Digital Strategy

For marketers, developing your personal digital marketing skills is now crucial to staying relevant in your career.

For employers too, “digital talent development” is vital to ensuring your team have the skills to ensure your marketing activities remain competitive. The range of digital marketing techniques needed to engage audiences across the customer lifecycle shown in this visual highlights not only the opportunities, but the complexity of marketing today.

Since the mid-1990s, I have enjoyed following the latest changes in digital marketing, since I can trial new techniques and determine what to recommend in my books, training and consulting. Today, I still enjoy being a kind of “digital detective”, working out the most relevant tools and techniques.

I’m looking forward to speaking at the upcoming Nottingham Digital Summit where I will review the types of skills that employers are looking for, and what marketers need to develop in order to stay relevant.

What Will Drive Future Digital Skills?

Developing digital marketing skills is challenging since specific skills change rapidly as new technologies emerge and we have to assess the relevance of them. For example, in the future, artificial intelligence has great potential applications for marketing, but marketers need to work out the relevant skills for their careers so that they can attract employers.

There is also the challenge of the main digital platforms controlled by FAMGA (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon). As these introduce updates to their operating systems and ad platforms, we have to continually assess their relevance, deciding which are worth investing time in to learn. For example, at the recent Google I/O 2018 Developer’s conference, Google reaffirmed its aim of becoming the world’s biggest artificial intelligence (AI) company, and its annual developer conference has proved this. In its software plans for the next year, almost every aspect included AI, and new technologies like Duplex were interested. So, if AI is this important to Google, it raises big questions of which skills will be important to you to help businesses harness AI.

In my talk at the summit, I’ll give specific suggestions of AI skills that relate to inbound marketing, but at a top level I recommend these four areas of focus:

  1. Focus on the in-demand transferrable skills. The complexity of modern marketing demands good project management and data analysis skills. Developing a strategic integrated communications planning approach is rated extremely important in research on digital skills development.
  2. Understand success-factors for channel optimisation. In the talk, I will cover around 20 key skills needed for inbound marketing and traditional marketing channels. Research shows the demand for marketers who have sufficient knowledge of channels to work with, and challenge in-house specialists and agencies when reviewing performance and optimisation.
  3. Improve data analysis and optimisation skills and a knowledge of AI. The research shows the importance of customer insights, data analysis and reporting to career progression.
  4. Develop your integrated lifecycle communications skills. Digital marketing techniques like those shown at the start of this article need to be deployed both within campaigns, but also to support continuous ‘always-on’ customer lifecycle activities for customer acquisition and conversion.

Despite a natural focus on technology and techniques, marketers will still need the creativity of marketers to wow and engage their audiences, so the future marketer will essentially need to be part artist and part scientist.

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