5 Steps for Closing the Marketing Skills Gap


Published on

I wrote this paper with my good friend Carlos Hidalgo who is passionate about the topic

Published in: Education, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

5 Steps for Closing the Marketing Skills Gap

  1. 1. 5 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap Focus Research ©2012 All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. 5 Steps for Closing the Skills GapThe 2012 Marketing Skills Gap survey conducted by Focus and the Marketing Automation Institute andsponsored by Eloqua and Bulldog Solutions revealed a significant issue: marketers are struggling to acquirethe right skills to do their jobs effectively. Furthermore, the study revealed the impact that these lack of skillsare having on revenue, the sales and marketing alignment gap, and how little organizations are doing tochange the dynamic within their organizations. In other words, there is a skills gap issue in marketing andfixing this problem has the potential to drive a company’s revenue growth and bottom line. Organizations must make a commitment to closing this gap. In today’s B2B environment, marketing is moreimportant than ever and the longer this issue goes unaddressed, the longer organizations will struggle to seea significant impact on their revenue from marketing activities.In response to the data that was received by close to 500 respondents, these are 5 things that organizationsshould do immediately to address the skills gap and begin educating, equipping, and enabling theirmarketing personnel.1. Get commitment from the CEO 75% of allImagine if a CEO of an organization was approached by the head of respondents in thea business unit or a VP and told that the company had an issue thatmore often than not was having a negative impact on revenue. In fact, Skills Gap studythe issue was so severe that in looking at the problem, 75% of theorganization agreed that this issue was limiting the ability to generate stated that theirmore revenue. skills gap has anIn all likelihood the CEO would assign a task force to the issue, wouldallocate the necessary resources to fix the problem, and perhaps even hire impact on theiran outside team of consultants. You can be sure that it would be “all handson deck” until the issue was solved and the necessary heads had rolled. corporate revenueThe truth is that problem exists today in most organizations and theCEO has either turned a blind eye or is unaware of the depth of the issue. It is key that marketing raise thisissue and paint the picture for the CEO that shows there is a problem, i.e. just how profound the revenueimpact is.5 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap Focus Research ©2012 2
  3. 3. In order for marketers to acquire the necessary skills, they need the commitment of the CEO to provide thenecessary funding and make it a priority; otherwise, this will not get the necessary attention.2. Allocate funds to address skills development46% of organizations spend less than $500 per year on skills trainingEvery marketing budget should have a line item that allocates funding for education of the marketingorganization. This should not come at the cost of some other program, but should be part of every marketingbudget in their next budget cycle.How much should be allocated? That will depend on what skills need to be developed and where the biggestgaps exist. The allocation should truly enable those in the marketing organization and educate them. This isnot accomplished by sending marketing employees to a half-day seminar at the Ramada hotel. This will beaccomplished over time but with advanced training.If a baseline is needed for how much should be spent, use the following:In analyzing the data from the research, more than 25% of large companies spend more than $5,000 peryear on skills training; this is a good figure to use as a baseline.Organizations that fail to invest in the proper skills development will consistently see poor results from theirmarketing and more often will fail to see improvements in their marketing ROI.3. Develop a long-term education strategy 63% of respondents statedThe wrong answer to the skills gap problem is to say “go take they receive no formal skillsa class.” The right answer is to create a long-term plan that isfocused on constant, progressive learning. The education plan training or receive skillsshould strive to make employees not just marginally better, butgreat! training on an “ad hoc” basisWith the rapid change of the B2B marketing environment, the goal for education should be to stay aheadof the game. A long-term educational strategy will enable this. Much like how HR departments developleadership plans for employees that are identified as having potential for future organizational leadership,marketing should take the same approach.5 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap Focus Research ©2012 3
  4. 4. Equipping teams with the key basics and then allowing them to advance in their learning will be essential tothe long-term success of any organization.Understand that the skills acquired will be honed with hands-on experience, which takes time, but allowingindividuals to put these new skills to work will make them better at their jobs and ultimately will enablemarketing to deliver more value to the organization. 23%4. Support skills training for specific rolesThe optimal marketing organization is not made up of “jack-of-all- of respondentstrades” marketers but specialists who own specific responsibilitiesin the organization. The types of roles depend on your stated that demand generationorganization’s goals, but some examples are: content marketing,demand generation, web marketing, and marketing operations. is the most importantEach role requires specific skill sets and therefore requires skill-specific training. contributor to revenue, whileWhile there are many general marketing seminars and workshopsavailable, this is not the kind of training that is needed for 14% chose demand generationmarketing personnel. The training must be specific to what theyneed to do their day-to-day job most effectively. as the skill most lackingIf there is no clear understanding of which specific skills are lacking from each marketing team member,conduct a personnel review and align the training and long-term plan to the role of each individual.5. Offer multiple channels for developmentMore than 50% of respondents stated they are self taught via online content,blogs, on the job learning, and marketing booksWhile marketers should be applauded for trying to acquire the necessary skills independently, they shouldnot be left to try and figure it out on their own. Rather, effective marketing organizations should develop amulti-channel training plan. The mix can include some or all of the following:• In-person training • Online written curriculum • Gamification• Video • Podcasts • Online classroom type learning5 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap Focus Research ©2012 4
  5. 5. The truth is that people learn in different ways, and to provide the training in only one format may not benefita good portion of the marketing team. Providing multiple channels will be more valuable and allow individualsto acquire the skills that suit their learning style best.Summary:There is no doubt that today’s marketer is far behind in the acquisition of the skills needed to do their jobmost effectively. If organizations are going to demand more from their marketing teams, the must providethem every means necessary to succeed. By not investing in the development of their people, organizationsare limiting success and reducing the overall value of their marketing spend.Below is a list of recommended resources that provide the type of skills training needed for today’smarketing personnel. • The Marketing Automation Institute: www.marketingautomationinstitute.com • The Content Marketing Institute: www.contentmarketinginstitute.com • MarketingProfs: www.marketingprofs.com • Online Marketing Institute: www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org • Sirius Decisions: www.siriusdecisions.com • MarketingSherpa: www.marketingsherpa.com5 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap Focus Research ©2012 5