What does a marketing person do?

Mónica De Salazar
5 min readNov 25, 2023


Iceberg of Digital Marketing: Above the waterline floats a digital device screen, the visible peak showcasing blog posts, ads, and website interfaces. Beneath the surface lies the bulk of the iceberg — an abstract digital depth filled with strategy maps, analytic dashboards, and the gears of marketing mechanics, all representing the extensive, unseen strategic groundwork of the digital marketing world.

Defining the role of a (digital) marketing professional can often be difficult. To the outside world, our output appears uniform: a blog post, an ad, a website, a data submission form, a newsletter. These are standard formats designed to be user-friendly and accessible, but they do not reflect the intricate web of strategy and creativity that marketers weave behind the screen.

Layers behind the screen? Isn’t what I see on-screen it?

From my perspective, informed both by my professional experience working in digital media and marketing for nearly 20 years and by what I have studied over the years, digital marketing is a discipline with many layers.

The most visible layers involve language, communication, and visual design-the elements that are immediately visible. Because this layer is so close to the user and stakeholders, it is common to receive comments and (even intrusive) suggestions about wording, color choices, and the like, without considering why they were chosen.

Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that every single word or visual element is the result of deep analysis. That’s why marketers must always be open to feedback, even when we have a compelling rationale for communication decisions.

Then there are the strategic layers that dictate how we tailor that content to specific audiences and user personas, using skills like user research, user experience design, and marketing psychology.

This cluster of expertise is about effectively engaging users, keeping them engaged, and moving them through and beyond the marketing funnel.

Areas of Digital Marketing, from the most oriented to communications and messaging crafting to more technical skills and processes.

Areas of Digital Marketing, from the most oriented to communications and messaging crafting to more technical skills and processes.

Same, same, but different: Marketing depends on the specific product, service, and business model.

The complexity increases when we realize that not all products or services can be marketed with a one-size-fits-all approach. A deep understanding of the business model, the market entry or expansion strategy, and the overall commercial strategy is essential.

This understanding led me to pursue an MBA with a focus on sustainability because many years ago I questioned the impact of our digital marketing efforts on the overall health of a business. I could not believe that all of a business’s revenue depended on the social media posts we posted or had to do with the live product presentations we had.

There had to be more. There had to be something about the business itself. Yes, there is a business model, a business plan, a product strategy, a commercial strategy, a pricing strategy, a go-to-market or expansion strategy… a sales strategy, and much more.

I learned that while marketing is critical, it cannot and should not bear the entire responsibility for a company’s financial success. Digital marketing, as powerful as it is for online businesses, cannot replace a commercial strategy; it complements and amplifies it.

No way, social media is not a marketing strategy!

As an evaluator for MBA and Business Administration programs, I’ve often been amazed, though not pleasantly so, by business plans that rely solely on social media posts as their marketing “strategy”. What?!

This is a fundamental misconception. Posting on a single social media platform cannot be a marketing strategy, and it certainly is not a business strategy.

When I see this as a proposed marketing strategy along with a website and ads, I wonder where the B2B sales strategies are, where the regional commercial strategies are, if the person is considering all the angles of their product or service, if there’s anything about partnerships and alliances, distributors or resellers, bulk sales, and more.

Diversification is not only recommended, it’s necessary.

How important are analytics and data-driven insights to marketing?

A comprehensive understanding of the business model, commercial strategy and user personas is invaluable. It enables the creation of increasingly effective and compelling communications across multiple channels. This is where analytics, metrics and data-driven insights come into play.

Understanding statistics, marketing math, and how to navigate spreadsheets full of data is critical. But beyond handling data, it’s about extracting actionable insights-insights that serve as a compass, guiding us through ambiguity to a clearer understanding of our position. This is where the power of analytics, especially real-time analytics, shines.

The journey to digital analytics involves more than just using it; it’s about setting it up and configuring it to meet the unique needs of the project, influenced by the business model, the competition, and other critical nuances.

Mastery is a commitment that goes beyond trends, viral marketing cases, and buzzwords

Diving through these layers is challenging; it requires not only understanding, but a desire to continually learn. It requires a commitment to the vision of doing increasingly better work.

This commitment not only benefits the projects we undertake, but also enriches us as marketers who aspire to mastery across the spectrum of digital marketing.

Unfortunately, many marketers take refuge in talking about marketing cases as if they were their own, using big words like framework names, saying what marketing trends are in all the blogs, naming books and authors, without being able to open the project hood and see what’s going on inside.

Being the kind of marketer whose job it is to send project briefs to agencies and follow up is far from being a full-stack marketer. That’s a marketing strategist at best, and I’m not trying to devalue those positions, which tend to be more on the business strategy side. Not every company has the same needs, budget, or scope of marketing work to be done.

What the marketing person does in the end…

The marketing person does what the project requires.

We are a type of professional with varying degrees of expertise in different marketing areas and clusters, solving challenges based on the scope of the project.

A marketer must be well informed about the product or service, have insight into the competitive landscape, and if such information is lacking, take the initiative to uncover it.

We should have or quickly develop a firm understanding of how to communicate with the target audience, which requires detailed information or the creation of data related to users and target audiences.

We need to understand, analyze and take action, not just be creative with ideas. By the way, clarification, development, and implementation are also part of creativity, not just ideation.

In essence, this marketer is engaged in an ever-changing, challenging, yet motivating puzzle, and our job is to mix and match the right recipe of digital marketing disciplines, elements, frameworks, and processes to make it happen.

We are tasked with generating a stream of options for communication, engagement, and conversion.

The suitability of a marketer for your business or project depends on the match between your needs and the marketer’s areas of expertise.

This is the fit that both sides should strive for when defining a marketing or digital marketing position. The business should be clear about what it needs, and the marketer should be clear about his or her ability to meet the business’s needs.

Share your opinions and help me to understand your point of view.



Mónica De Salazar

Green MBA + #CreativeProblemSolving Consultant. Focused on Business Strategy for Digital, Social and Environmental transformation. Founder of @LifeStrategics.