Are digital marketing careers viable?

The elements of digital marketing -
The elements of digital marketing -

In today's digital landscape, marketing professionals are faced with a complex and demanding environment that requires them to master an array of skills across multiple disciplines.

Referred to as T-Shaped marketers, these individuals are expected to have a broad understanding of numerous digital marketing components, while also possessing deep knowledge in one to three specific areas. These components include digital strategy, content marketing, social media management, e-commerce, e-mail marketing, paid traffic acquisition, optimisation and testing, data analytics, search marketing, copywriting and community management.

This diverse skill set enables marketers to adapt to rapid technological advancements and evolving consumer behaviours, making their role more critical than ever.

Challenges in the local market

Digital marketing in TT faces significant challenges primarily due to two factors.

Firstly, many local organisations have yet to embrace or fully understand the digital space, lacking the necessary infrastructure to implement effective digital marketing strategies.

Secondly, the educational system does not adequately cover the vast majority of essential digital marketing skills, leading to a workforce that is often not prepared for specialised roles.

Consequently, job boards are dominated by generic titles like digital marketer and social media specialist, with other crucial specialisations not recognised as distinct, comprehensive roles.

Job market and misaligned job specs

This also illustrates why job specifications for digital marketers that appear in public often lack coherence and a clear understanding of digital marketing.

These job postings frequently demand a wide array of skills from candidates, including digital marketing, graphic design, animation and even videography.

Beyond these, the roles sometimes absurdly require non-related tasks such as waiting tables, answering phones or heavy lifting, implying an unrealistic expectation of spare time.

Such job ads often specify advanced competencies in Adobe Suite, Final Cut Pro and After Effects, showing a severe misunderstanding of the role's focus and scope.

We have even seen digital marketing jobs requiring people to work in their warehouse and be part of the picking and packing team when orders come in.

This clearly shows that companies don’t even believe marketing takes time and that you will have spare time to do other non-related marketing duties.

Compensation discrepancies

The salary outlook for marketing professionals in TT is discouraging, as detailed in the HRC Compensation report.

It highlights that there are only 57 managerial positions in marketing, with salaries ranging between $19,000-$34,000 a month.

This indicates that most marketing professionals earn below $19,000, with the typical range for most non-managerial roles being between $5,000-$11,000.

Carib is an exception, offering junior marketing staff between $15,000-$18,000.

Given the requirement for advanced degrees in these positions, the compensation does not seem sufficiently enticing to pursue a career in marketing.

A recent job posting by a major conglomerate in TT for a digital marketing role demanded a wide range of specialised skills, ranging from content creation and social media management to SEO, video editing, photography, animations and data analytics. Despite the extensive expertise required, the position offered a salary of only $11,000, highlighting a significant discrepancy between the responsibilities expected and the compensation provided.


Global opportunities

Given the salary disparities and limited job roles, looking for international opportunities might be more beneficial. For example, an entry-level social media job in the US can start at around US$45,000 annually, approximately TT$25,000 per month, highlighting the financial advantages of working for international markets.

Is it a viable career?

While a career in digital marketing is undoubtedly rewarding, its viability in TT is limited due to the current job market and salary scales.

If you're passionate about entering this field, consider expanding your skill set beyond the basics like social media marketing to more lucrative areas within digital marketing.

Given that salaries for these roles are often higher abroad, pursuing international opportunities or attracting clients from wealthier countries can be beneficial.

This approach leverages TT's lower cost base, making it economically attractive for overseas businesses and more lucrative for local professionals when paid in stronger currencies.

Here is what I would recommend for those coming into marketing or those in a marketing career but looking for more.

Broaden your skill set beyond the basics by mastering advanced digital marketing disciplines. Pursue global opportunities and aim to earn in stronger currencies.

This strategic approach will not only enhance your professional capabilities but also maximise your earning potential, particularly in international markets where your skills can command a higher value.

Keron Rose is a digital strategist who works with businesses to build their digital presence and monetise their platforms.

Learn more at or listen to the Digipreneur FM podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify, or Google podcasts.


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