Harsh Reality of Digital Marketing You Must Know | Salary, Jobs & More

harsh reality of digital marketing industry

Digital marketing is the profession of marketers who know how to advertise anything whether it is real or fake for the sake of money.  And today we are going to witness the harsh reality of the digital marketing industry.

You might be thinking about what are the realties I’m going to talk about? And why would most people fake it on the internet, when I can see there are people who show crores of rupees earned online and teach the same. 

So I’m happy, that you have these kinds of questions on your mind so let’s toss these questions below and get some realistic industry updates on the harsh reality of digital marketing jobs in 2022. 

My name is Prashant Chauhan, I’m a digital marketing professional and Trainer. Now you would be thinking why am I saying some harsh facts? So it must be entertained and entitled as the reality of digital marketing. 

Let me tell you what I have experienced in my 7 years of career and inputs from freelancers and students. Note that these things I’m sharing are of my own research and there are always some exceptions to that. 

Harsh Reality of Digital Marketing Courses 

Digital marketers are great researchers and they learn the trend fast. If you look at the business perspective of digital marketing courses you will realize it has great ROI (return of investment). 

Looking at the analytical side of the digital marketing training business, institutes generally charge you between 10,000 to 60,000 INR. Where they need to pay only 60,000 to a trainer for the entire course of a batch and hardly 40,000 for electricity and 1,50,000 for other expenditures and salaries. 

So now if you get 30 students in a class paying you 40,000 then it becomes 12,00,000

I’m sure you don’t need to be a scientist to understand the math here. And every institute run at least 2 batches per day and every month they launch several such batches. 

Harsh Reality of What Courses Teach you?

Because marketers have impressed you with their amazing skills of earning money you are now fully pumped up to start your money-making machine. 

But you sadly feel the reality in the next 3 months. Where 80% of these courses are created by amateur and business-minded self-learners or mid-level executives. 

And they fail to deliver the real juice of marketing. Digital marketing is not only about learning how Facebook works, or how few tools can speed up the work. 

But it is the combination of creative writing for live projects, content creation practices for brands, and learning about the big failures and successes of the industry giants. 

*[Yes, no doubt there are several highly qualified trainers also in this industry and they have amazing experience also but the fee is high for those programs or they are not approachable because of heavy competition in the market but I always say those are the programs to learn from.]

So you will only learn the basics of website creation, SEO, social media, google ads, email marketing, and a little bit of automation in 3 months

So the question arises what should I learn, isn’t it what is required in the industry?

Oh yes, absolutely, these are the things that need to learn but what the industry demand is a person who can handle 10 clients in one go. 

You must be professional at blogging, designing, automation, drip campaigns, advanced google ads, e-commerce ads, reporting, and communicating the ideas with the team.

And these courses do not focus on such assignments because they will require a lot of labor and resources which will demand trainers with higher salaries and this will be a loss to these businesses.

So they fetch you what you can digest easily without any hassle for both parties. Now you might be wondering which are those institutes so don’t worry I will cover that in another blog. 

 Let’s jump to another harsh reality of the digital marketing industry.

Reality of Salaries in Digital Marketing

We all want a career with attractive money-making prospects. So salaries in digital marketing have been divided into these 6 experience stages. 


An intern digital marketer is generally forced to work for free for at least 1 to 3 months or gets 5 – 10 thousand INR until they have 6 months of experience with some company or agency. 

Entry Level Executive

As a fresher executive (with 1 – 2 years of experience), you get between 12,000 to 18,000 INR in general. And if you have luck on your side and a good connection in the industry then you can probably get 25+ also. 

Mid Level Executive (Lead)

With 2 – 4 years of experience as a digital marketing executive, you can earn between 25,000 to 45,000 INR. 

Digital Marketing Manager

The Digital Marketing manager makes around 50,000 to 70,000 INR. This figure totally depends upon experience and companies one has worked with. For MNC this figure will definitely change and gets up to 1.2 Lacs INR per month.

