A Wanted Breed: Digital Marketers


Interlochen Center for the Arts is looking for a digital marketing specialist. Goodwill Industries needs a marketing coordinator with sharp social media chops. TART Trails just hired a digital content manager.

It's just a small sample of the local hiring scene for professionals who wield sophisticated digital marketing know-how – from search engine optimization strategies to best practices in social media management – and know how to use it to elevate an organization’s business or mission.

These online pros are even more in demand now than they were eighteen months ago when The Ticker first reported on them.

“We have shifted our resources to reach our people where they are looking for us,” says Leah Bagdon-McCallum, director of advancement at Goodwill Northern Michigan, of its efforts in the digital realm. “Admittedly, it has taken us a while to evolve our strategy to be more inclusive of the online universe. That said, it’s an exciting time in Goodwill’s communications trajectory because we’re in innovation mode.”

Though Glen Arbor-based Cherry Republic has been selling its products online since the mid-1990s, it didn’t take that next big step into the digital world until a couple of years ago when Andrew Pritchard joined the company as its first digital marketing manager.

“My hiring represented the first serious effort to pull it together and focus some concerted effort into developing a comprehensive approach to digital marketing,” says Pritchard.

And the value of the investment is directly reflected in sales numbers.

“For Cherry Republic, which had a fairly ‘mature’ online business, sales online have increased more than 30 percent over the last 18 months by focusing more resources on digital marketing,” he adds.

Pritchard is one of three Cherry Republic employees who are involved in creating email marketing campaigns, posting to social media accounts and writing content for the company blog.

But the digital investments can’t be measured in online results only. “Even if the sale is actually made offline, research is done online, comparisons are made, reviews are checked, and social media consulted,” says Pritchard. “Whether you're a restaurant, a doctor or CPA, a retail store, or something exclusively B2B, your business will increasingly live or die by its digital efforts.”

What’s more, even small, lean-running nonprofits are seeing enough value in these skills to make the personnel investment as well. TART Trails recently nabbed a digital pro to help the organization more effectively manage its mission and brand through digital media.

For Erin Monigold, who was one of the first in Traverse City to launch an agency focusing solely on social media and digital communications in 2010, she sees the high demand locally for digital marketing experts in the form of job offers.

“I've received several requests from clients who would love to hire me full-time, but I really enjoy working with my variety of clients,” Monigold, founder of Social Vision Marketing, tells The Ticker. “Being a sole proprietor, I feel that I can give a hands-on approach to social media and pride myself on providing great service at a good price for the small businesses in northern Michigan.”