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Marketing Career Focus: Digital Marketing

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Each of these Marketing Career Focus posts will cover a specific track or specialty track within the MS in Marketing degree program. is a good job search site because at a glance it shows average salaries, years of experience for many midlevel positions, the quantity of available jobs, as well as locations. I looked at 10 to 15 digital marketing job descriptions from major companies and frequently mentioned skills at such employers as Neiman Marcus, PepsiCo, American Airlines, and others. However, there is NO substitute for doing your own searches and analyses.

What is digital marketing?

According to Hubspot, “Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.”

What does a digital marketing manager do? These managers are responsible for all the digital touchpoints used by a company to market products or services, either by supervising experts in those areas or doing the tasks themselves.

MS Marketing – Digital Marketing specialty track. For details, please see the MS in Marketing degree plan.

Average years of experience and salary average

For a manager with three years of experience, salaries range from $40,000 to $95,000.

(Note: Students requiring visa sponsorship tend to receive less money. There are not many sponsorship opportunities in this field for international students.)

What is the market size?

The answer is not easy to find given that job titles can differ widely from SEM manager to SEM/PPC, SEO, internet marketing manager, and more. If these keywords are used in job title searches, such as” digital marketing manager,” then some 21,000 open positions in the U.S. are returned.

These charts from and provide examples for this specialty and average salaries in the career area.


Typical job description (from a Neiman Marcus job posting for “digital marketing manager”)


The Digital Marketing Manager will be responsible for executing our Digital Marketing strategy through the tactical management of all Digital channels to drive Omni-Channel customer acquisition, site traffic, conversion, and revenue for,,, and Position reports to the Director of Digital Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group and will work closely with the Director of Social Media and Co-op teams.

Primary Responsibilities

• Manage Digital Marketing channels to support e-commerce and retail businesses.

• Manage programs to drive sales of our 250K products in stores and online in order to achieve direct response and branding objectives through the use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM/PPC), Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs), Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Remarketing, Affiliate Marketing, Programmatic Display, and Paid Social Media Advertising (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube).

• Responsible for turning data into actionable insights using analytics tools. Toolset currently includes Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics 360, MarketShare, Facebook Analytics, CRM data, in addition to channel specific analytics/tracking tools.

Core Competencies

• 5 years of progressive business experience at companies with a significant e-commerce presence

• Deep understanding of the mechanics behind successful digital campaigns and the technical infrastructure required to extract the most value from each channel

• Experience managing large multi-channel marketing budgets and maximizing return on ad spend

• Experience using web analytics tools and exposure to associated Marketing and Advertising technologies (e.g. ad servers, DSPs, DMPs, DS3, site data layers, tag management systems, etc.)

• Database (SQL) or web development experience not required, but a plus.

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting


Courses of special relevance - see course syllabi for the exact line-up of skills as not all covered in each instance

Customer Behavior

MKT 6310 Consumer Behavior


MKT 6321 Interactive and Digital Marketing

MKT 6365 Marketing Digital Lab

Email Campaigns

MKT 6341 Campaign Management Lab

Web Analytics

MKT 6352 Marketing Web Analytics and Insights

The MIS 6344 Web Analytics course is one-third web analytics, one-third PPC and one-third SEO — so this class is a good choice if you want a general overview of the field. However, the course does not provide depth in any one area.

User Engagement/UX Basics and Audits

MKT 6321 Interactive and Digital Marketing

MKT 6365 Marketing Digital Lab

Cross-platform management

Platforms: Marin, Kenshoo, Campaign Manager

Not covered in current course offerings. If you know the basics of platforms being managed, these function as aggregators (Bing, Google, Facebook ads, etc.); so this area can be good to know. However, cross-platform management is easily learned and usually provided at major agencies.


In large companies, a UX/SEM person does not implement HTML or CSS type changes. That is left up to the web developers. It is good to know some basic HTML, which can be learned in a few hours for free at as well as CSS,, which, when implementing, can be problematic. Personally, unless the task is very simple, I do not waste time on that. It usually does not work well. However, small companies like those skills.

Important SEM Software/Platforms:

In-depth knowledge of Google AdWords, including Search and Display planner, Experiments, Automated Rules, Bid Enhancements, Excel (intermediate skills) is critical. Bing is also a good one to know after you have mastered Google.

• Web analytics: It is not just knowing all the reports and functionality but also being able to translate those metrics into actionable ROI business recommendations. There also are many complementary platforms and tools, such as Kissmetrics, Google Analytics, inPage, Crazy Egg and Hotjar that help you visualize behavior and conversions.

• SEO platforms such as MOZ and Screaming Frog. There are numerous tools used. As with web analytics, it is equally important to how they work and to be able to deliver strategic account-specific recommendations. Applying segmentation is critical in SEO, PPC and web analytics.

Platforms for creating and testing landing pages such as Optimizely, or those provided by marketing automation packages such as Silverpop, Marketo and Hubspot

Digital SEM Associations

DFW Search Engine Marketing Association: The goal of this group is to promote search-engine marketing and increased return on investment for companies and their websites through best practices. Located in Richardson, this group has an excellent relationship with our area, and it offers a student membership rates.

Dallas User Experience Group: It serves the needs of web usability professionals in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

DFW Interactive Marketing Association: Mainly for digital advertising and media planning/buying-display- focused professionals. The association holds monthly events. There is no annual conference, but there is an award ceremony in May every year.

Digital Analytics Association Dallas: it is less formal than other associations in that its events are not monthly but rather once a year at different universities. JSOM hosted it in 2014 and 2015, for example.

Major Professional Digital Certifications

Those that are free are must-haves.

1. Google AdWords Fundamentals Exam. After successfully completing this exam, take certification exams in one or more of these areas: Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping, Video – FREE

2. Facebook Blueprint Certification Exams – approximately $200

3. Adobe Digital Learning Services/Certification Exams – Digital Analyst – approximately $360

4. There are currently no industry-accepted or widely known SEO certifications. There are vendors that offer such certificates.

2018 Conferences in the Dallas Area

• State of Search is hosted by the DFWSEM, which, in addition to monthly meetings, hosts a major annual event. October 10-11, 2018

Digital Summit Dallas - December 4-5, 2018

Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Symposium - May 10, 2018

The Texas eCommerce Summit - November 13, 2018

Newsletters and Websites:

The following are some recommended resources. This is a rapidly changing area, so it is a good idea to subscribe to blogs that are useful to you.



• Searchengineland


Alex Edsel

Alexander Edsel is the director of the MS in Marketing program and faculty member who teaches courses in digital marketing. Topics include e-commerce platforms, marketing automation, mobile apps, search-engine optimization, pay-per-click and web analytics Read more articles

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