Top 10 international digital marketing skills

Digital Marketing skills Brainstorming Session
Digital marketing skills brainstorming session

Expanding your business online to international markets is one of the key growth areas for organisations. But how does this growth work? What skills should you and your business have in order to capitalise on this great international business opportunity?

Developing the latest skills and knowledge needed to grow a business online in international markets is the core focus for the creation of a new joint Master’s course in Digital and Social Media Marketing. This course is being developed by Salford Business School in collaboration with four European university partners, expert digital marketing recruitment agency The Candidate and international advertising agency The new course is an extension of the Salford based MSc Digital Marketing that focuses on international business.

So, what international digital marketing skills have we identified so far as important in developing your international sales growth online?

As part of a new joint Master’s course in digital marketing, a brainstorming session was held at the University of Salford on 16 December 2013. Leading digital marketing companies were invited to voice their views on what they saw as the requirements for a Master’s level university education in the field.

The participants were also asked to share their views on the skills and knowledge needed by future international digital marketing professionals.

Digital Marketing skills brainstorming sessions
Digital Marketing skills brainstorming sessions 16th Dec 13

International digital marketing skills identified

The Salford brainstorming session identified the top 10 international digital marketing skills and competencies needed in the competitive and dynamic digital marketing field.

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The need to understand how to conduct keyword research, on-site optimisation, technical SEO and off-site optimisation has never been greater since all of these aspects now feed into the latest thinking on content marketing.

Organic SEO knowledge in combination with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising are important. However, just focusing on keywords is not enough – being able to engage visitors in relevant calls to actions is essential.

2. Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

Being aware of the latest platforms and how to develop successful engagement activities, coupled with the ability to use the right voice, are essential for any business trading online. This ability has strong synergies with online Public Relations (PR) and reputation management for a business.

With the increasing presence of sockpuppets and trolls spreading their views online, a business needs to be ready for any negative activity and the consequent response requires good influencing skills.

3. Analytics and Return on Investment (ROI)

digital marketing skills brainstorming notes
digital marketing skills brainstorming notes

The online world is a large market. A key challenge in international digital marketing is being able to identify trends and constantly monitor what works and what needs improvement.

Being proficient in digital campaign management and analytics reporting is essential for anyone looking to justify their digital marketing budget and investment planning.

4. Creativity

The more content is published online, the more choice consumers get.

The phenomena of reducing attention spans, and consumers that are constantly online, demand increasing levels of creativity to make quality content, products and services that stand out in crowded markets.

5. Soft skills

Being able to work in a team, knowing how to manage time under pressure and communication skills are all essential in an environment where individuals have to rely on team effort.

Digital marketing is about working with other people and the ability to get on with others while under pressure is crucial.

6. Client management service

Despite the need for technical knowledge, possessing a range of soft skills was highlighted as the most important skillset when it comes to performing successfully in digital marketing agencies.

Being able to understand the needs of individual clients and translating these into actions are the core principles of good marketeers.

7. Awareness of international market differences

Being able to trade successfully in another country needs more than just the ability to speak another language.

Different business attitudes, business etiquettes, business cultures and social media platforms have to be taken into account when developing international digital marketing campaigns.

digital marketing skills brainstorming notes
digital marketing skills brainstorming notes

8. Hands on practical experience

The need to practise the knowledge and skills of digital marketing in real life is essential.

Individuals who can demonstrate a portfolio of practical projects will have better career opportunities compared to those who are only able to read and talk about their theoretical knowledge.

9. “T” shape educated

There is need, in particular for digital marketers in smaller companies, to have a broad awareness (the horizontal bar of the “T”) of how a business operates and how integrated marketing communications channels work. However, there is also a need for specialist too (the vertical line in the “T”).

Maximising the synergies of offline events with online events is just one of the reasons why broad awareness is needed before a specialist area is identified by an individual.

Digital Marketing skills workshop
Digital Marketing skills identification workshop

10. Adaptability

The constantly changing nature of international digital marketing requires a successful professional to continually engage in updating skills and personal development. Learning about new tools, platforms and techniques is just one of the reasons why this field will never have people bored of their job!

How can you get involved?

Salford Business School is working in an international partnership with Kaunas University of Technology, University of Lodz, University of National and World Economy (UNWE) and CITY College to offer students across Europe a joint Master’s degree in Digital and Social Media Marketing.

What do you think are the skills needed for future international digital marketing professionals?

  • If you are a company please contact Colin Telford from digital marketing recruitment agency The Candidate to take part in future focus groups or if you would like to know more about the project.
  • If you are a student please join our mailing list and follow the Digital and Social Media Marketing course developments.

Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC

You can also sign up to our Digital and Social Media Marketing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – a free online course that provides an introduction to Digital Marketing.

We would like to acknowledge the time and effort given freely by the following digital marketing industry representatives who attendees this session:



This project (JEMSS) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.EU Flag