The Marketing Skills Gap: Why You Need to Upskill & Reskill

Industry experts have warned the UK is facing a digital skills shortage. The term covers anything from emails and video calls to more complex talents in Google, data science, and coding. Rapid advancements in technology over the last few decades as well as the pandemic has really highlighted and accelerated the importance of digital skills that were previously just not needed. 

Years ago we would’ve put robotics and A.I up there with hoverboards and flying cars. But today there is rising demand for skills in these areas, as well as cloud computing, cyber security, digital marketing, and data analytics. 

As these are relatively new technologies, it's more important than ever for people to keep retraining and reskilling to bridge the skills gap.

The CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) conducted a study in 2020 that explored marketers’ relationship with the digital world as well as highlighting some insightful and sometimes surprising skills gaps in the industry. Here is an overview of the key takeaway from their research:

More focus should be put on data analysis

This was cited by CIM’s survey as a gap by over half (61%) of respondents. Tech is becoming more and more intelligent - it seems now almost every item starts with the word ‘smart’.  And with this intelligence comes the ability to gather and analyse data. 

Companies that make the most of analytics and big data are seeing a much better level of customer insight, which in turn improves marketing activity. The great thing about data is that it's tangible, and marketers that can effectively harness its power will be increasingly sought after. 

Soft skills are becoming more important  

Marketing has always required a well-rounded set of soft skills, but CIM’s study found this has become even more important within the last five years. Some of these such as adaptability and resilience were highlighted by the pandemic. Others such as communication, teamwork, and social skills have been and will continue to be a priority for marketers of any age and in all industries.

Copywriting is an in-demand skill which is lacking amongst many marketers

59% of those surveyed said copywriting wasn’t common in the marketing sector. This is a surprise considering the volume of areas writing is included for marketing in all businesses. 

Whether it’s on a website, in an email, or through print advertising, good copy is persuasive and influences people to buy. For this reason it’s definitely not an area to be overlooked. 

Ongoing structured learning is key to developing successful marketers

Everyone should and fortunately does recognise the importance of training and development. Only 2% of people working in a marketing department felt training was not important, rising to 7% of senior managers.

Organisations will benefit from having a culture of ongoing learning that provides opportunities for all staff members to reach their full potential. This won’t just mean more success for the marketing team, but also will lead to happier and fulfilled individuals.    

Learning & development is not just for young people

When CIM asked their respondents when they last received formal training, only 7% of 16-24 year olds had received none the last two years, rising to 12% for 25-34 year olds and increasing again to 62% for those aged 55-64. 

It shows businesses are significantly more focused on developing the younger generation. But the dramatic change in the marketing landscape and in technology means it’s more important than ever for even the most experienced marketers to upskill. Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer at TSB Bank echoes this:

“Keeping fresh and relevant with your marketing knowledge and expertise is more important now than ever across all generations. Investing time and resources into ensuring both leaders and their teams are at the very top of their game in delivering marketing best practise is vital in the highly competitive and fast moving industries we find ourselves in. Marketing remains an exciting and varied career choice and we all need to play our part to shape the industry to be its very best during this time of unprecedented change.”

Digital technologies and tools have moved to the forefront, and ways of working are in a state of flux. The global pandemic certainly contributed to this but it’s accelerated a revolution that was already in place long before. 

Marketing continues to be a dynamic industry, and all marketers will at some point find themselves in a position where they need to learn new things to stay ahead. That’s why lifelong learning and continuous professional development should be a top priority for both businesses and individuals. It will also be key to rebuilding the economy and bridging skills gaps in the post-COVID workspace. 

Would you like to develop your skills in marketing?

Professional Academy offer a range of CIM marketing and digital marketing qualifications that include up-to-date content and practical tools to keep you at the top of your game. 

From entry level courses for marketing beginners to those more suited to marketing managers and directors, our CIM accredited qualifications cover a range of key marketing topics and are taught by a team of expert tutors. Get in touch with our advice team today or download a prospectus for more information!