Marketers are facing huge challenges in ensuring that their skills stay relevant and up-to-date, according to the IDM’s latest ‘Professional Skills Census 2018’, which highlights 13 key skills gaps which those in the industry believe need to be addressed.
The survey identified some important differences between the skills marketers currently employ in their roles and those they require for career progression.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the key areas is data skills, which will become even more integral as the marketing industry continues to move from analogue to digital, meaning that real-time data analysis will be a key part of any marketer’s role.
And the rise of automated systems will only increase the availability and scope of data, meaning marketers will need to be able to interpret this information effectively and understand how to communicate this back to senior leadership, as well as adapting their marketing strategy accordingly.
IDM managing director Jane Cave said: “The proliferation of data and technological advancements are making marketing roles more data-driven and strategic. We are witnessing a conflation of roles and skills, with marketers needing to think more like data analysts and data specialists needing to think more like marketers.”
The survey also found that only half (51%) of all marketers have had training in any of these top priority skills. The majority of these can be classified as direct/digital marketing and management skills, with other key areas including data and strategy/planning.
The exact skills that marketers say they need to develop in order to progress their careers include:
· Direct/Digital skills: Mobile marketing (+19%), marketing automation and integration (+12%), search marketing (+12%)
· Data skills: Analysing customer data/insight (+12%), data analysis and reporting (+10%), data and database management (+7%)
· Management skills: Appraising employee performance (+16%), presentation/public speaking (+15%), marketing finance (+12%), client/stakeholder management (+9%)
· Strategy/planning: Optimising campaigns (+13%), briefing agencies and evaluating performance (+7%), communications planning & strategy (+10%)
Cave continued: “The only way to professionalise the marketing industry is to arrive at a point where marketers are regularly trained in key skills required of a ‘modern marketer’. For example, artificial intelligence/machine learning, analysing customer data/insight, optimising campaigns, and marketing automation and integration are just some of the areas marketers believe will be integral to both their future and the industry’s.”
Interestingly, 52% of those who participated in training state that it led to recognition within their existing organisation, with 28% even receiving a promotion as a result. The report also found that less than a quarter of the respondents (23%) took their newly acquired skills elsewhere to another organisation.
Cave added: “Professional training clearly pays off for both employers and employees, our research supports this. Senior management teams should not view staff training as a cost, but more as an investment.”