Great digital marketing emerges from the crossover between different skillsets

Jane Cave, Managing Director of the IDM gives her views on how marketing teams are changing in 2017.

The complexity of digital marketing requires specialists from a wide range of disciplines to work in a seamlessly integrated team of channel specialists and marketing generalists.

The new Marketing Team Structures report published by TFM, Pure360 and the IDM  indicates that the need to digital marketing specialists is deepening.

This is a fact which is reflected in the broadening range of IDM courses, it also suggests that those responsible for the management of marketing teams need to have a correspondingly expansive knowledge of all marketing channels and activities.

The report indicates that over 81% of respondents have already moved beyond the much-discussed silo and that digital is now fully embedded into a marketing process that regards marketing strategy and planning skills as the most important core competency.

Interestingly, this applies equally to organisations of all sizes. It is significant that the report shows the growing dependency on combining inhouse and outsourced skills to achieve marketing objectives.

Some 16% of the professional marketing workforce is already part of the so-called ‘gig economy’ and many outsiders poses the much in-demand specialist Content and Creative, SEO and PPC skills that don’t yet exist in-house.

The report also highlights the changing relationship between marketing and IT that will perhaps herald the most significant developments in digital marketing and skills going forward. It seems to me that great digital marketing often emerges from the crossover points between different skillsets.

The merger of marketer insights and technologist skills will provide significant advantages to any business.

In a market fraught with strategic challenges and tactical difficulties that every marketer must find a way of working through, this report will enable you to benchmark your progress in the road to building a high-performance marketing team. Download the full report here

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



How technology and customer-focus is changing marketing teams

Marketing teams have changed dramatically in recent years, and this evolution is predicted to continue at a significant rate.

In business, change is inevitable and necessary, but historically slow and costly. The astonishing rate at which technology is changing the way we interact with customers is now putting pressure on businesses to evolve at a much faster rate than ever before. It is evident that the two key catalysts in recent years that have necessitated the transformation of the traditional marketing department are both intrinsically linked to technology.
The first is the meteoric rise of the internet; there is no doubt that it has revolutionised the way we do business. As websites evolved to become major profit centres, and the main source of leads for businesses, the part that marketers played in the management of content and user experience grew.

These changes also meant that CMOs needed a strong grasp over all things tech – digital was becoming a fundamental part of any marketing strategy. In turn, marketers started to claw back control from the IT team.
The second catalyst is the Age of the Customer. The demand for personal, contextual interaction with brands, on whichever device or channel the customer wants to use, means that generic, one-size-fits-all marketing is simply unacceptable.


Marketing is becoming a specialism

In the quest to make customer experience relevant across every touchpoint, the respective area of marketing has
become a speciality. Marketers can no longer be a jack-of-all- trades; they need to be the master of one.

This in itself can be problematic. As the needs of the customer and the business changes, and new roles are added to the marketing team to support the transition, silos can unwittingly be created.

Putting the customer first means creating, and maintaining, a seamless experience across all channels. A fully integrated team is the only way to achieve this, and we can see from the report that more companies are making the move to merge their on- and off-line teams.

Now, in modern businesses, the CMO is the one responsible for facilitating growth and sales, and marketing forms the largest part of the strategy to deliver this. The old perceptions are changing as the tangible impact that marketing has on results is proven across businesses

The key focus of the modern marketing team is revenue generation. They must know the customer inside and out, and be able to react quickly to changing circumstances.

This has led to one of the biggest transformations to today’s marketing teams – the inclusion of data management, analysis and storytelling.

Having access to big data is essential – that’s a given. The challenge for marketers lies with determining what to do with it all. Successful organisations are investing in people who can not only analyse and dissect the data, but who can also present it in forms that their marketers can swiftly act upon. The Marketing Team Structures report corroborates this by showing that these disciplines represent high levels of growth in importance for larger organisations.

I hope you enjoy reading the report and find the results as thought-provoking as I did.

Please get in touch with any feedback that you wish to share – I would be really interested to hear your views.

Download the full report here

The Marketing Team Structures Report 2017 [Download]

The Marketing Team Structures Report 2017 [Download]

Find out how to build high-performance marketing teams and why 2017 is the year of specialisms and restructures.

This report, written in partnership with the IDM and Pure360, explores the pressures that marketing teams are under to cope with fast-changing marketing landscape.

Download the Marketing Team Structures Report to learn:

  • The marketing skills matrix
  • Which skills are most important in 2017
  • Why teams are moving to specialisms
  • Who owns marketing technology
  • What are the biggest challenges facing marketing leaders
  • + plenty more

This report has been written in partnership with Pure360 and the IDM. Download the free report by filling out the form.

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