Core digital skills marketers depend on have improved but that the growing demands of recent and evolving technologies are contributing to a skills gap across the vast majority of industries.
This is in line with research published by the training body Target Internet, in association with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
This 12 months’s report analyses data from greater than 10,000 marketing professionals, gathered between 2018 to 2023 and highlights key short and medium-term trends, opportunities and challenges across the marketing sector.
Rapidly changing marketing landscape impacts skills required by marketers
A separate study carried out by CIM, highlighted the complex environment marketers operate in. Worryingly, one in five respondents (19%) stated they felt they only had a few of the required skills to successfully perform their roles. Whilst almost 4 fifths, (79%) believed the skill set required for the job had modified completely over the past decade.
With many marketers being forced to adapt to quite a lot of emerging technologies including generative AI, Google Analytics 4, Web3, an ever growing martech stack and an increasing variety of social media platforms – it comes as little surprise that the range of skills expected from marketing professionals continues to expand.
The pace of development within the sector signifies that because the range of skills expected from marketing professionals continues to extend, businesses need to dig deep and proceed to take a position in training and development in times of economic uncertainty.
Marketing skills see growth but skills gaps remain
The report found that there was a general upwards trend amongst key marketing disciplines with social media (+8%), Ecommerce & Lead Generation (+5%) and Email Marketing (+5%) seeing the best average improvements, whilst Content Marketing (+1%), Analytics & Data (+2%) and PPC (+2%) saw more modest increases.
However, despite a general upwards trend, improvements in most digital marketing areas remain relatively low, and are still removed from universal. There is clearly a marketing skills gap with several disciplines only seeing slight increases from pre-pandemic levels and a few areas having still not recovered.
The rapid pace of change within the marketing sector means it could actually be difficult for marketers to stay up to this point and relevant, which impacts a team’s ability to satisfy business objectives, thus impacting the underside line. Sustained investment in training is required to make sure that teams have the requisite skills they should compete within the crowded marketing space.
Skill gaps vary across levels
The research found that marketers, at several levels, have improved their skills over the past 12 months but that a few of the more junior roles had regressed, demonstrating a transparent case for skills to be updated through continuous training in any respect levels:.
- Intern’s skill levels have seen a general upwards trend in comparison with last 12 months with essentially the most significant increase normally marketing (+18%)
- Assistant/Graduate level roles have seen the smallest amount of progress, with scores drifting back in 4 of twelve areas, with the one area of great progress being Social Media (+9%).
- In contrast, the Head of Department group has made progress in all but one area of capability within the benchmark tests, while those at Director level demonstrated progress in all twelve areas of competency, taking these groups in keeping with, or above, the all-seniority average.
Confidence vs ability
The benchmark also suggests a spot exists between confidence and actual skill levels across the vast majority of tech-driven marketing disciplines. With the exception of Marketing Theory, Email, Ecommerce and Lead Generation, confidence levels consistently outstrip actual ability. This was most evident in Content Marketing, Usability and Social Media.
CEO of Target Internet, Daniel Rowles, said: “This 12 months’s benchmark outcomes underscore significant opportunities in addition to notable risks for businesses of all types. Companies and individuals that adopt a culture of continuous professional development have a real probability to tell apart themselves, especially as technology continues to develop at pace. Moreover, it emphasises that reducing investments in training proves to be an ineffective strategy for increasing productivity and driving growth.”
Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: “Despite the challenges we’ve all experienced over the past couple of years, I’m pleased to see that skills are increasing. However, the report’s findings should act as a wake-up call for marketers to take a position of their training and development. The range of skills expected from marketing professionals continues to expand, which supplies us recent opportunities to drive change and display our industry’s value. But to do that, it’s critical marketers remain cognisant of the rapidly changing marketing landscape and sustain to this point with professional development – or risk getting left behind.
“The demand for digital skills stays strong in a rapidly changing environment, so I might due to this fact urge marketers to take a position in their very own skills and people of their teams to remain ahead of the curve.”
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