Marketing departments must urgently nurture talent with digital marketing skills, an international management consultancy has warned
Today’s marketers do not have all the skills they need to operate in a digital world – and the gaps and shortfalls are bigger than companies think. The warning comes from the international Boston Consulting Group, which says many organisations have failed to realise that modern marketing is, in many instances, a technology-driven enterprise.
Boston believes the signs for the future are even more troubling, as marketers seem focused on catching up on yesterday’s needs rather than embedding into their organisations the capabilities and expertise that will be required tomorrow.
Referring to a 2015 study of 1 100 marketers in 57 European businesses – which found there was below-par capability in areas such as customer data, mobile advertising and video-based marketing – the researchers note that this is despite almost 30% of global advertising spending in 2016 likely to be on digital strategies.
“So far, marketers have managed this lack of skills the old-fashioned way; by outsourcing campaign development and execution to their agencies, just as they have long outsourced creative development and media buying,” Boston says.
“But digital campaigns are different. They are continually modified and adjusted in real time based on real-time results. Marketers [who] are not actively involved in the ‘test-learn-adapt’ process soon lose touch with both their campaigns and their digital consumers. They don’t know whether their strategies are being faithfully executed or how their budgets are being spent. And they are hard-pressed to explain how or why success, or failure, occurred.”
To address this, the researchers believe that marketing departments must nurture talent with expertise in areas such as programmatic buying, branded content, using big data to better understand consumers, marketing-effectiveness analytics, marketing innovation and agency management.
Organisations that aren’t able to build these capabilities will fall behind their competitors, they warn.