What the digital skills gap means for marketers
- 06 November 2018
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New research published by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in partnership with training body Target Internet has revealed a significant lack of digital marketing skills among senior marketing professionals.
Marketing directors were shown to have an insufficient working knowledge of the essential skills to be able to effectively oversee digital marketing campaigns. On average, marketing directors had lower understanding of PPC, SEO, Ecommerce and data and analytics than junior executives with only 1-2 years of marketing experience.
The results come from a benchmarking test of digital marketing skills of 5,000 marketing professionals, carried out by Target Internet. The test required professional marketers to complete a series of tasks aimed at testing their knowledge in 12 areas of marketing, with a particular focus on digital.
While marketing directors surpassed their teams in general marketing and digital strategy, their lack of practical digital skills is a cause for concern in an industry in which digital channels are a growing part of the marketing mix.
- PPC: Directors scored only 29% in the test of their knowledge of PPC, compared with executives (34%), managers (31%) and of department heads (39%).
- Ecommerce: Directors scored only 26% on Ecommerce compared with executives (37%), managers (41%) and department heads (42%).
- Data and analytics: Marketing directors scored only 32% on a test of data and analytics skills compared with 33% by executives, 35% by managers and 42% by department heads.
Across the marketing profession as a whole, professional marketers’ skills were strongest in email marketing and general marketing, but weakest in content and mobile marketing and in skills related to usability and the user experience.
Programmatic marketing was particularly poorly understood, with many marketing professionals answering questions incorrectly rather than skipping questions or saying they did not know an answer. Programmatic marketing has caused problems for a number of major brands recently, especially where products have been displayed alongside controversial content on YouTube, an issue that might have been foreseen by marketers with a fuller understanding of how the process of programmatic advertising works.
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