Digital channels, tools and platforms are increasingly ingrained in business strategy as ways to drive growth, creating demand for people with the right skills. Finding them is the issue.
The need is urgent for marketers in light of growing reliance on Big Data, and analytics around it, a need to connect with an increasingly networked public through social media platforms and, more often than not, while the consumer is on the run. It’s created demand for people with design skills (platform design or gamification) and technical know-how (managing cloud services, app development and security), among other arenas.
A Capgemini Consulting report noted that 85% of American executives studied have Big Data initiatives in the works. But three-quarters cited difficulty in sourcing the requisite analytics talent. Half of businesses undergoing digital transformation consider mobile to be a critical enabler, yet 80% of respondents say the talent with experience in mobile technology is not available.
Those with digital marketing capabilities are in high demand and the growth in jobs will be healthy as we progress through the remainder of the decade and beyond, particularly for professionals with a bachelor’s degree. A 2015 analysis by Frac.tl, a content marketing agency, and Moz, a marketing analytics service, found the most job ads for content marketing strategists, search engine marketing, social media marketing and management, inbound marketing, pay per click and (Google) analytics.
Positions requiring digital skills include art directors, graphic designers, editors, public relations specialists and managers, and market research analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job growth rate of 5% through 2024 for advertising and promotions managers, and 9% for marketing managers themselves.
While a creative orientation is helpful, the emphasis today is more on its science. An Economist Intelligence Unit survey of senior marketing executives identified the following as skills needing to be developed in their organizations:
- Demand generation and data analysis – 47%
- Marketing operations – 39%
- Technology and digital engagement – 39%
- Strategy and planning – 38%
- Customer experience and engagement – 35%
The most in-demand marketers will bring a mindset that understands the business environment and the complexities of marketing management, something that can be developed with a foundation in business administration. Softer skills also come into play: the ability to communicate effectively and work with and lead cross-functional teams.