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Digital Marketing Career Path UK: Considering a career in digital marketing, but not sure where to start or how to succeed? This comprehensive guide reveals the typical digital marketing career path in the UK, key skills needed, salaries at each level, and how to ultimately reach a 6-figure salary – even without a university degree.
Follow this powerful roadmap to go from digital marketing novice to highly paid expert within just a few years.
The Booming Demand for Digital Marketing Roles
Digital marketing has exploded in the UK over the past decade. As consumers spend more time online, brands are dedicating bigger budgets towards digital activities. This rapid growth has created massive demand for digital marketing talent.
Job site Adzuna reports digital marketing job openings have increased 146% from 2016 to 2021. The industry is expected to continue rapid expansion as more commerce shifts online.
With skyrocketing demand and not enough qualified talent, digital marketing offers very attractive salaries and job security compared to many other fields. For those wanting to build a recession-proof career, digital marketing is a top choice.
Starting From Scratch With No Experience
The first step is learning the fundamentals across the broad range of digital marketing disciplines. Typical starting roles include:
- Digital Marketing Assistant
- Social Media Assistant
- Content Marketing Assistant
- Email Marketing Assistant
- PPC/SEM Assistant
- SEO Assistant
- Marketing Automation Assistant
Expect starting salaries around £20k-£25k for assistant roles requiring little if any previous experience. You’ll gain exposure to different areas of digital marketing to discover what interests you most.
Use free online resources to teach yourself the basics. Take courses on platforms like Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy, and Facebook Blueprint. Set up your own blogs, websites and social channels to practice hands-on skills.
Progressing Into a Specialized Role
After a year or two as an assistant, you’ll have a solid foundation of digital marketing knowledge. Now it’s time to choose a focus area to specialize in.
Common next step roles include:
- Social Media Manager
- Content Marketing Manager
- Email Marketing Manager
- Paid Search/PPC Manager
- SEO Manager
- Marketing Automation Manager
At this stage, expect salaries around £28k-£45k based on experience level and company size. Sharpen your expertise in your chosen speciality while keeping up-to-date with the rest of digital marketing.
Expanding Your Skillset and Responsibilities
Once you’ve mastered a particular area, broaden your skills into other channels and take on more leadership responsibilities:
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Social Media and Content Manager
- Email and Paid Search Manager
- SEO and Analytics Manager
At this senior manager level, salaries range from £45k-£65k. Blend tactical execution of campaigns with testing, optimization, budget management, and team mentorship.
Earn certifications like CIM’s Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. Attend conferences and workshops. Continue self-learning through books, podcasts and online resources.
Reaching Director and Head of Marketing Roles
5+ years of progressive experience prepares you to reach director and head of marketing positions, with salaries from £65k-£90k+.
- Digital Marketing Director
- Head of Social Media
- Head of Content Marketing
- Head of SEO
Transition into a strategic role overseeing digital marketing plans, processes, staffing and budgets. Become a key decision maker driving business growth through digital channels.
Gain high-level certifications like the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing. Lead large teams and major campaigns with full autonomy.
Commanding a 6-Figure Salary
At the pinnacle, top digital marketing executives enjoy salaries exceeding £100k. Roles include:
- Chief Marketing Officer
- VP of Digital Marketing
- Chief Growth Officer
Oversee full departments with sizable budgets and staff. Report directly to company CEO/Founders as key drivers of acquisition, revenue and market dominance.
Reach this level through outstanding business impact, leadership capabilities, and results delivering substantial ROI. Become an invaluable asset that gives companies a major competitive edge.
Alternative Routes Beyond University
The great news is university marketing degrees are not required to reach high-paying digital marketing leadership positions. While formal education can be useful, hands-on skills and results matter most.
Many top digital marketers are self-taught from online courses, certifications, and real-world experience. With resourcefulness and consistent learning, you can fast-track your career on pace with degree holders.
Rapid Growth in a Future-Proof Field
Digital marketing offers one of the most promising and future-proof career paths. The nonstop growth, high salaries, abundant opportunities, and fast trajectory make it an ideal field for driven professionals seeking success.
Follow this roadmap to accelerate your career from beginner to leader in under 5 years. With skill, persistence and a passion for the digital space, you can build an impactful and financially rewarding career improving brands through technology.