The road to becoming the digital marketer on everybody’s wish list isn’t always paved. But we can tell you that if you want to make the ride a little easier you need to put some work in on developing your technical skills.

Right about now you might be thinking, “Well, you’re sending me mixed signals, Z.”  We promise we’re not! It is possible to be both creative and technical.

In fact, it’s almost crucial if you want to have a career in digital marketing. For clarity’s sake though, we’ll answer your questions real fast before we dive into our must have technical skills list.

What’s a technical skill?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Answers to this question could include:

  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Analytics
  • Content Writing
  • Sales copywriting
  • Graphic Design

Then again, if you go looking somewhere like The Balance for your answer, you’d get something like this:

Technical skills are abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical and often relate to mechanical, IT, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Some examples include knowledge of programming languages, mechanical equipment, or tools.”

Technical skills are in demand

The search for digital marketers with technical skills, technical marketers if you will, isn’t new, but they do seem to be in higher demand than ever before.

More and more brands are going digital and the more digital a brand becomes, the more technical their approach is. V3B summed it up nicely when they wrote:

“…marketers of the future will need to add a technological skill set to their creative talents if they want to take advantage of the opportunities digital marketing offers.”

And we’re here to tell you that the future is now.



7 technical skills every digital marketer needs

The skills we listed below weren’t just pulled from a hat. They’re technical skills that we use every day in marketing. They’re also widely used by other marketers we know outside of Z Coast and our day jobs.

Do yourself a favor and add these bad boys to your skill set:

  1. Basic Code Skills – HTML/CSS/JavaScriptOnly add JavaScript if you’re feeling frisky. Get familiar with HTML/CSS first. Ask anybody if you should learn some basic front end development and we’d be real concerned if they told you no. Why? Because knowing HTML/CSS/JavaScript makes you more valuable as a digital marketer.Knowing these coding languages it means you can whip up landing pages that don’t look like crap, fully operate within a CMS (like WordPress) and interact with the web more confidently—SEO requires a good understanding of HTML for anything technical or on-page.

    If you know JavaScript, you’ll get a lot more out of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager because you’ll enable yourself to work with custom variable and advanced tracking.

    Just because you didn’t get a formal education in front end web development doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of awesome resources out there for you to learn.We’d suggest starting with W3Schools or Code Academy (which as come along way in the past few years in terms of courses offered).

  2. Content Support Skills – Content Management SystemsSpeaking of Content Management Systems (CMS), it doesn’t hurt to know how they work either. WordPress and Drupal are two of the most in demand CMS skills on digital marketing resumes so you might want to familiarize with at least one of them.It all depends on what you plan to do. WordPress is very easy to use, Drupal is best suited for enterprise sized websites and both are mobile friendly. Take your pick.

    Our personal preferences drift towards WordPress but here’s a resource for each so you can choose for yourself which you would rather learn:

    Learn WordPress

    Learn Drupal

  3. Data Support Skills – Google Analytics

    You may think you know Google Analytics (GA), and we hate to be the ones to break it to you, but you’re probably not getting as much out of it as you could.Analytics technology in general, not just GA, are constantly getting more sophisticated and there’s an increasingly diverse number of tools available to help you get the job done.It’s inexcusable not to have a basic understanding of how tracking and measurement works as a digital marketer. Let us help you out. Give this a whirl:

    Google Analytics Academy

    Learn. Go forth and be successful.

  4. Data Support/Social Media Skills – Google Tag Manager (GTM)Tag management is the new kid on the block but it fits right in with analytics.GTM is a completely separate tool from GA. It’s a user-friendly solution to managing the tags, or the snippets of JavaScript that send information to third-parties, on your website or mobile app.

    To learn about GTM in more detail, we suggest reading this informative article from Lunametrics.

  5. Content Support Skills – Graphic DesignSpecifically, you need to add some skills from Adobe CC to your resume. You may not necessarily need to have the skills as a full-blown graphic designer but your life will be a lot easier (as will the lives of the designers you actually work with) if you pick up some design skills in your spare time.This can be an especially useful technical skill if you work on a small team with less than a handful of time-constrained designers. The better you are at visual design, the more deliverables you unlock.

    If you’ve got an Adobe CC subscription, there’s already a ton of great tutorials at your disposal. However, we’d also suggest poking around to step up your design game.

  6. Data Support Skills – ExcelWe thought long and hard about including this one on the list because we have a serious love-hate relationship with Microsoft Excel. It’s one of those necessary evil kinda things.Knowing Excel is a valuable technical skill to have because you develop an entirely different expertise with the software than your friends in the accounting department.

    For example, you could hone your Excel skills for anything from task management to complex predictive analysis. Learn it:

    10 Excel Tricks Every Marketer Should Know

    Microsoft Excel – From Beginner to Expert in 6 Hours

  7. Marketing Tool SkillsThis one is a little more “generalized” but it’s just as important as everything else you’ve read up to this point. You can’t be a digital marketer if you lack knowledge in common digital marketing tools like:





    Just to name a few. If you’re in email marketing, master a tool like MailChimp. If you’re area of expertise is more social media related, get to know a tool like Buffer. Of course, it never hurts to know both HubSpot and Salesforce too.

    Salesforce and HubSpot even offer free certifications that can help you stand out from the crowd. Why not grab them?

And there ya have it folks, the technical skills that make great digital marketers. You don’t have to be an expert in all of these things and by gosh if you’re a killer copywriter, nobody’s going to care if you think AJAX is just a dish soap.

Fun fact: it’s not.

But if you want to be a well-rounded digital marketer, learning any of the above technical skills will help you achieve your goal.

How have these technical skills helped you in your job? Which do you want to learn next? Let us know in the comments.

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