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The Phases of a Digital Marketer

About nine months into my digital marketing gig at Adster, I wrote about the reasons why working at Adster was awesome. Two years and a bit later, those points are still the reasons I stick around.

To be honest, I didn’t anticipate I would stay in a job as long as I have. I thought I might get bored after a couple of years, because I tend to jump from one project to the next. Adster is actually my longest job!

I can roughly split up my journey here at Adster into three phases (so far).

Phase I: The Student

I came to Adster with very little knowledge about digital marketing. The first year and a half at Adster was mainly learning the ropes of Google paid advertising and search engine optimization principles. I followed the rules and processes to a T, taking in everything I was taught. Also, the team at Adster was still relatively green. We were doing a lot of training and development of our processes.

Before the end of my first year, I very clearly had a penchant for Google Ads and talent for building, restructuring and organizing accounts. I went about re-organizing and cleaning up client’ campaigns. It took me a while to get to all of our accounts, but overall, we saw performance improve and campaigns requiring less maintenance and management. I was also gaining confidence as a strategist and taking on bigger, more complicated audits and accounts.

Phase II: The Competent Digital Marketer

At the start of year two, I felt I had grasped many fundamental principles and I was proficient enough in everything I was taught. It was time to level up. I sought out additional training by attending Hero Conf 2017. The sessions definitely blew my mind in many ways, as there is soooo much to know about pay per click marketing; however, it also confirmed how well we do Google Ads for local businesses. Though we are a smaller agency working with a range of budgets, our processes were definitely validated.

This phase was sort of a jumping off point for me – I was relatively versed in the fundamentals of digital marketing and I knew there was still more to learn, though I didn’t know how or what direction I should take to further my skills and career.

Luckily, as my clients’ businesses grew and expanded, so did their digital marketing needs. As my clients became more familiar with digital, they asked bigger questions about what was possible. This led to bigger projects including my first large scale website redesign and rebuild (I had done smaller ones previously) which also led to multiple smaller (but not insignificant) web projects. These custom client projects definitely stretched me and forced me to go beyond my comfort zone. The payoff was developing my project management skills and learning more about websites and their architecture!

Phase III: The Trusted Advisor (Current Phase)

Now, feeling fairly confident about my skills in digital marketing and always on the lookout to solve the next problem, I naturally sought out how to further help my clients with their marketing challenges.

Because we are rather process driven at Adster, we sometimes have a narrow focus on what we believe our clients need. One of the most helpful things I’ve done with my clients is to meet them in person at their location at least once a year to learn about them and their businesses. Putting myself in their shoes and getting to know their products, processes and pain points has led to a better partnership and improved online marketing strategies. And in turn, it has helped us improve processes at Adster that we use for other clients.

My clients trust that I am committed to working with them and growing their online presence and in turn, I’ve become a sort of trusted advisor.

What’s Next?

I look back on everything I’ve learned these past three years and I know there’s still much more to learn. I’ve had many changing thoughts about paid marketing and search engine optimization and I can only assume those thoughts will continue to evolve, then backtrack, and then change again. But one thing stands true: if I always start with the client’s needs in mind, I’m sure to keep pushing the envelope and learn something new along the way.