Senior Manager Level 

Salaries at this phase have hikes depending upon how big the team you handle and what deliveries you are responsible for. The salary ranges between 10,00,000 to 20,00,00 lacs

Freelance Consultants 

Independent Consultants in digital marketing make around 5,000 per month to 25, lacs a year. This figure depends upon the experiences and connections you made in the industry. 

Now you understood digital marketing salaries and you may be thinking about what is bad about it! Yes, no doubt for fresher it may be difficult but after two years of experience, it looks decent as per Indian market. 

But how many get this salary this figure is also important. 

With some research on this, reading several articles, looking at LinkedIn salary insights, glassdoor salary insights, and reviewing quora reviews I realized the real figure is limited for people. 

Now Reality Check: 

  • Almost everyone gets a job as an intern
  • Only 70% Get into the industry with a job profile as a digital marketing executive.
  • Reports show that 20% get into good companies with connections and approaches. 
  • Only 35% enjoy their work as digital marketers because the agency work is very tiring and includes so much pressure of instant changes.
  • 40% of people get hikes around 3 to 7% but not as per industry standards
  • Only 25% reach to management level rest change their career to either programming or any other field or start their businesses(mostly freelance or agencies) 
  • Only 5-8% get the package of more than 16 lacs as a digital marketing experts in the industry

Now, here is the question what about all other people?

So, these people either switch careers or settle for less and keep their livelihood alive with some freelance work. 

This might sound harsh but that is the truth of this industry. Well, this is the reality for most of the sectors in India and Asia. 

Harsh Reality of Work in Digital Marketing

Before joining a digital marketing company or agency we think, what could be the work there? I would have to run ads on Facebook and Google. 

Or I will be a social media marketing specialist and the whole day I will monitor my clients’ pages and post some engaging content online. 

Or I will write well-optimized content on their blog so that they can rank with SEO. 

Yes, you are absolutely right these are the work that we think we will do when we join a cool agency with the extraordinary work culture we saw on LinkedIn. 

The Harsh Reality of SEO Executives 

But the harsh reality of digital marketing jobs is something like this; you may need to write not one but around  3 – 10 blogs every day on topics that you have never heard about. 

Now you would be wondering if I’m an SEO executive, not a content writer! Then you will lose your opportunities to get a decent job if you do not have content writing skills.

Because SEO stands for optimizing the content and website for the greater good of rankings on every platform.

Now if you know the content writing and writing down the blogs then you have to make sure that you are using a perfect combination of keyword density, anchor text, alt tags, meta tags, internal linking, outer linking, no follow, do follow, article submission, classified submission and what not. 

Just think like a search engine optimization expert you may need to sign up for thousands of websites and save your login credentials so that you can register your client’s article daily. Same work on a daily basis for more than 15 clients you are handling. 

Your computer will become as lazy as your mind and will stop working in a year or two just the same as you would. 

Because client demand it and if you don’t client will be angry and they will switch to another agency and your boss definitely not gonna like this. And you should know client and boss are God’s. 

“But that’s not all. People still enjoy this work when they produce amazing results and once you practiced everything you would be able to make remarkable changes in ranking and then you will enter into that 40% of people who are happy with their work and making pretty good bucks from their jobs and freelancing.” 

The Harsh Reality of Social Media Marketers 

You may need to create a content calendar for months and answer why Facebook’s reach is not increasing.

Share lots of ideas every day to increase organic followers and subscribers.

Create daily reporting and maintain the brand story at check. And then starts the game of paid advertising and lead generation.

You will realize that 70% of the traffic and leads you get from these social media platforms are garbage. And tell me how would respond to your client who is asking you, “So you wasted my money on nothing?” 

Trust me if you don’t have people’s skills you will lose this client immediately or his trust in you will be lost. And you will start doubting your skills in that case. 

Most of the time these job roles are open to female candidates only because agencies know that girls have better command over creative things and they can talk to clients softly. 

So, even if you think that this looks good to you there are so many challenges that you may need to face and those are not in your hand. 

