The specialty of marketing undergoes changes on a rapid and frequent basis. Every year, new types of jobs surface in this field, and older positions are transformed to incorporate new responsibilities, thanks to changing technology and trends.
Only a decade ago, for example, the title "social media manager" didn't exist. Now you'd be hard-pressed to find any mid-sized or larger company that doesn't have one.
In line with this trend, we're apt to see further major shifts in demand for various marketing positions into 2017 and beyond. Which skills and experience are likely to grow or wane in importance this year?
Changes to come
These will be some of the most significant changes in marketing jobs for 2017:
1. Higher salaries for experienced professionals. According to Randstad USA, salaries in 2017 are going to rise for experienced professionals by an average of 3 percent. If you've had more than a few years of experience in the industry, you can probably expect a pay raise. If you're looking for a job, you might be entitled to ask for more up front. However, if you're just getting started in marketing, you'll need a host of skills if you want to compete for a better salary.
2. More favoritism for independent contractors. According to Freelancers Union, more than one-third of the American workforce is composed of independent contractors that have no full-time status, and that number is expected to rise to about half the total by 2020. Freelancers are appealing to both workers and employers because they're more flexible, less expensive, and easier to acquire. If you're an independent contractor, you can expect to find more gigs; and if not, you may consider going the contractor route now that it's growing in demand.
3. Solopreneurs and small businesses. Similarly, solopreneurs and small businesses are also growing in popularity. These operations employ fewer people, carry less overhead, and therefore are often more competitive in terms of pricing. This makes them particularly attractive to other small businesses. Working for such lean operations could put you in a position to land more contracts, and launching a business or consultancy of your own could be a good move in 2017.
4. Demand for personal branding experience. Personal branding has become a surprisingly powerful digital marketing strategy. Not a few personal brands earn up to 10 times as many followers and 8 times as many engagements as their corporate counterparts. More and more, employers seek workers who have personal branding experience, so you should get started with developing your own personal brand to indicate your value.
5. Data analysis skills. Big data is everywhere, in almost every industry. Marketing agencies are doing more to collect vast swaths of data and use it to produce better results. But to do that effectively, they need expert data analysis to collect, organize and interpret the information in accurate, actionable ways. This is easier said than done; that's one big reason that data analyst positions are rising in demand, and companies are eager to hire more people with experience in data overall.
6. Augmented and virtual reality experience. AR and VR activities were tremendously popular in 2016, and their momentum has shown no signs of slowing down in the coming months. These are complicated marketing tactics that require at least some experience to plan effectively, so companies are starting to search for AR and VR specialists to head their new campaigns in 2017 and beyond. For small- to mid-sized businesses, which may not be able to afford a dedicated specialist or might not yet perceive the need for one, even passing skills in creating and understanding AR and VR campaigns can make you a more valuable candidate.
7. App-specific support. Finally, app specialization is another growing specialty. More firms are turning to apps to support their main line of business, either by perfecting the online mobile experience linked to their brand, or launching some other kind of consumer engagement strategy via an app. Any experience you might have in creating or managing apps is going to be attractive, and will only be more useful in the future. Some experts predict that within a few years, apps may start to replace traditional websites entirely, and completely disrupt the digital and inbound marketing game. App support will become essential at that point.
Preparing for the new market
Armed with the above information, you could adopt a variety of approaches. If you have experience in any of the listed areas or fulfill the criteria (such as being an independent contractor or an experienced pro), it's a good time to seek new opportunities or demand more from your current position.
According to eMarketer, digital marketing and ad spending are clearly going to increase in coming years, so you're in a good place. The key is to acquire and refine the necessary skills to remain competent, and even relevant, in this constantly shifting landscape.