Expertise in digital marketing may make or break your career today. As for tomorrow however, unless you’re looking to become an avocado farmer, being analogue in a digital world could well prove to not be your smartest career move.
The signs are already clear. What’s the biggest marketing talent shortage today? Senior executives with digital experience.
And it’s going to get worse.
According to the Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey:
More than half of businesses surveyed anticipated hiring more digital specialists over the coming 12 months. Currently, 30% of the digital talent in Australia are, in fact, expats.
In other words, we’re not growing enough local digital talent to keep up with demand.
Attention marketers looking to advance your career: the same survey saw an increased demand for some very specific digital marketing skills: programmatic advertising, performance media and marketing, social media and content, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and data analytics.
Digital marketing experience and expertise can help to propel your career forward in ways other than just looking good on your resume. The ability to understand and leverage digital platforms and strategies will help you to justify budgets, quantify customer engagement, improve business processes and boost profits/ROI. Compelling skills for most potential employers.
So, what’s behind this seismic change?
Digital is an essential component of marketing.
According to recruitment company Hays Sales & Marketing, the way digital marketing is evolving is set to keep growing, and employers are set to take notice and prepare for its growth.
Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Sales & Marketing said “As the business landscape shifts, marketers must evolve with the times to fully connect with their customers and drive business growth.”
“As marketing becomes more technology-based, harnessing and mastering ‘big data’ will be key to achieving competitive advantage. If companies are to remain market front-runners, they need to integrate their digital and social marketing channels into one customer journey. To do this, they require candidates with integrated offline and online channel experience.”
So, you need digital and online channel marketing experience. The downside is that marketing education in Australia tends to be very broad and is still in the process of evolving to meet these digital demands.
Formal education isn’t necessarily the answer, however. Consider further developing your skills in the digital realm through industry conferences, online workshops or through mentorship with another professional who may have more senior experience.
The other option of course is to do what several of our clients have done which is to volunteer to be the ‘digital contact’ within their organisation. There’s no better way to get digital experience than by jumping in at the deep-end; particularly when none of your peers are willing to move out of their own comfort zones.
The bottom line: digital skills aren’t just important for your employer, they’re important for you too. A background in digital marketing will prepare you to connect digital campaign efforts with business revenue and growth, making you an essential member of your team.
To keep up, the business world is looking for talent abroad.
Over the past few years, the education sector in Australian has looked overseas for cues on how to further educate their marketing students. There are reports of institutions looking to the UK for marketing direction.
The good news is that we Australians have a good track record for quickly adapting to new market trends. Australia has one of the highest social media and internet penetrations in the world, but we haven’t been fast to adopt this trend in business—yet.
For a current or future marketing leader looking to shape his or her career, it will be key to build your digital marketing business case from overseas trends and case study success modelling. The research suggests that once you do, you’ll find the support you need:
According to Ethos BeathChapman, compared to other countries across the region, Australian marketers reported stronger support for digital marketing from company leadership. In Australia, 44% of senior managers provided very strong support, which compares to just 29% a year ago.
As leadership becomes more open to adopting digital strategies and programs, a key part of your job is to build the business case for your organisation to implement them, as well as to invest in your education in the digital marketing arena.
The business case for digital is sound; as long as it’s integrated with traditional marketing.
The good news is that integrating digital with traditional marketing means that you don’t need to learn your job all over again; you’re simply adding to your existing skill sets.
According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on digital marketing, most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from digital data. 82% of marketers state that career skills have changed, with 37% indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available to them.
With data, you can move mountains. You can attribute revenue to certain streams, refine your audience targeting, and reach potential buyers in real-time. Adding an analytical mindset to your arsenal of marketing skills is the most important thing you can do to move your career forward, and ensure the success of digital marketing in your organisation.
Digital marketing will (not) go away if you ignore it
Even now, on the verge of 2017 – some 22 years after the notional start of the commercialised internet – many companies and the people who run them are pretending that the world hasn’t changed.
The problem, of course is that it has. And if you don’t embrace the now not so new digital changes, your career may prove to be very ‘interesting’ in the future.
Having said that, prove me wrong! Perhaps being a digital luddite may just work for you and your career. Just like it worked for the marketers who said that new fangled radio, television and, heck, even computers wouldn’t catch on.
You never know though, you may turn out to be the smart one and prove all of us digital zealots wrong. If not, well, get out the shovel, pull on your boots and start planting those avocado seeds!