Why 2017 is the year marketing teams will specialise and restructure

New research from Technology for Marketing, Pure360 and the IDM reveals how marketers are resourcing and restructuring to cope with the technology-driven challenges of the year ahead.

Key insights from the report include:

  • 2017 is the year that marketing specialises.  1/3rd of of marketing teams expect to become more specialist in 2017, with just 3% becoming more generalist in their expertise.
  • Martech operates in a matrix. Just over one in ten (12%) of marketers said they exclusively ‘own’ the marketing technology they increasingly rely on, instead having to rely on partnerships with IT and external technology teams to get results.
  • Marketing strategy, content production and customer insight are considered to be the most important skills for modern marketing teams. The report reveals a diverse range of skills which are important to marketing in 2017, how importance varies between B2C, B2B and Not for Profits, and which can be outsourced to agencies, consultants or freelancers.

The full report is available to download for free.

The Marketing skills matrix

Ranked by feedback from marketers, this matrix compares the importance of various skills to marketing, to how likely they are to sit within the marketing team itself.

It is structured to help you think about which core skills are needed in your team (top right quadrant) and which skills could be more easily outsourced to other internal teams or external consultants, agencies or freelancers.


What are the top skills for B2C vs B2B vs Not for Profits?

The importance of skills varies significantly from market to market. This table ranks the importance of marketing skills in each area:

The year of marketing specialisms

It is clear that no one person can master all the skills that marketing requires in 2017.

The survey showed that 33% of respondents expect their teams to become more specialised in 2017, compared to just 3% who are moving the other way to more generalist roles.

To allow teams to develop capabilities across such a diverse range of competencies, there is a clear trend towards moving towards becoming more specialists, and away from all-purpose ‘Jack of all trades’ marketing managers – at least for marketing teams made up by more than one or two individuals who multi-task by necessity.





Finding and retaining talent is a challenge

Building a team that is capable of keeping up with these new technologies and channels is proving to be a major task for organisations of all sizes who are struggling to recruit and nurture talent.

“Securing technically skilled people with the right work ethic at an affordable rate’ was something we heard repeatedly from respondents.”

“Recruitment is harder when looking for a very wide range of skills. We need people with both technical skills and commercial experience.”

To help with this, there is a move towards using agencies, consultants and freelancers, as these trusted third-parties will play a critical role as they allow teams to fill gaps in their portfolio of capabilities. Whether it is technical functions, programmatic advertising search engine marketing or content production, agencies can provide useful expertise as and when required.

However, respondents warned that an over-reliance on agencies can be a risk, as it can lead to different teams working in silos.


Martech in a matrix

Despite marketing technology being a key driver of change, only 12% of respondents said that marketing was the sole owner of the technology they use.

In all other cases, marketing teams collaborate with different arms of the business, be they digital, product development or IT.

In particular there is significant overlap between marketing and IT. To make the most of marketing technology, finding ways to work more closely with IT teams to a shared roadmap is key.

The need to improve the handling of data is a key theme in this GDPR year. “We gather a lot of data and information but rarely have time to thoroughly analyse and use it strategically. Or rather to use this data to generate even more effective campaigns,” one respondent said, while others complained that they were struggling to develop a “data driven culture’ within the organisation with ‘so many metrics, so little for analysis”.

For the full results, make sure you download the Marketing Team Structures Report 2017



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Luke Bilton

Luke Bilton

Director, Digital & Content, UBM

Luke Bilton is Director of Digital and Content at UBM EMEA, one of the world’s largest event organisers, where he is responsible for live and online content and digital products.
Luke has worked in publishers such as Future Publishing, IPC and the Chelsea Magazine Company where he has launched magazines, websites and events.
Luke is a member of the IDM Qualifications Advisory Board, advising on business-to-business digital marketing.

Connect with him on Linkedin or Twitter

April 6, 2017

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