The first Emarketeers Digital iSkills Survey is published today, and was created in order to look at the skills base and capabilities of the digital marketing industry.
The major finding is that whilst 2014 is predicted to be another good year for advertising in the UK with digital marketing at the forefront of growth, the industry may not be adequately prepared for it.
Three key problem areas
Three problem areas for the industry were identified as follows:
Resource and time
Skills and knowledge, and
Budget and cost.
Summary of Key Findings
1. Lack of Investment In Resource, Skills and Knowledge
Highlighted within the report, is the key challenge of keeping digital talent and skills in line with digital spend levels and continued growth and technological development. Results from the survey indicate that there is a skills and knowledge gap appearing which could potentially hinder digital progress in the longer term.
With revenues forecasted to grow by at least 20% for this year, it is even more surprising to find that less than a quarter of organisations are planning to recruit digital talent in 2014. In addition, digital marketing is also suffering from a skills shortage as senior roles are being left unfilled.
2. Training and Skills Development a Low Priority
Formal training appears to be low on the agenda with only 75% of respondents receiving any training, while investment per capita is under £300. Digital marketers are largely in charge of their own development at the moment using virtual and self service tools for development.
3.The Digital Agenda
Respondents were very clear that the integration of the old and new loom large on the horizon in 2014; specifically when it comes to the blending social media and content marketing into the mix.
Implications for the digital marketing industry
As digital evolves, both clients and agencies will find it much harder to hire specialists, either due to a lack of talent or experience, or increasingly, affordability as those with experience demand higher salary levels to reflect their expertise. 80% of those surveyed claimed they would not be recruiting digital marketing specialists within the next 12 months.
As organisations continue to under-invest in formal training, a lack of consistency or standardisation may well result in higher recruitment costs and lower levels of staff retention, as well as sub-optimal business results driven by lack of knowledge or understanding in key areas of the purchase cycle.
Key take-outs and learning
To keep up with the digital curve, companies need to implement company- wide blended training. programmes, and invest in talent, not just through training, but via mentoring and personal development. As skills and knowledge gaps lessen, this should lead to greater confidence in selling digital internally and understanding the true power of digital.