Almost every profession and industry has a talent gap. This is because technology has transformed the skills needed to stay competitive in a constantly changing market. Marketing hasn’t been immune to the changes technology has brought to the profession. There are at least 10 top skills digital marketers need to succeed.

Fill Your Talent Gap

Also see: Why Marketers Should Know How to Code

Understanding Why the Gap Exists

According to Adweek a survey of fortune 500 and agency executives found that only 8% say their talent is strong in all areas of digital marketing and in 2014 the same report stated 67% of marketers are looking for people with 3 – 5 years of experience.

top skills

The gap exists because technology is constantly changing the way business operates. Taking a look back at what marketing was 10 years ago compared to today, there’s a big difference due to digital components. Thousands of tools exist proclaiming to make the job easier. It’s not reasonable to have an understanding of every product but it is to have a general idea of the product categories and which can fulfill the needs of your organization.

Closing the Gap

One way to close the talent gap is to work with a trusted outside vendor. The vendor will stand in the place of the knowledge gap. If you need something more long term make sure the vendor is enabling your current team with the know-how. Often times vendors know people who they’re willing to recommend for various areas of marketing to help fill in gaps with permanent talent.

Top 10 Skills Digital Marketers Need

1. Willingness to learn: Yes, it sounds cliché but it’s true. The idea a marketer knows every facet of digital marketing inside and out is unrealistic. They’ll most likely have a specialty and a well-rounded knowledge of all other marketing facets. Be willing to provide necessary training opportunities or include someone on your team who fills the gaps which creates an environment where people learn from each other.

2. Ability to evolve in new environments: Marketers have to keep up with the changing course of their field and understand their organization as how it relates to marketing. Not every tool or trend is one every marketer should jump on depending on your customer base weather you’re B2B, B2C, services, product, ect. Any effort put into marketing needs to keep the end customer in mind.

3. Technically savvy: This doesn’t mean being a great digital marketer requires you to know any and everything about technology but it does mean understanding the basics. Having a working knowledge and understanding of HTML, CSS, and even programming is extremely useful when building emails, but beyond that it aids in the understanding of web development.

4. Rounded experience: Thirty percent of marketers have trouble distinguishing candidates with the right skills. If you’re thinking ‘what do I do if I don’t have that kind of experience,’ no need to worry you’re still valuable. There are a number of ways to prove you have related experience without necessarily having worked for a traditional employer. Any projects, pro bono work, and even personal accomplishments related to the field can gain notice – prove how they’ll be beneficial to employers.

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5. Writing skills: Like it or not content is still very relevant to digital marketing. Some form of copy is on most, if not all, marketing materials. Great marketing writing requires copy editing skills, the ability to create relevancy to consumers, and staying in touch with current topics.

6. Creative eye: You may not be able to create the most beautiful piece of work in Adobe Creative Suite but you should know how to edit work and have a basic understanding of what meets acceptable standards for font, and web and print layout.

7. Critical/ strategic thinking: Perhaps another cliché, but a truly important skill, is the ability to think strategically. Implementation is great but without the forethought that goes into the implementation it falls a part. Issues will arise that may not have a simple fix, which is when marketers have to think through all the possible solutions and their consequences.

8. Consistently test: If the classic sales motto is “Always Be Closing” then it’s “Always Be Consistently Testing” for marketing – not perfect but you get the gist. There will be campaigns run and ideas turned into reality, that don’t have the desired expected impact. Understand that this is part of skill number one. The more you learn the more the strategy will evolve based on information you’ll start gathering.

9. Become an expert: Again, back to skill number one. Although it’s great to be a well-rounded marketer at some point you may find one aspect of marketing that you enjoy the most or you’ve become an expert at. Hone in on that and use it to your advantage and think about how your knowledge in that area can translate to others.

10. Passionate: No it’s not a skill, but a trait all marketers should have. Employers want passionate employees – people who care about the brand and the work they do for it. If you’re not passionate about the work you do it shows. Marketers need to care about their brand- they carry the identity of it in their hands and if they don’t care it reflects poorly not only on all the organizations marketing efforts but the organization as a whole.

Also see: Choosing a Technology Partner: How to Not Get Bamboozled and Find the Right Fit

If you’re looking to fill your digital marketing or marketing technology talent gap please click the button below to download a free course of Arke University. It’s a complete training program that covers the major technologies for both marketing and technologists alike with the option to complete the courses online or in-person through live, instructor-led training.

Fill Your Talent Gap

Kayla Merritt is the Digital Marketing Assistant for Arke Systems and loves all things marketing! She is a recent graduate from Georgia College & State University where she received her bachelor's degree in marketing and minor in psychology.