Career in Digital Marketing in India: Scope of Growth and Challenges

If there is one sector that’s drawing most attention for a career among Indian job seekers—that’s digital marketing. It’s not just the offered ‘fat’ salary figures that’s causing all the fascination. Higher growth opportunities, options to specialize in specific segments, the freelancing opportunities, and the self-regard of being a part of the corporate are the other factors that are making them look for a role in digital marketing.

All of that has been possible because of the robust growth rate of digital marketing as an industry in India. At the current growth rate, the digital segment is expected to account for about one-fourth of the overall advertising industry spend by 2020.[1]

Companies, which weren’t even recognizing digital marketing as a viable option just 5 years ago, are now allocating a significant portion of their total marketing budget to it. According to Firstpost, 90% of Indian brands are now spending as much as 15% of their annual marketing budget exclusively on social media. Bigger companies are spending even more. LG India is spending 30% of its huge Rs. 6 billion ($82 million) annual marketing budget on digital campaigns.

Not just the domestically based companies–rather, according to NASSCOM, 50% of the Fortune 500 companies also consider Indian outsourcing firms their first choice for digital services.

“Reasonable costs, the flexibility of pricing, consistency in offering high-quality solutions, and the availability of finest talent with language proficiency are among the numerous favorable factors why companies like us choose India as our first choice for outsourcing services,” says Ajay Prasad, CEO of a healthcare marketing firm based in Tustin, California. According to Mr. Prasad, “The demand for outsourcing services from India is only going to go higher, as the total share of digital spending increases over the coming years.”

Such a shift in marketing practice has given rise to various digital marketing job opportunities. According to a report, there are as much as 8 lac job options in digital marketing right now, and the anticipation is that this figure will rise in the coming years.

The Scope of Growth in Digital Marketing Career in India

The numbers given above are self-explanatory of the demand in digital marketing jobs in India. As this trend in demand is going to stay for the coming years, marketers can stay assured that there will be ample opportunities for growth.

There are three types of organizations in India and abroad where you can choose to work as a digital marketing professional:

  • Digital marketing agencies: These are the small, medium, or large agencies providing digital marketing services across SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Content, etc. to the clients they serve. Starting as an executive with an agency provides you the opportunity to get a hands-on on all marketing disciplines, as well as work on a variety of projects.

  • Brands having an in-house digital marketing team: If you’ve some experience, interest, or study in a specific brand category, for example—fashion design, and want to become a fashion marketer, you can start your digital marketing career with a fashion brand. Unlike agencies, where you enjoy variety, you’ll acquire in-depth knowledge working for a particular brand.

  • Digital marketing tool (or platform) companies: Digital marketing tools or platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Adobe, etc., have their offices in India and they need to market their platform or services too in the market. You can work for them too. The kind of work experience and knowledge you’ll get working for these will vary a lot compared to those in agencies or brand’s in-house marketing teams.

    Unless you have a specific degree or experience for landing a job in Facebook, Google, etc., you’re going to start your digital marketing career with either an agency or a brand leveraging digital marketing. The scope of growth in either is ample, provided that you continue expanding your set of skills and project expertise. Moving on, we’ll shed some light on the various digital marketing job profiles and the salary packages offered for them.

Digital Marketing Career Path in India

  • Digital Marketing Executive (0-1 Year): As an entrant, you join an organization as a digital marketing executive. In an agency, you will take that position in a particular domain such as SEO, PPC, social media, or content. You work as an executive for at least 1 year during which you’ll be assigned multiple tasks including research, analytics, and content. You’ll be working with and report to digital marketing specialist or assistant managers.

  • Digital Marketing Specialist/Expert (1-3 Years): Executives who show interest, experience, and abilities in a particular domain, such as SEO, PPC, or social media, are promoted as a specialist in that particular domain. It usually takes 1-3 years to reach this position. As a specialist, you’ll work under digital marketing manager, and will be almost fully responsible for the implementation of strategies relating to your particular domain.

