers

Time to polish that résumé, marketers. The business is shifting amid rapid change, and jobs that were considered experimental a few years ago are now indispensable. Career paths are being disrupted midstream, and both brands and ad agencies are recalibrating talent for the next generation of marketing. The combined forces of globalization and the commoditization of technology are exacerbating the pace at which new, promising tools are becoming available to brands, per Aaron Harvey, co-founder and ecd at Ready Set Rocket, who says that every job title the digital marketing agency hires for today did not exist when it launched eight years ago. “It’s going to be incumbent on [marketers] to look for passion projects and experiment on passion projects,” he explains. 

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Or, put another way, what is it about futuristic tech and data that gets you jazzed? Marketers of all stripes need to figure out the answer to that question to stay current. And with more gigs in mar tech and ad tech, you’d better start learning the ABCs of DMPs, IVRs and PMPs.

“[Marketers] need to create experiences that people want to consume,” notes Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction. And that’s going to take the right kind of know-how.

After querying a bevy of experts, we identified 10 jobs that will be the most important and in-demand roles in digital marketing for the next several years—or at least until the next wave of innovation comes crashing down.

Chief experience officer
Category: Executive management
Fast fact: By 2020, 40 percent of chief digital officers will report to CXOs, according to IDC.
Skills needed: Mastery of design thinking and a solid foundation in computer science, creative and executive management

Developing broad skills at the intersection of marketing and technology is paramount to understanding the evolution of customer experiences in the connected age, says Donald Chesnut, global chief experience officer at SapientRazorfish. Managing the full experience that consumers have with brands also requires a relentless focus on individuals and the ability to identify how a brand can enrich or add meaningful value, he says.

“I do think diversity of experience is important, but most critical is a deep empathy and focus on design thinking, which puts the target person at the center of business decisions,” he says. “The constant evolution of digital—which puts the power in consumers’ hands and helps to galvanize experience-oriented thinking—provides another factor in making sure tomorrow’s challenges will be very different from today’s.”

Alex Vera, creative director at experiential marketing firm IDL Worldwide, advises those interested in a career as a CXO to develop a deep understanding of content creation across all media. “I would recommend that students get a good dose of design thinking in their education if experience creation is a passion of theirs,” Vera says. “I see a future of generalists in experience design rather than a field of specialists.”

VR editor
Category: Content production
Fast fact: 1,400 jobs listed on LinkedIn
Skills needed: Expertise in object-oriented programming, project management and video arts; ability in software products like Adobe Creative Cloud and Unity3D

Virtual reality (VR), or 360-degree video, is a mostly uncharted medium that doesn’t benefit from the well-established workflows of traditional video, says Matt Posey, editor at PS260. VR has been trying to break into the mainstream for decades, but technology is now powerful enough that consumers can have a truly immersive experience with just a smartphone and Google Cardboard.

“Because this format is so new, the field is open to experiment and presenting provocative ideas without being beholden to the traditional, more impersonal ways of offering information,” Posey explains. “The best people for the job are ones who want to try something new and crazy.”

This story first appeared in the July 24, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.