Career Growth Paths for Digital Marketers in Nigeria

A key conversation was started in the Digital Marketing Meet up group about career paths for digital marketers. Here are my thoughts from research, experience and speaking to some friends.

The breakdown mentions the path, a brief explanation, steps to take, academic inputs/requirements and professional bodies you will or may need to join to be better positioned.

It is based on my research and opinions so please feel free to add your thoughts, examples and your own path.

1. Brand Manager/Marketing Manager/Head of Comms route

Here you get to become a C-suite and oversee marketing. Do take note that you’ll need a mix of both digital and offline marketing tactics. This is where PR and advertising pros have an advantage over core DMers.

If you’re also into PR, consider this route. Two of my former colleagues did a CIM program, one of them now works with a top tech firm. A piece of advice, it is best you have media relations if you want to grow in this field.

Academics: If you want to go abroad, consider something in marketing, brand management or international business or an MBA. If you want to stay local, LBS is your best option.

Professional bodies: CIM, NIPR, APCON

2. Product Marketing/Manager Route

They are responsible for creating products, pushing it and are the brand — consumer product connectors. In Nigeria, PMs are big in the tech scene, but other industries need their expertise. The best route is to work in a tech space.

STEPS

Learn something about coding, data science, and product. The only option I know of now is Utiva’s data school and Andela also has something like that too.

Academics: Do a master’s in digital technology/business or digital transformation or product management course.

Trainings/Certifications: Project Management, Scrum and Agile.

Professional bodies: I don’t know of any yet as I am still researching this route.

3. Data science/Data based route

This is looking like the future, but you’ll need a head for understanding codes and co. The community is growing in Nigeria with Bayo Adekanmbi leading it. Check LinkedIn for their society also UTiva has a course on this.

STEPS

Get into the Data science society in Nigeria via DSN or Utiva.

Take online courses on Edx, coursera

Watch YouTube videos.

Practice your learning where you are currently based and grow from there.

Academics:

consider a MSc/Phd outside Nigeria (please don’t do any data MSc in any Nigerian uni, you’ll only be wasting money)

Bodies: DSN

4. Digital agency entrepreneur route

This is the route you can/may use to create and own your own digital agency.

STEPS

Start a side hustle, get recommendations for more jobs, pitch to SMEs and scale it until you feel you’re confident to play with the ‘big boys’

N.B Most orgs are making their DM in-house now, so you’ll need to develop competencies in high-value areas.

Do an MBA or go for course. Create a website and start growing influence like Ken Ndubuisi or John Obidi.

Bodies: DMM group, connect to influencers

5. In-Agency/Within Digital Career Growth

This route means you grow in an agency or organization while still being within the digital marketing field — so head of digital marketing role.

Steps: Get a DMI or advanced digital marketing skills certification (Facebook blue print, advantage Google ads exams etc) — become damn good at what you do — switch or change agencies/or stick to one agency and grow in it (perhaps become a shareholder) — find a way to remain relevant via knowledge sharing.

Bodies: DMM group, ADMARP

6. Entrepreneur Route

Here, you simply go and build your own business.

STEPS

Find a problem, create a product, use your DM skills and network to scale.

Academics: do an MBA or the rely on real experience aka street MBA

Bodies: Network, go out to events and connect, startup enablers etc

Jude Akhabue is a digital product marketing manager in one of Nigeria’s biggest fintech company. He speaks and facilitates digital marketing training and provides career mentorship for growing newbies.

He is active on Twitter and LinkedIn

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Jude Akhabue

Marketing Strategist | Career Growth Planner| Championing upward transitioning of people using three primary resources: People — Knowledge — Influence