Digital marketing predictions 2015 – Part 3: Finding the right skillset

Industry experts discuss the skills gap present in 2015 around digital marketing

There’s no doubt about it: As digital marketing continues its ascendancy, the skillset required within marketing teams to handle digital platforms is changing drastically.

Not only is it more complicated to interact with customers in a digital way, there’s also the rising expectation that digital will relay seamlessly into other forms of brand engagement.

So where are there skill gaps, and what can CMOs do about it? In the third of our 3-part series on digital marketing in 2015, we asked leading industry associations and digital agencies to share their views on the skills required this year, and how the industry can rise to the challenge.

More on this topic: Digital marketing predictions – Part 1: Lessons learnt

Digital marketing predictions – Part 2: Getting the strategy right

Where are there still gaps in terms of digital marketing skillset and where should expertise be developed in 2015?

Alice Manners, IAB CEO:

Digital disruption has made the role of the marketer more complicated. It’s tough to keep abreast of emerging innovations, best practices and existing guidelines, but I believe it’s also incredibly exciting and a role of critical importance in any organisation. Remember that success will still come from staying true to marketing fundamentals:

  • The consumer rules, so don’t get caught up in the latest buzzword. Instead understand how your consumer lives in their multi-screen and connected screen world;

  • Be willing to test and trial the ‘new’. Some of the most sophisticated digital marketers started by allocating a percentage of their budget to testing and trialling;

  • Work to identify data-driven insights that will drive growth.

And of course, as an industry, we need to start recognising the achievements of new and young talent working in digital marketing. It’s for this reason the IAB launched a global certification programme to help individuals and companies accelerate their growth in digital advertising, as well as provide a foundation for career advancement.

Read more: The top marketing and CMO skills in demand in 2015
Report: Cross-channel challenge remains despite rise of marketing tech stacks

Jodie Sangster, ADMA CEO

There are still skillset challenges in digital marketing in Australia. We have great digital marketers, content writers and data analysts, but their skills aren’t intersecting with each other.

What we need now is convergence: With marketers who understand analytics and data analysts who are knowledgeable about marketing and can translate those findings into business English.

Mark Bailey, Chemistri Group director

Finding the right balance and constantly fine-tuning strategy are the key issues for marketers facing the ever-increasing pace of digital media and channels fragmentation.

This is based on solid audience insights, evolving what works best for your audience and how that changes as behaviour changes driven by technology, economy, government and the myriad of influences is the key challenge. What’s right for your brand and audience and how quickly that may change is crucial to success.

There is no one size fits all and neither will every type of digital media, channel or technology be appropriate for every brand. Relevance, convenience and context are the more topical than ever.

The pace of change won’t slow down so effective, unbiased balance management will be imperative. 2015 will be the year of the impartial marketing technologist.

Doug Chapman, Razorfish managing director

There are major gaps right now across the disciplines of analytics, digital media, UX and some platform technologies. This gap will widen particularly in the area of analytics as client and agencies both fight for good qualified people. This is broadly true in other areas as well and will be a game changer.

While there is, generally speaking, a fairly healthy/unhealthy churn rate among agency staff, there is strong anecdotal evidence that once people relocate to client side they tend to be more loyal to their employer. This will provide a challenging scenario going forward.

Right now we need quality training for local talent and less reliance on importing talent from overseas. Local universities need to step up in this area and provide courses that are much more in line with current and future demands in these areas.

Tim O’Neill, Reactive managing director

There are skills gaps in both industry and agencies, which will never be eradicated as our industry continues to change at this pace. The main gaps we see are analytical skills and senior digital strategists.

One way clients are increasingly bridging their knowledge gaps is by bringing agency teams into their building. This is an increasing trend, and one that makes many agencies uncomfortable. It’s driven in part by the growth in adoption of agile methodology, which encourages teams to be sitting together. For clients that have highly skilled agency staff sitting in their office, as part of their team, an obvious benefit is the rub-off on tools, skills, motivation and experience to their internal team. Of course, the flipside is that this way of working is very ‘un-agency’ and counter to a true studio culture.

Rather than continuing to moan about the skills gap, we need to keep investing in R&D, innovation and training to upskill our staff, and also support the educational institutes that are striving to get this right, such as Tractor Design School.

David Pountney, DT managing partner

In the words of Tim Ferriss: “In a world of dogmatic specialists, it’s the generalist who ends up running the show”.

Digital marketing specialists will always be required to keep up with the frenetic pace of technological change, but it’s ‘jacks of all trades’ that are needed to help knit the marketing ecosystem together. Marketers with a focus on customer experience and an appreciation of the synergy between creativity and technology will continue to be in high demand in 2015.

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