For example; Facebook ad accounts are blocked, money is stuck, campaigns are not responding, click-through rate is higher, the last agency was so affordable for clients, unexpected demands under pressure working to keep clients happy. 

Just like this, there are so many more profiles that depict the same situations and people get frustrated dealing with all of this. 

In between all these points you may have realized that the clients are the real pain to you. So let’s talk about the real pain for one more woking profile of marketers. 

The harsh reality of Digital Marketing Freelancers 

Digital marketing is a term that excites everyone and it gives us confidence that we can start anything from anywhere without any burden

This eventually leads us to start a freelance career or startup

Now because you have little knowledge of how corporate works or you have the zeal to do the business and make huge profits, you turn yourself into a freedom zone.

Now you don’t want to work for anybody else. You want to be the boss, make money, hire people, and dream about international meetups and awards.

And all of this looks so picture-perfect to us that we forget all this goes with the work we have to do. 

The market is very brutal, and it happens when there is a gap between supply and demand. 

If you look at the ratio of product startups versus service startups is very huge, let me explain you in simple terms.

Think about how many businesses are opening around you? Maybe 20. But think about how many marketing agencies are around you? More than 100. So for one business, there are 4 agencies.

And not all startups require marketing services at first, so this competition becomes more intense with such a tight market. And a startup owner is forced to compromise.

How does this start?

80% of people do not like corporate politics and they believe that they are getting paid a hefty amount of money for a normal job. 

And they think by investing little to zero amount they can hire interns for free and start a marketing agency. Because they know how things work. 

But this bubble bursts when you spend one month creating a website for your business, running your own social media channels, creating PPTs for each client you want to pitch and so much more.

You thought it is very easy, but the reality is far more different than what you imagined. These clients are not ready to pay you more than 5000 INR for entire social media. 

Downside of industry

Because your competitors in the market are doing the same to make money by quantity, not quality. And to survive this is the only option until and unless you have strong connections on your hand already.

But still, you try for 6 more months and you end up having 5 to 6 clients with an average budget of 20 to 50 thousand and expectations of 400% return over their investment.

And you with your experience know the fact that it is not possible to run ads with such a low amount because you won’t even reach out to the target audience. 

Loss of interest and passion

And this all starts turning so negative that you lose your temperament and become the person you never wanted to be. 

More frustrated, fragile, money-centric, less ambitious, and what not to demotivate your soul. Even you start cursing yourself for quitting your job and starting a business. 

The reason is very simple, all the businesses who are at the bottom do not have that hefty money to invest in their accounts and they are also like you. 

They also need to survive and this is completely normal because remember you also hired the interns with less to zero amount as stipend. And we did the same to compromise the market.

So you can understand how abnormal this situation becomes when you start a digital marketing freelance business. Because your expectations will not match with the reality at least for 3 years till you stabilize yourself as per the market demand

Question: Is Digital Marketing a Bad Career Choice?

Not really, digital marketing has just begun and it will grow every day. But the market has no standard. For example, if you go to the market and buy a cotton bag the price will almost be similar at every place. 

If you call an ac service provider for your air conditioner repair then the charges will be mostly similar at every place. 

But in digital marketing, there is no such standard and that makes this industry very fragile. As a result, people will never be able to trust agencies with their pricing and deliveries, except the established firms. 

Solution for such Chaos 

There must be an autonomous body taking care of the industry standards. So that clients and service providers can trust the businesses. 

The startups in the industry must first learn real marketing skills and then should provide the services. So that business doesn’t get close soon. 

There must be good industry-standard salaries for interns and executives.

The courses must have a regulatory body to provide the certification with quality industry-standard only. No such local coaching centers must be allowed to operate. 

In the end, digital marketing isn’t bad, the fluctuations in the industry are. As an expert, you must keep all these things in your mind before starting your career or continuing this. 

This was the harsh and true reality of the digital marketing industry in 2022. Stay in touch for more such blogs. Till then make it a good industry with real learnings. Do not compromise with any bit of it. All the best.  

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