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Seven Essential Traits of a Successful Digital Marketing Leader

ByDave Stopher

Jun 15, 2021

Skilled and experienced digital marketing leaders are always on-demand, and the digital marketing industry is now one of the fastest-growing industries all over the world over the past 5 years. 

However, successful digital marketing leaders are rare, and for those who are already successful, there is always more room to improve yourself as both a digital marketer and a leader.

With that being said, below we’ll discuss the seven essential traits of a successful digital marketing leader that sets successful digital marketing leaders apart. 

Let us start with the first one.

  • Leadership

As a digital marketing leader, obviously, leadership is an important trait to have. 

Although “leadership” can mean many things, a core aspect of it is reliability: the ability to deliver results consistently over time, so those who follow the leaders can rely on this reliability. 

Obviously, the ability to deliver reliably over time is a very challenging skill to master, but it is also the most influential. 

A digital marketing leader must be able to set realistic and clear expectations early while at the same time observing the environment and condition. Strong analytics and organization skills here will also help the leader in achieving reliability. 

  • Problem-Solving With Speed and Creativity

Even the most effective digital marketing leaders won’t always make the perfect decision all the time, but making a speedy decision is an important trait for any digital marketing leader: making a wrong decision may be better than being indecisive, and it’s essential for leaders to have the courage to make decisions early with convictions, even in cases when there is incomplete information.

While modern digital marketers are required to be data-driven, creativity is also very important: it takes creative decisions to develop attractive and engaging marketing campaigns that can attract your ideal audience. 

In digital marketing, new challenges that demand fast decision-making are the norms, and an effective digital marketing leader is expected to always stay on top of their game and be able to make decisions with conviction and creativity.

  • Communication

A leader won’t be effective if they can’t effectively communicate to their team and/or to the customers. 

Digital marketing by itself is a field that demands constant communication, especially communicating targeted messages to prospects and customers. 

Digital marketing leaders must be able to use effective communication skills to elevate their team’s morale, as well as to craft attractive brand messages that can effectively attract audiences on an emotional level. 

If a leader can’t communicate the marketing strategy, data, and insights to their team, then the execution of the marketing strategy simply won’t be effective.

  • Adaptiveness

According to a Harvard Business Review study, leaders who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to succeed. This is also true in a digital marketing field that is rapidly changing: leaders must be able to quickly adapt to new technologies, new digital marketing trends, competitors’ strategies, and so on. 

Digital marketing leaders that can’t adapt, simply put, won’t succeed. 

After all, there are not too many digital marketing campaigns that work 10 years, or even 5 years ago that are still working today. New social platforms come and go, there are always new places to advertise on, and we can’t simply rely on the same influencers for 5 years in the future. 

The saying “Adapt or die” can’t be more true in digital marketing leadership.

  • Cybersecurity and Data Security Awareness

Data is today’s most valuable asset for many businesses, and due to that fact, marketing proficiencies and technical skills aren’t enough for today’s digital marketers. 

Yet, awareness of data security and cybersecurity as a whole is a must

There’s simply no value in generating a lot of leads and customers but having our customer’s confidential data stolen by hackers. It will, literally, ruin all your marketing hard work immediately, with 58% of consumers claiming they will stop spending at a business after a data breach, at least for several months. 

Cybersecurity best practices can also help the performance of various digital marketing campaigns. Ensuring your site is free from web scraping bots, for example, can prevent duplicate content issues that might affect your site’s SEO campaign.

  • Curiosity and Desire To Learn

With how digital marketing is an always-evolving field, passion for lifelong learning is a very important quality for anyone who wants to succeed in digital marketing and especially digital marketing leaders. 

There will always be new marketing campaigns to try, new technologies to utilize, and new platforms to leverage. 

A successful digital marketing leader should consider: 

  • Attending online/offline events and conferences regularly, also useful for building relationships and partnerships with other leaders and businesses
  • Taking digital marketing certifications and credible courses
  • Staying up-to-date with current industry news like SEO algorithm changes, new social platforms, new technologies, and so on
  • Learn new relevant skills when applicable


  • Finance and Budget Awareness

Marketing budgets often take a significant portion of an organization’s overall budgets, typically around 10 to 15%.

Thus, it is very important for marketing leaders to be finance and budget savvy so they can stay accountable. Marketing leaders are now demanded to prove the marketing campaigns’ ROI and other KPIs to justify the large marketing budget. 

A digital marketing leader that can effectively communicate, quantify, and optimize their marketing budget has more chances to be successful. These skills would help CMOs in gaining more buy-in from other stakeholders, especially CFO and CEO, allowing them to secure future marketing budgets and maintain or even grow the team’s performance. 

End Words

Digital marketing and digital marketing leadership, above all, require the right set of skills to be successful, and if you want to be successful as a digital marketing leader, it’s best to invest the time and effort it takes to develop the seven attributes we’ve listed above. 

It’s also important for digital marketing leaders to have a strong professional network, which can give them access to a pool of marketing talent, as well as other professionals they can learn from. 

While there are also other qualities like work ethic, confidence, and empathy, among others that are also very important, these seven essential skills are much more important for digital marketing leadership roles to be successful.