No Shortcuts - What's a Digital Native and Why it's Important to be One?

I read an article recently from someone giving advice to marketers who are looking for jobs.  Many marketing roles are now making "digital marketing" skills a requirement.  The author felt like companies are demanding this skillset too much and not being balanced with the skillsets in other tactics like TV, OOH, radio, etc.  He's worried that companies are following hot trends like AI, Big Data and personalization right out the window.  

His advice was to essentially lie about your less than perfect skillset in digital.  Fake it until you make it.  He pushed that tactics should be driven by the consumer.  What platforms are they engaging with?  Where do they find out about new products?  Where can they be best influenced?  I 100% agree with the consumer leading the choice of tactics, but disagree on faking it until you make it.  

In 2021 marketing HAS to include digital marketing.  If you are a marketer, then you need to also be skilled in digital marketing.  The trends are just to powerful to ignore.  Younger people aren't watching TV.  The shift to eCommerce is happening rapidly and the pandemic is accelerating the shift.  Marketers who have not been upskilling themselves to this disruption would be like an NBA player getting complacent and not doing the hard work needed to remain competitive.  

The phrase "digital native" is tossed around a lot.  Different people have different definitions.  I believe a digital native is a person who has a strong understanding of all of all aspects of digital marketing (content, social media, search, eComm, analytics, streaming, programmatic, website UX/UI).  Many people extend the definition to needing to be proficient in all the tools like ads manager, Google Analytics, Shopify, etc.  I think that extra understanding is nice to have.  Knowing all the aspects of digital marketing to LEAD an agency team to execute is enough for me.  

If you are not on top of the above topics, then I suggest you starting taking online courses to familiarize yourself with the platforms and languages.  Here are my favorite upskilling tools.  

LinkedIn Learning:  They have numerous courses and paths in digital marketing.  The content is solid and they do a good job keeping it engaging.  

Coursera:  They have similar courses as LinkedIn Learning.  Both are on par from a depth of content and engagement perspective.  

OMCA/OMCP:  Online Marketing Certified Associate and Online Marketing Certified Professional.  This is a certification that I have leveraged to make sure I truly understood the concepts.  The OMCA is the 101 and the OMCP is the 401 that goes deep into particular subjects.  Their website has curriculum they recommend to prep you for their courses.  I took the Simplilearn courses.  They weren't as engaging as LinkedIn Learning or Coursera, but get the job done.  

It can be tough to start.  Many of the courses are long and learning new concepts can be intimidating.  In order to remain competitive you have to learn this stuff.  I found the more that I learned the more I became curious.  I couldn't get enough!  

The trends are shifting quickly and you don't want to be pounded by the wave.  Ride the wave to success and become a leader in the space!