Although 80 per cent of Australia’s marketers believe digital marketing is important to the success of their organisations; 53 per cent report that they are concerned about a digital skills shortage in the industry in Australia.
This was the key finding in a study released today by the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), the global standard in digital marketing professional learning and certification.
The report, 20/20 Vision: A Marketing Leader’s View of Digital’s Future, shares insights from a survey of more than 200 executive and senior marketing professionals worldwide about critical challenges and opportunities for marketing teams and businesses in the lead up to 2020.A
All of the respondents from Australia reported their digital marketing budgets increased over the last two years, with 47 per cnet of those reporting a ‘significant’ increase; and 73 per cent expect their digital marketing budget to increase further by 2020.
In fact, digital now accounts for more than half (55 per cent) of overall marketing budgets in Australia. When asked why this is, respondents said it was down to the ability to more accurately measure the success of digital marketing (88 per cent), the ability to target specific audiences (88 per cent), the ability to reach more people than traditional marketing (87 per cent), and better return on investment (86 per cent).
Most effective channels and budget increases
The top three digital channels Australian marketing leaders identified as ‘Highly Effective’ in their current marketing strategies are display advertising (73 per cent), organic social media (71 per cent) and apps (71 per cent).
Following this was video (71 per cent), SEO (69 per cent), paid social advertising (67 per cent), online marketplace selling (e.g. Amazon) (67 per cent), mobile (60 per cent), voucher systems (62 per cent), email (60 per cent) and content marketing (40 per cent).
The digital channels flagged to receive the biggest budget increases by 2020 included video, mobile, display advertising, organic social media, Apps and online marketplace selling.
The emerging technologies identified by leading Australian marketers as becoming the most important by 2020 were artificial intelligence, social customer service and automation.
Challenges and skills gaps
Some 47 per cent of Australian respondents report struggling with the evolving digital landscape and voiced concerns about how their departments and businesses can keep up. Organisations fear losing out on revenue and market share to competitors who are further along in digital transformation and are creating a better user experience and customer journey through the use of digital technologies.
The channels for which Australian marketing leaders are currently experiencing the greatest skills gaps within their organisations and thus enlisting help from external digital specialist agencies (either fully managing or supporting in-house managers) are marketplace selling (e.g. Amazon) (73 per cent) and SEO (69 per cent), and organic social media (57 per cent).
The areas where they anticipated the greatest challenges by 2020 will be be keeping up with the pace of technological change (54 per cent); creating engaging digital content to contend with increasing noise from other brands (49 per cent); and recruiting the right talent (53 per cent).
They revealed that as digital technologies continue to evolve, the knowledge and capabilities of employees lags behind, leaving many organisations playing catch up. To address this skill shortage, 83% of respondents in Australia indicated that their organisation needs to invest more in staff training and development to upskill and reskill their marketing teams to remain competitive. This training needs to address not only gaps in technical skills, but also business skills including strategy and planning, analytics, research and leadership.
“As digital technologies rapidly transform business, marketers are recognising the need to invest more resources in training and closing skills gaps. There is an urgency to cultivate a talent pool that possesses the skills necessary to help their organisations remain competitive and relevant in the digital economy,” said Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute. “To be successful in 2020 and beyond, a culture that promotes professional development, upskilling, and reskilling is going to be just as important in digitisation as emerging technologies, effective strategies and increased budgets.”
When it comes to training, marketing leaders revealed that their organisations are primarily outsourcing training for all skills, both strategic and technical. There is not a single instance for any skill where training is delivered primarily in-house.
“It is imperative that we invest in and take action on hiring talent that will keep pace with technological change,” said Ty Heath, LinkedIn global lead for market education and member of the DMI Global Industry Advisory Council (GIAC). “The incoming wave of marketers aren’t fully prepared to find footing in the shifting digital landscape that now exists. We need to move thoughtfully and quickly to meet the transformation in marketing and sales.”