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Listen. I’m a nerd. Being nerdy is a passion of mine; I nerd out over analytics, data, and customer behavior.

But trust me, it’s a jungle out there. Or an icy tundra. Or perhaps a bustling kingdom.

No matter the difficult terrain to which we compare it, to me digital marketing is a lot like a game of Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D if you’re a cool kid). You develop your skills, focus your talents, and at the end of the day success comes down to a roll of the dice.

“What the hell is D&D?”

If you’re asking that question, well maybe this post isn’t quite for you. But if you’re with me so far, allow me to illustrate.

In part one of this series, I’ll show how to create your character sheet using some of the mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons & Digital Marketing. #DnDnDM

Classes

In traditional D&D, your class is a grouping that describes what your character is capable of doing within the world of the game. According to the official handbook, a class is “more than a profession; it is your character’s calling.”

In the digital marketing world, professionals fall into several types of classes:

  • Fighters – These types get down and dirty. Whether they work for cutthroat agencies, or perform the entirety of a digital workload in-house, Fighters are often in the thick of it. They’re capable of running multiple campaigns at once, juggling projects with ease and knocking out problems. Mostly with their fists.
  • Casters – A digital marketing Caster (like a cleric or a wizard) often thinks long-term. They’re interested in strategy and analytics, using comprehensive and qualitative data to drive decisions across the enterprise. Some might think of it like reading a crystal ball, but Casters see trends and make connections based on data more than magic.
  • Whatevers – In a regular D&D campaign, these would include oddball classes such as rangers, rogues, and bards. In a digital marketing setting, these are the folks who bring that extra special something to the table. Whether they’re inbound geniuses, expert content generators, or simply creative UI/UX design types, they have an important place in the party.

Modifiers and Skills

Ability modifiers show your character’s inherent strengths (and weaknesses). Each ability covers a broad range of skills, including those that show a character’s proficiency or demonstrate a particular focus.

  • Dexterity (DEX) – In digital marketing, Dexterity demonstrates nimbleness and agility.
  • Wisdom (WIS) – Wisdom comes from making good choices and performing in-depth tests and analysis
  • Intelligence (INT) – Just as in a normal game of D&D, Intelligence differs from Wisdom in that it is the amalgamation of all of your education and experience. An intelligent digital marketer has a lot of knowledge to share.
  • Strength (STR) – A Fighter, for instance, will want a high Strength score. If you’re creating a portfolio of digital programs, you need the hard skills to back it up.
  • Charisma (CHA) – Think of a Don Draper type. Someone who could pitch a lawn mower to a renter on the 14th floor.

Weapons

In this scenario, let’s treat the tools and how they’re applied as our weapons. They allow a good digital marketer to develop strategy or create advertising campaigns at scale. I’ve divided tools into two potential categories:

Melee Combat – Immediate. Acute. For instance, social media ad campaigns or automated inbound programs.
Ranged Combat – Strategic. Long-term. For instance, SEM dashboards and customer analytics software.

Character Sheet

Now that you have an understanding of possible classes, ability scores, and weapons, you can create your personal character sheet.

In my case, my character sheet looks something like this. I’ve a level 7 because I have 7 years of experience. I’ve chosen Cleric because as a caster I focus on a long-term, analytical approach to digital marketing. I’ve chosen ability modifiers and skill points based on my experience and proven expertise. My weapons of choice fall into the Range category, allowing me to measure data and understand customer behaviors.

What does your digital marketing character sheet look like? #DnDnDM