Modern marketers are racing to upskill

Marketers are currently experiencing a transformative shift in their professional roles, primarily driven by advancements in AI.

A recent study by the Digital Marketing Institute indicates that 58% of marketers acknowledge that their roles are changing due to the integration of AI technologies. 44% of these marketing professionals are actively using advanced AI tools.

Future skill demands in marketing

Looking ahead to 2024, the demand for specific marketing skills is rapidly evolving. Data indicates a shift towards competencies in AI, which includes both the understanding and application of AI tools in marketing strategies.

Alongside AI, there is a growing emphasis on traditional and evergreen skills such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO), and content creation. These skills provide a blend of technical proficiency and creative acumen, necessary for driving successful marketing outcomes in a digitally dominated marketplace.

Benefits of AI in marketing

The perception of AI within the marketing community is overwhelmingly positive, with 85% of marketers convinced that AI will positively impact their work. The integration of AI in marketing operations is credited with several key improvements:

  • Automating routine tasks: 68% of marketers highlight the automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks as a major benefit of AI, which frees up time for more strategic activities.
  • Improving customer experience: 46% of marketers recognize that AI contributes to improving the customer experience. AI-driven analytics and customer interaction tools allow for more personalized and responsive engagement strategies.
  • Increasing targeting and personalization accuracy: 45% of marketers point to improved targeting and personalization as critical advantages of AI. These technologies enable more precise segmentation and tailored marketing messages, increasing the effectiveness of campaigns.
  • Enabling predictive analytics: 39% appreciate AI’s role in predictive analytics, which forecasts future trends and customer behaviors, allowing marketers to make proactive decisions.

These benefits highlight the growing impact of AI on the marketing sector, influencing everything from operational efficiency to strategic decision-making. As AI continues to evolve, the scope for its application within marketing is expected to broaden, further boosting the effectiveness and precision of marketing efforts.

Corporate strategies and challenges in addressing skill gaps

Identifying of skill gaps in organizations

Companies have identified large skill gaps that limit their competitiveness and growth – particularly in the hyper-competitive digital space.

49% of businesses identify the development of an AI strategy as their most prominent skills gap – highlighting a growing recognition of AI’s potential to transform business operations and the need for strategic frameworks that leverage AI effectively.

Close behind, 45% of companies report substantial gaps in digital and social skills, along with data analytics.

These areas are key as they directly impact a company’s ability to engage with digitally savvy consumers and make data-driven decisions. Addressing these gaps is a must for staying relevant and competitive in a market that increasingly relies on sophisticated technological capabilities.

Corporate plans to combat skill shortages

Despite recognizing these skill gaps, companies actively plan to mitigate them. Currently, 74% of companies have formulated plans to address their identified skills shortages, pointing to the need for a proactive approach to organizational development.

That being said, executing these plans doesn’t come without challenges. 26% of companies face obstacles related to budget limitations and time constraints, which can stall the progress of implementing effective training programs and hiring skilled professionals.

These challenges have reinforced the need for strategic resource allocation and efficient management practices to make sure that skill development initiatives do not falter under financial and operational pressures.

Upskilling vs. hiring: Corporate preferences and benefits

When it comes to bridging these skills gaps, there is a clear preference among decision-makers. A majority, 55%, favor upskilling existing employees rather than hiring new staff (24%) or outsourcing (15%).

This strategic choice is aimed at investing in the company’s current workforce, improving their skills to meet new challenges rather than seeking external solutions.

Benefits are obvious, with 45% of corporates observing improved performance and productivity as a result of upskilling initiatives. To add to this, 43% report higher employee satisfaction and retention, which are key metrics of a healthy organizational culture.

Upskilling addresses immediate skills shortages and fosters a more engaged and capable workforce, prepared to adapt to future changes and challenges in the business environment.

The rising importance of industry certifications over traditional degrees

In the current marketing space, companies are increasingly prioritizing professional certifications over traditional university degrees when it comes to hiring or promoting staff.

  • A majority – 91% – of businesses now look for professional or industry certifications as a key hiring criterion. There’s a growing preference for skills that are immediately applicable and validated through certifications.
  • Around 70% of employers show a preference for exam-based certifications from recognized training providers as opposed to free certificates that might not require rigorous assessment.

These point to a broader trend in the professional world: an emphasis on practical, demonstrable skills that can be directly applied to real-world business challenges, rather than theoretical knowledge often associated with academic degrees.

The impact of certifications on employment opportunities

The value of industry-specific certifications continues to rise, with 75% of employers acknowledging that a certification from a reputable institute like the Digital Marketing Institute raises a candidate’s prospects of being hired.

Employers place trust and recognition on certifications as indicators of a candidate’s proficiency and readiness to contribute effectively from day one.

Certifications often include up-to-date industry knowledge and practical skills that are key in a fast-evolving field like digital marketing, making certified professionals highly attractive to potential employers.

Views from the CEO of Digital Marketing Institute

Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute, shared his vision of how AI, data analytics, and automation are fundamentally reshaping the marketing profession. These technologies are steering the field towards more technical and data-driven methodologies.

Fitzpatrick’s insights align with a broader industry acknowledgment that marketing professionals must develop technical skills alongside their traditional marketing acumen to thrive in an increasingly complex environment.

Integrating these technologies allows marketers to execute more sophisticated and targeted campaigns, leverage large datasets for insights, and automate mundane tasks to focus on strategic initiatives.

Tim Boesen

June 6, 2024

5 Min