Digital Marketing Specialist vs Generalist

Written by Nick Stamoulis

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Digital marketing is intended to connect your brand or company to potential customers online. When you decide to hire a digital marketer, you have a couple of options. Your first option is to hire a digital marketing specialist who works with a specific focus such as SEO, email marketing, or PPC, to name a few. Your second option is to hire a marketing generalist who understands the overall strategy involved in digital marketing and has experience in various areas. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the best choice for your company:

Understand Expertise

A marketing specialist has focused expertise in one or two areas of digital marketing. They may be an SEO specialist, a content marketer, or a paid ads manager. If you decide to hire marketing specialists, understand that for each specific need you have, you will need to hire someone different. An SEO specialist won’t be able to take on the job of a content marketer and vice versa. Hiring a specialist makes sense if you need a specific area of your digital marketing strategy improved, but if you require multiple areas of expertise, this might not be the ideal option.

On the other hand, hiring a marketing generalist is like hiring a jack-of-all-trades. A generalist has knowledge and experience in multiple areas of digital marketing. This can benefit your brand or company by allowing you to hire just one person as opposed to multiple people to handle the same areas. You may require someone who has overall knowledge of digital marketing and the strategies that are most effective. A generalist can offer relevant advice on the various areas of digital marketing as well as take on necessary tasks. A generalist won’t have the in-depth knowledge of each area of digital marketing, but more than enough to achieve measurable results.

Cost Considerations

Marketing specialists come at a cost, so if you have multiple areas that need help, this could end up eating into your company’s budget. If you have only one area that requires attention, the cost can be worth it in the long-run. A specialist’s expertise can offer in-depth knowledge to give a boost to that area. If your SEO has not been seeing the desired results, for example, you can hire an SEO specialist for their focused knowledge.

Marketing generalists are cost-effective and can offer you knowledge, advice, and action for multiple areas of your digital marketing. A generalist can take care of research, writing, social media, and more at a fraction of the cost of a specialist. They can manage all of this with confidence because they have the knowledge and experience to back them up.

The Flexibility Factor

When deciding whether to hire a digital marketing specialist or generalist, you want to consider time-management and flexibility. Because specialists focus on one area, they cannot take on multiple roles the way that a generalist can. If you need someone to hone in on one area of your digital marketing, a specialist will be the way to go. You don’t want them dividing their time between projects, getting distracted, and unable to dedicate their time and attention to their specialty.

If you’re looking for someone who can adapt to projects as needed, a generalist is the way to go. They can more easily switch between projects and tasks. If one day you need fresh content written and the next day you need someone to do SEO keyword research, a generalist can handle them both. This is a benefit to a business that is continually growing.

Whether you decide to hire a specialist or a generalist for your digital marketing needs, each has its pros and cons. Deciding which to hire depends on your business needs and goals. While specialists have in-depth knowledge and experience in one specific area, a generalist offers knowledge in various areas, multi-task, and do so at an affordable cost.


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