What skills does a marketer need in a digital world?

Our UK Director, Fran Nolan attended a round table event at Hays HQ last night where their Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Clare Kemsley ran through the findings of some interesting research they had commissioned in Spring 2016 “Elements of a Marketer – Skills for a digital world”

The key areas that were discussed last night were that although digital skills are valued and sought after, they have not replaced the key skills that employing managers require which include things like commercial awareness, customer centricity and project management.

The biggest skill gap that was identified was analytical skills which was attributed to the rise of digital and the data that is now available, but not always interpreted correctly or in fact used to inform future decisions.

When it comes to marketers there was a clear capability gap between generalists and specialists, which posed an interesting question about “do we broaden a specialist role ie. do we push a PPC specialist to broaden their skills, or do digitally upskill our marketing managers?”

Superdream believe that you need a balance of both in your team because a generalist will never gain the knowledge across all digital disciplines that a specialist can, but a general marketing manager can provide the bigger picture and therefore set the right scope and scale for digital activity.

Within the report there are interview sections with Sholto Douglas-Home CMO of Hays and Ciaran Nelson Head of Corporate Communications of Anglian Water and both raise the point about external agencies. Unsurprisingly we are also fans of the supporting agency model but for good reason (two good reasons in fact). Firstly, agencies sell their expertise so it’s their job to have the most up to date skills – a common issue we come across with in house teams is out-dated knowledge. Secondly, we work across multiple sectors with multiple campaigns running at any one time so we have a condensed level of experience and knowledge.

It’s important that the agency model works for your business and there are a variety of models you can use from full outsource, to help with strategic direction on a quarterly basis – most agencies will be flexible to your needs as long as the model produces results – it’s all about results!

One word of warning though, avoid the agency that keeps you in the dark. Digital knowledge must not be kept secret in order to protect an agency’s position. It’s all about partnership and upskilling the client. If the client has the basics and is performing some digital functions themselves, then this frees the agency up to do the more strategic value add activities. Win-win in our book!

If you would like to have more of a conversation about digital please drop Fran Nolan an email on (link: mailto:Fran.Nolan@superdream.co.uk text: Fran.Nolan@superdream.co.uk)