  • Digital Marketing Manager/Team leader (2-4 Years): After gaining a reasonable experience as a specialist in your particular domain for 2-3 years, you’ll get promoted as a team leader or manager (i.e. SEO manager, PPC manager, social media manager, etc.). As a manager, your job will be to contribute to the strategic as well as tactical plans of the organization.

  • Digital Marketing Analysts/Strategist (4-7 Years): Organizations and agencies that have a strong focus on aspects like SEO, PPC, and social media, etc., need someone to oversee the strategic and analytical roles. Talented professionals with 4-7 years of experience in multiple domains (but specializing in one or a few) are considered best suited for this role. They contribute to the organization by guiding teams across different departments to improve their overall effectiveness.

  • Head of Digital Marketing (7 Years or above): This is the senior most job profile in the digital marketing domain. In organizations that have integrated marketing campaigns, digital marketing heads report to the Chief Marketing Officer. In digital marketing agencies, an equivalent job profile is that of the Vice President.

Digital Marketing Salary Figures and Cost of Living in India

Digital marketing is one of the hottest industries in India in terms of the salary figures it offers. Experienced digital marketers in India earn much better than those in most other industries. According to Randstad India, the average annual salary of digital marketers with 6-10 years of experience is around CTC 1.7 million ($22,950), next only to the Core Java professionals who sit at the top with an average annual salary package of CTC 1.8 million ($24,300).

Rank Job Title Average Annual CTC in INR
1 Core Java Professionals 18.06 lakhs
2 Digital Marketing 17.09 lakhs
3 Testing Automation Engineers 14.67 lakhs
4 Axapta Consultant 13.52 lakhs
5 Hadoop & Big Data Professionals 10.62 lakhs
6 Product Engineering Specialists 10.38 lakhs
7 Android Engineers 10.01 lakhs
8 Finance Controller 9.64 lakhs
9 Solution Architect 8.95 lakhs
10 R&D Analyst – API (Pharma) 8.54 lakhs

* List of roles with higher remunerations for talent in the 6-10 years experience bracket when compared to other professionals

Source: Randstad India

Here is a breakdown of the average annual salary of digital marketers in India based on their job profile:

  • Digital marketing executives – 150K to 300K ($2025 to $4050 per annum)
  • Digital marketing specialists/experts – 350K to 600K ($4725 to $8100 per annum)
  • Digital marketing manager/team leader – 450K to 700K ($6075 to $9450 per annum)
  • Digital analysts/strategists – 600K to 1M ($8100 to $13500 per annum)
  • Head of digital marketing – 1M to 3M ($13500 to $40500 per annum)

Note – The minimum and maximum salaries differ based on the size and type of the company, and the location you’re posted in.

The minimum monthly cost of living (without rent) for a single working professional in any major city (i.e., Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, and Delhi) in India is around Rs. 25-35K per month, i.e., $4,045 to $5,664 per annum. Someone with 2-3 years of experience in digital marketing will be able to maintain a modest lifestyle working in any of these major cities.

Digital Marketing Career Challenges in India

Digital marketing is a bright career, given you have the ability to stretch your limits to quickly learn and adapt in its ever-evolving landscape. Here are the challenges you’ll need to overcome to make a successful career in digital marketing:

  • Overwhelming competition: The Internet is becoming an overwhelmingly competitive place to market a business. As new content, ads, communication, and products are launched daily, it’s difficult to make a niche and maintain it. That means consistently tapping on your creative and analytical capabilities to produce the desired results.

  • Dynamic platforms: Not just the competitors, the ever-evolving digital marketing tools and platforms also keep posing new challenges. Digital marketing platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc., continually evolve and update according to the changed user behavior and resulting marketing trend. As a digital marketer, you’ll need to evolve alongside or, soon get left behind.

  • Unrealistic expectations: The client-side expectations issues are more real in “immature” marketplaces like India where digital marketing is still not a fully understood concept. This sometimes causes expectations for overnight results which is not always possible.

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2 Replies to “Career in Digital Marketing in India: Scope of Growth and Challenges”

  1. Hi, this is one of the best article so far about digital marketing career prospects that I have come across after going through many articles. Thanks for the detailed information.

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