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The Many Hats of the Modern Online Marketer

One of the principles that we hold to be the most important at KAYAK is that online marketing isn't necessarily as difficult or complicated as a lot of agencies would like to make it out to be.

While there is often a vested interest in convincing clients that it's too intricate for them to even consider doing in-house (otherwise they might not pay for it), the fact of the matter is that online marketing really amounts to some core techniques being applied to a few simple principles.

That said, given the variety of tasks needed to accomplish as an online marketer, you may need to wear a number of different hats in order to make your campaigns successful. To give you a sense of exactly what I mean, here are just a few of the biggest and most important jobs you’ll likely need to handle if you want to attract new business from the Internet:

Web designer

Without a great website, you’ll miss an opportunity to make a positive first impression. That's because, even if you have the greatest search engine optimization and social media plans in place, you don't have an aesthetic site that can make a visitor feel safe or in the right place… and thus, a lost opportunity to turn visits into leads.

SEO expert

Even though search engine optimization as a practice is dying and evolving, the need for search engine visitors is greater than ever. Google is currently processing more than 2 billion search queries a day all on its own, and you probably need to attract a reasonable percentage of those if you want to see your business grow online.

Social community manager

If search engine visibility is the one "must-have" in your Internet marketing plan, social media has to come in a close second. It's imperative that you post regularly, respond to comments and requests and keep your social accounts on-topic at all times.


As I wrote in my book Findability, your blog should be the hub of your company's content marketing strategy. That, in turn, makes it the centre-piece of your search engine optimization and social media strategy as well. Your blog articles need to be crisp, compelling, and timely. And, they need to have a tie-in that draws visitors into the top of your sales funnel.


Writing informational pieces (like this one) is one thing, but persuading visitors to become customers is another matter altogether. That's where the age-old art of copywriting – telling stories and swaying opinions with words – comes into play.

Reputation protector

One largely unforeseen development of the Internet age is that a single bad review can linger for years and destroy your ability to create sales opportunities. Companies now have a clear choice: monitor your reputation on the Internet, or wait for the day when one posting of bad news ends up costing you big money.

Project manager

So far, we've only covered a few of the bigger tasks online marketers deal with. Each of them presents its own challenges, but handling all of them at once can be just short of overwhelming. That's where strong project management skills come into play.

Most business people outside of the web and online marketing industry don't have the time, patience, and talent for all of these jobs. So, how can you keep your campaigns moving forward?

The obvious answer is to realize that you have to do all of these jobs well, but you don't necessarily have to do them alone. In fact, having a familiarity with each of them is often enough to help you contribute where you need to and delegate the rest to others who have the time or specific expertise.

Don't misunderstand this point: You should never turn over your Internet marketing to someone else, regardless of what their credentials look like or what they've accomplished in the past. The outcomes are simply too important for you to entrust them to a third party without your ongoing input and guidance.

Modern online marketers have a lot of different hats to wear. For the best results, try them all on for size but don't be afraid to share a few of the jobs with your team as needed. Changing hats from time to time can give you a welcome fresh perspective and reinvigorate your motivations.

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