Use it or lose it

Use it or lose it

As the financial year comes to a close, it’s time for marketing leaders to spend leftover budgets – what better use for this money than to invest in training and qualifications?

It’s difficult to find budget – or time – for career-improving qualifications. If you have spare cash left over from this financial year, and need to spend it to avoid budget cuts for 2017, now could be the perfect opportunity to get you or your team some education and training.

Today, a high proportion of marketers have a degree in the field, or some level of formal training. All too often, though, this is frontloaded at the beginning of their careers.

What are the benefits of undertaking more training now? As with the yearly budget, marketing education is a case of ‘use it or lose it’. If you’re not employing all of those valuable skills you picked up with your marketing degree, a refresher course could help to keep you sharp.

In addition, because this is a fast-moving profession, a qualification in social media or digital marketing might sire all kinds of new insights into how to achieve better results right now – useful either for you, or for members of your team.

Don’t forget the value of that extra marketing course when making the next career jump. There are some basics that everybody wants in a new employee – writing skills, naturally persuasive, well presented – but some things only come from education. That could be general digital literacy or consumer psychology. Equally, it could be training in one of the specialised skill sets that could result in a lucrative appointment – SEO or digital analytics, say.

So, whether you’re thinking about doing your own job better, helping your team to excel, or considering a career move – perhaps it’s time to put that spare budget into some carefully chosen training.

A recruiting expert speaks

Clare Kemsley, managing director at recruiting experts Hays Marketing, suggests that marketers should cultivate a variety of skills.

The advent of digital has been transformational, but today it is an integral part of marketing, rather than an innovative idea to be tagged on to traditional marketing strategies. The evolution of digital technology has created an inevitable skills gap. Employers are addressing this by targeting more junior, but more technically adept marketing professionals across a range of functions.

That said, our recent skills report, Elements of a Marketer, Skills for a Digital World, identified a need for marketers to have a firm foundation of core skills which can serve them long-term, as well as specific technical skills required for their individual role.

It is no secret that technology and digital’s role in marketing is evolving at an unprecedented rate. This pace of change could cause pressure on marketing leaders to focus on the technical skills needed today, as opposed to the skills needed longer term.

For instance, while it’s obvious an email marketer would require technical expertise with e-CRM systems, automation platforms, HTML and analytics software, our survey respondents also identified that they would need core skills in copywriting, project management, customer centricity, data interpretation and creativity.

The benefits of training for marketers

Senior marketers

High-level marketers who are new to their positions might benefit from leadership training, to enable them to create a motivated, connected team. It is equally important for strategic management to invest in upskilling to help them discover the best ways to achieve their business growth targets.

Senior marketers may also be looking to make the leap into a C-suite role – in which case, broader training could be appropriate.

Mid-level marketers

Mid-level marketers might also benefit from leadership training, especially if they are looking to move up to a senior position. Alternatively, a focus on an in-demand technical specialisation could lead to a lucrative specialist role or freelance work as a marketing consultant.

Junior marketers

Marketers who are just starting out in their careers will be seeking ways to impress their current employers. Investing in learning and discovering new skillsets will add value to their role and thus achieve greater results for the business. As digital natives in a world run by the somewhat less savvy, extra social-media training might go a long way. Alternatively, finding out what their dream employer is looking for in a marketer and pursuing relevant training could be a good strategy.

If you have remaining funds from the 2016/2017 budget allocated for learning and development, take a look at how you can make the most of it.

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