Why Even Marketing Masters Still Need Digital 101

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You’ve worked hard to stock your digital marketing department with intelligent, talented experts and provide them with the training and resources to excel at their jobs. But if your digital marketers don’t understand their place in the larger digital strategy of your organization, most of that effort was wasted.

Specialization is important, but marketers that are too focused on their area of expertise at the expense of the overall organization will fail to effectively integrate and collaborate with the rest of your marketing machine. That means weaker output for everyone involved, directly damaging your marketing ROI.

But getting access to talent with deep expertise and a broad digital perspective is easier said than done. Large brands must hire carefully and get creative with their talent acquisition strategy to get the most out of their digital marketing and come out on top.

The Value and Pitfalls of Specialization

Wisely directed specialization is essential for success in most marketing roles, especially when they’re part of a larger organization. Thorough understanding and experience with a particular facet of marketing is vital for securing a competitive edge–it’s the only way you can reliably do it better than anyone else. And anyone attempting to master everything in the huge-and-growing marketing world will most certainly fail.

But an SEO expert that doesn’t consider the effect of their work on content marketing or an email marketer that doesn’t understand how to leverage the social team to enhance their campaigns is basically dead weight in today’s marketing.

The individuals that are about 80% subject matter expert and 20% well-rounded digital generalist are the types of marketers that are best suited to work in a large department and lead the organization to success.

This has driven the evolution of marketers with the incredibly valuable combination of both specialization and a strong awareness of the evolving digital world around them. But it’s also means new digital talent has even further to go in order to “catch up,” raising the barrier to entry into the ranks of top marketing departments.

That’s the cause of the huge deficits in talent acquisition and an environment where some skills, like analytics, have gone largely underdeveloped but are still sorely needed.

Jack of All Digital Trades, Master of One

Talent Gap of Digital Marketing Recruiter

As companies scramble to update their brands to compete in a fast-moving digital age, demand has soared for well-rounded geniuses that can do a little of many things adeptly and one thing particularly well. But with colleges falling far behind in marketing training, the supply of able talent simply hasn’t kept up with demand from forward-looking companies. Only top digital marketing recruiters know where to find the A players.

There are countless combinations in which any one marketing master could expand his or her skillset to become the versatile marketer that large brands need today. The ideal combination of proficiencies is constantly in flux, but some staples are universally useful and will be for a long time, like mobile, SEO, social, and analytics. Unfortunately, these are also some of the skills marketers lack most:

  • The Online Marketing Institute’s “State of Digital Marketing Talent” study indicated a talent gap of 29% in mobile marketing and a 37% gap in analytics.
  • Marketers are aware of this need to “reinvent” themselves, and they know that means redefining their roles and rounding out their skillset. But the majority aren’t sure how to go about it. In fact, 91% in Adobe’s study “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” said they needed to become skilled in more than one area, naming social and mobile the most important for 2015.
  • Even though 76% of marketers in the Adobe study said marketers need to be more data-focused to succeed, only 39% were actively using consumer data and behavior to shape marketing strategies.

The Search for More Effective Talent

So what exactly should brands be looking for in their talent acquisitions? For digital marketers, the search begins with basic understanding of an evolving list of tech skills.

(Meme source: troll.me)

HubSpot suggests today’s successful marketer in his or her most basic form is one who knows how to get things visible on search engines, social media and mobile platforms. Jason Miller of LinkedIn adds that basic coding skills are not far behind on the list of must-have abilities for the successful digital marketer.


This flexible marketing pro– no matter the role– needs to have a basic comfort with handling data and possess a fundamental level of analytics skills. This is a must as Web analytics evolve to deal with big data; machines can’t work in tip-top shape without a guiding human touch.

John Broadbent, CMO of Netmark, suggests yet another role useful for nearly all marketers: Digital Strategist.

Video from Netmark University

Blazing a Trail to Digitally Competent Marketers

The need to reach a point of ready access to all the expertise you need in this digital age is obvious to nearly anyone. The path to get there is less so.

Training is one method to close the gap–at least partway. Continued investment into your current staff can be an effective way to improve their efficiency and maintain that cutting edge.

Creative recruiting strategies, a strong employer brand, strategic partnerships and even wholesale business acquisitions are other ways to attract or get access to elite talent with a good grasp on digital basics. Additionally, an experienced digital marketing recruiter can help any firm locate hard-to-find expertise.

In closing, there is a certain level of responsibility both companies and marketers who work for them have to advance their skills sets. Companies need to foster an environment of learning and cross-training while forming strategic partnerships with talent resources. Meanwhile, marketers need to show interest in learning channels that overlap with their core skills and avoid letting their skills get stale.

Article source: MarketingLand

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