Study reveals marketing professionals aren’t ready for digital change


Last month, the Digital Marketing Institute released the results of their study, which revealed that most marketing professionals are not prepared for digital change. This report titled ‘20/20 Vision: A Marketing Leader’s View of Digital’s Future’ included insights regarding challenges to the marketing industry after surveying over 2000 executives and senior marketing professionals worldwide.

According to the report, 82% of respondents think that their company needs to invest in staff development and training to remain competitive in this day and age. As digital technology continues to evolve, capabilities and technological know-how of employees continue to dwindle, which means many company’s lag behind. The reports suggest that the training needs to address business skills such as research and leadership, strategy and planning, in addition to filling in gaps in technical skills. 

“As digital technologies rapidly transform business, marketers are recognizing the need to invest more resources in training and close skills gaps. There is an urgency to cultivate a talent pool that possesses the skills necessary to help their organizations remain competitive and relevant in the digital economy,” said Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute. “To be successful in 2020 and beyond, a culture that promotes professional development, upskilling, and reskilling is going to be just as important in digitization as emerging technologies, effective strategies and increased budgets.”

The survey respondents highlighted app technology and AI as the most important emerging technology. Close behind were social customer service and emotional engagement. Once organizations bring these technologies on board, marketers will be required to have a new set of skills. 

Marketing leaders surmised the most important  technical skills for marketing professionals today are content marketing, website design and optimization, and social media; however, social media is likely to only be a priority for a few more years, with mobile and marketing automation taking over.

LinkedIn’s Global Leader for Market Education, Ty Heath said, “It is imperative that we invest in and take action on hiring talent that will keep pace with technological change. The incoming wave of marketers aren’t fully prepared to find footing in the shifting digital landscape that now exists. We need to move thoughtfully and quickly to meet the transformation in marketing and sales”.

This study reminds us how important it is to keep track of and take into account technological change. Companies need to engage their employees in upskilling programs to address the impact technological advances can have on the marketing sector. Predictions from analysts estimate that a whopping 1.8 million unskilled and young individuals could be left behind as a result of marginalization due to technology. At this stage, company success is dependent on harnessing the power of evolving technology and infusing it into the company’s marketing goals.

It’s important that companies act now instead of waiting for the technological shift to take place. Company’s need to create a digital culture that prioritizes access to digital infrastructure and technological training.

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