Is digital marketing for you? (Digital Vs. Finance)

If you’re a recent graduate, then we probably have something in common – we’re pretty new to digital marketing.

I’ve recruited into the finance market for seven years and moved over to cover digital marketing nine months ago, therefore somewhat a newbie when it comes to the intricacies of the market. However, I suppose I’m somewhat surprised by the similarities between the two. The majority of graduates in finance work for a business or a practice and within a client or an agency in digital. Starting salaries for entry-level positions may be higher in finance typically initially (typically £23-25k for finance and £19-23k for digital), but they soon seem to catch up…

Having met individuals from both markets it’s interesting to see the similarities between the two disciplines too and whilst there are other more focused areas I haven’t discussed, i.e. tax, treasury, RTB, MVT etc, the generic traits of the two markets is intriguing.

So what career path would I choose? I’m a self confessed geek and enjoy churning out macros or developing in whatever language I’m trying to learn this year, so no surprise that it would be digital for me – however, looking objectively with a more neutral view it would be difficult to choose…

Both offer good career progression, challenging roles and longer term job security. Finance does have qualifications behind it which will require another 3 years of study, and whilst digital comes with it’s qualification I believe them not to be so intense. Things are relatively consistent in finance, IFRS and GAAP rules change; however how accounts are prepared has been similar for years. Conversely digital is changing constantly as it’s a relatively new market, technology is developing, the way that display media is purchased is changing and new forms of analytics are emerging month on month!

If I was a finance graduate I’d target roles within the finance function of a robust and growing digital marketing business this way you should be future-proof (and if you’re a digital marketer you should be future-proof already!). Now for analysts, omitting financial services where you can enter the market as a graduate on £30k (work out your hourly rate, probably same as an analyst on £23k!) you have a choice and it will come down to where your passions lie as both markets offer challenges and development opportunities. Again, with the fluidity of the digital market this route will offer the most variety over the coming years however if you’d like to be more commercially involved in the business then finance maybe the route. (The compromise may be to work as an analyst in the marketing finance function which straddles both camps!)

I’ll outline the two routes below to paint a more detailed focused picture but for graduates I think both disciplines have their merits and the choice is ultimately digital….I mean yours!!

So let’s look at roles:

SEO people tend to be technically focused, understand the intricacies of how content & key words impact results and configure websites to be as search engine agorhithm-friendly as possible (or trying to beat the search engine at their own game!), reacting to any updates which may affect rankings. (Good sites have good SEO or vice versa good SEO leads to good sites!) You will use analysis to assist decisions to impact rankings and then report back to clients to ensure you’re inline with their strategic plan.
Comparing this to finance, statutory accountants are detailed and technically orientated, reconciling large amounts of information, trying to beat the tax man at their own game to save money! Reporting happens at key points during the year and tends to be intense during those periods, likewise whenever rules or rates change you will make best use of them to add saving.

Paid search again has its technical elements, being data and analytically driven requiring you to bid on keywords you expect consumers to search for. It has forward thinking and analytical elements, again understanding media plans and how search fits into the overall objective. Clients are becoming more interested in where their money is spent and so reporting is becoming a larger part of the role, hence requiring an individual used to presenting and able to influence at a strategic level.

In comparison, management accounting is the forward looking department, it’s about driving revenue, using techniques to help businesses make or save as much as possible, hence requires a large amount of analysis and forward thinking. Preparing and presenting business cases for change is a large part of the role and also requires someone to be confident in front of senior management and again able to influence.

Analytics for both markets involves a lot of Excel work with the ability to see through large amounts of data. It requires a holistic view, the ability to understand the strategic plan and how; by the assimilation of data you can impact it. Within finance you could be supporting sales teams to help them understand trends in the market and how to best maximise their sales or with buying to analyse lead time and costs to ensure you are getting the best price with out impacting supply chain. For digital you will require a very similar, inquisitive skill set and could be working on projects such as analysing the feedback from numerous landing pages to understand a user journey and how to optimise conversions through to detailed analysis on social media trends and how to use those to maximise opportunities. Statisticians and individuals with a scientific focus tend to perform well in this area as a rule however anyone with a data centric mind will enjoy this discipline.

There are many other areas of digital marketing which I will outline in forthcoming posts however hopefully that will give you a bit of an insight and hopefully help you come to the conclusion that digital marketing is the right route for you!