Marketing, or rather the role of marketing has transformed over the past 10 years as the result of disruptive technologies and changing consumer behaviour. This change continues today at a rate never experienced by the industry before and while the role has transformed, many marketers have not made this transition. In the latest report from The Economist and Business Intelligence Unit, ‘The Rise of the Marketer’ more than 80% of marketing executives interviewed stated marketing needed restructuring to better support business goals. A further 29% stated urgent change was needed. This blog posts looks at 8 ways your organisation can close the digital marketing skills gap.

GET TOP LEVEL COMMITMENT

Digital is a boardroom issue. CIM research from 2012 found that while marketers see its potential, less than one in five businesses stated social media was central to their overall marketing strategy. Without buy in from top level management and the board, digital will never deliver results because it was never invested in to enable it to.

ASSESS YOUR MARKETING TEAM’S SKILLS

Digital is continually evolving, new platforms, algorithm changes… so first things first, get an understanding of where your skill levels need to be, then you can pinpoint where the skill gaps are. Once you know what digital marketing skills and capabilities are lacking in your organisation you can define and prioritise which capabilities you need to upskill or outsource.

According to Grovo, 90% of marketers report a critical deficiency in digital marketing skills and in a study released by SkilledUp 34% found it difficult to hiring content marketers or don’t have the skills to implement content marketing strategies. Other common areas where skills are lacking within organisations include; digital media monitoring, SEO, email marketing, project management and analytics.

Research by CIM found that only 2% of marketers felt they had adequate skills and competencies and that was only in the area of social media! A major concern is not only the lack of skills of some marketers but the rate of which they are acquiring new ones.

UPSKILL

Digital marks the biggest shift in decades in how marketing operates and in this ever changing landscape if you don’t train your staff you will get left behind. If you did step 1 already, this will make gaining approval in the budget for training. Explain the value of the training in terms of how it will improve the level of marketing output. Digital is continually changing, from Google and Facebook algorithm changes to social media platform terms of use, marketers need to be immersed in the media to remain up to date on all these changes.

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OUTSOURCE WHAT YOU CAN’T UPSKILL

When you use the right people, outsourcing can be an effective way of managing short term requirements and long term upskilling that may be more cost effective than hiring that talent internally. Having and training existing talent in house will enable you to work better with outsourced talent, digital has to be driven internally or it will never bring results.

MILLENNIALS. HOW TO FIND THEM AND RETAIN THEM

Millennials represent the largest generation of consumers and with the majority of leadership positions not having millennial mindsets, businesses need to ensure they have the talent in place to market to millennials. That said, hiring a clued up 20 something would be a start but retaining them is another thing . A recent report found that 45% of millennials would choose workplace flexibility over pay, one reason being is their reliance on freelance work and the need to manage their time more effectively. Millennials are seeking employment on their terms and as a result, and they are ending the traditional 9-5 day job.

FORGET 9-5, THINK 24/7

Technology has enabled 24/7 connectivity blurring the lines between work and personal life and for every minute of every day is a connected consumer who increasingly expects brands to be online when they are. Due to the always on culture of social media marketers need to be super connected, responsive and contactable out of normal work hours. To engage with the connected consumer you need to be online when they are. Social media is in cyberspace, not office space and office hours.