The gap between the digital and non-digital media, brand and agency teams is widening, according to Digital Chameleon’s second Digital IQ Index.
Four major insights were discovered after analysing the data; digital knowledge still resides in specialist terms, the skills parity of brand, agency and media, a growing strength in owned media categories and older and emergent sectors require additional focus.
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"Digital Chameleon Releases 2014 Digital IQ Index™
Study reveals digital literacy still sits in specialist digital groups and the gap is widening between digital and non-digital teams
Sydney, 17 March, 2014: Digital Chameleon has today released their second Digital IQ Index™ – a data snapshot of 625 participants that has revealed a widening gap between digital “haves” and “have nots” amongst brand, agency and media teams – even as digital continues to emerge as the operative core for 21st century sales and marketing organisations.
Four major insights have been uncovered:
Digital Knowledge Still Resides in Specialist Teams
There is a significant gap of knowledge between general sales and marketing teams and digital specialists. Individuals who scored well were generally from digital teams, and that knowledge wasn’t distributed outside of those teams. Digital knowledge still resides in a very small percentage of media, brand and agency staff, at the same time that digital is becoming a central focus of marketing. As digital becomes more complex, there is a danger that the gap between the digital have’s and have-not’s will accelerate.
The Skills Parity of Brand, Agency and Media
There is virtually no daylight between brands, agencies and media in terms of skill levels. All three sectors are effectively unprepared to manage and execute digital marketing campaigns. If agencies are unable to provide more value in this area, brands will have no option but to develop internal expertise quickly to remain competitive, and will force a re-examination of the brand-agency-media relationship.
Growing Strength in Owned Media Categories
Significant portions of both brand and agency teams were found to have proficiency in both Social Media and Content Marketing (Media respondents were not assessed on either of these disciplines). This may represent an intersection of classic below-the-line marketing responsibilities, a generational familiarity with online content and community, and a drive to reduce costs. One concern is that this expertise tended to exhibit itself in a core part of the team and not as a general skill set (Specialists versus Generalists).
Older and Emergent Sectors Require Additional Focus
Despite arguably being the first widespread digital marketing skill set, proficiency in Online Advertising remains woefully low – almost 20 years after the first banner ad appeared! This lack of proficiency extends across all three sectors, including Media whose business model is most tightly associated with it. One reason for this lack of knowledge might be the continual reinvention of this discipline, with constant evolutions involving developments like programmatic buying and online video requiring skills updating. Not surprisingly, both brands and agencies are also failing to cover the skills gap in the newest digital discipline of Data & Analytics.
“For leaders who are prepared to fill their digital skills gaps and ease the pressure on their digital specialists by ensuring all team members have a working knowledge of digital, this will be a period of opportunity and growth. For those who aren’t, the next few years will become even more competitive, challenging, and potentially brand-ending,” said Patty Keegan, Managing Director of Digital Chameleon.
Digital Chameleon’s bespoke Digital IQ Index™ was first launched in November 2012 and focused on the results of 350 respondents working for agencies, media businesses and brands across Australia. The participants were queried about their own levels of confidence around a number of standard digital skills areas, ranging from display (online) advertising to social media. In addition they were surveyed as to their attitudes towards digital trends and learning modalities.
Whilst the first Index was based on self-reported confidence levels, the 2014 Index relies on actual responses to a standard skills assessment tool taken by 625 participants. Those respondents included 361 media (magazine and newspaper teams), 131 brand (products and services) and 133 agency (creative, media buying and full-service). Team sizes ranged from 20 -180 people.
The assessment is made up of 32 questions and is accessed online by learners in Digital Chameleon programs. These questions sought to capture familiarity with common concepts, processes and definitions used in basic digital marketing planning and execution. Four major digital marketing disciplines were reflected in the assessment, including Online Advertising, Social Media, Content Marketing and Data & Analytics. Eight questions relating to each of these four disciplines were asked of the participants.
Participants were grouped into one of four categories: Uninformed (unable to engage), Partially Informed (barely able to engage), Proficient (proficiency in basic concepts), and Highly Proficient (highly proficient around topic). Participants in the first two categories (Uninformed, Partially Informed) were found to be lacking sufficient knowledge to engage in digital marketing decision-making around that discipline. Those in the second two categories (Proficient and Highly Proficient) had the skills and knowledge to make effective decisions around that particular digital marketing discipline.
In summary, despite a growing shift of resources and budget to the development of digital marketing strategies, platforms and channels, the actual skill levels to effectively manage and execute digital marketing programs are absent outside of digital teams."