Kudos to Bigmouthmedia for its campaign to raise awareness of digital marketing among students and graduates, who are apparently unaware that it is a career option.

The internet industry at large is very much a career option, and it’s a shame that universities and colleges aren’t doing more to promote ‘digital’ as a serious alternative for marketing and business-orientated students, as well as the tech-minded (who are better catered for).

As such, I have compiled a few suggestions to help wannabe internet professionals find their feet, make some connections, and carve out joy-filled and rewarding careers in the internet industry. I’ll publish that list tomorrow.

Today, we’ll take a look at a few facts and figures, and some trends in the industry to understand why the internet is a potentially brilliant career move.

Bigmouthmedia conducted a survey among graduates and found that around one in two aren’t being properly educated in the ways of Google, nor the science of digital marketing (which is an umbrella term for search, email, affiliate, social media, and so on; it’s pretty much everything we focus on at E-consultancy). It comes as no surprise…

Rather amusingly, four times as many graduates felt that digital marketing was “more glamorous” than TV marketing. Word to the wise: this isn’t necessarily so, but digital marketing is a hell of a lot more measurable than TV, press, radio, cinema, etc. But what it lacks in sex appeal it makes up for in brains.

This accuracy in measuring return on investment is something that has helped our industry grow strongly in the past five years, when it has far outpaced growth in other marketing channels (some have been in decline, while others stagnate). Internet marketing will grow a lot further in the years to come, largely because you can really prove that it works.

The point I always come back to is this: marketing spend on digital channels has a long way to go before it catches up with consumption of digital. After all, people typically spend far more time online than they do reading newspapers and magazines, so you’d imagine that digital marketing spend would be far greater than newspaper ad spend (it isn’t…).

We’re still playing catch up with offline marketing spend, and that’s one reason why growth should continue in the years to come.

What are marketing folk spending online?

Earlier this year E-consultancy found that on average, marketers spend almost one quarter of total marcomms spend on the digital channel (see our Managing Digital Channels research). It used to be around 11% in 2005, so you can see that budgets have doubled since then.

To cope with this rapid scaling-up these digital marketing departments have had to ramp up their resources… extra budget means extra work. And that means more staff are needed.

Dr Dave Chaffey, who compiled the Managing Digital Channels report for us, was interviewed on the key findings:

“The standout figure for me was the proportion of digital marketing specialists that are needed in today’s organisation. The research showed that there is one specialist digital marketer for every three marketing team members.”

All very positive, but good people can be very hard to unearth. Finding experienced / suitable staff remains a massive issue for e-commerce and digital marketing managers.

“It has become a much greater problem since the previous research, with 75% [of respondents] agreeing this was a problem. So if you are one of the many facing this challenge, at least you can see you are not alone and we have ideas on how to manage this.”

All of which points to a huge opportunity for graduates / students / wannabes to muscle into an industry where talent remains scarce. And it’s nice to feel wanted…

Tomorrow I’ll list ten ways to work your way in the internet marketing industry. Because you don’t need to wait for your university to tell you how to do it