Known for having ex-marketing professionals as consultants, Stopgap consultants like to make sure their marketing knowledge is as up to date as possible. With this in mind, two of our consultants went to this year’s B2B Marketing Expo at Excel last week to upskill, where possible, and familiarise themselves with what’s currently top of mind in the marketing world.
Sarah Windsor and Jackie Pinfold found a heaving exhibition space, populated largely with mar tech providers, inc. quite a few clients it was nice to say hello to. They clearly weren’t all at Excel but the show did reflect what’s out there in the market: there are some 6,000 mar tech vendors, across over 50 categories. Daunting.
The programme of speakers at the Expo and opportunities to learn was impressive. Slightly disappointingly, seminars and talks were ‘first come first served’ so, even after queuing, they couldn’t get in to some, however, there was a wealth of choice so they did manage to sit in on some valuable, insightful material.
Particularly worthy of note was the IDM’s Ian Bond talking about the skills challenge for marketers and therefore for businesses. Over half of employers say there is a widening digital talent gap and only last week the ONS published figures saying that 40% of marketing jobs are at risk due to automation. Quoting from a report by Capgemini from 2017, in the UK, the digital skills gap is at 57% and because of the pace of technological development and digital disruption, digital skills are constantly becoming redundant, which means that there are significant training gaps for marketers.
A bugbear of many employers, training is on everyone’s agenda but there is always the concern that a newly trained employee will take their new skills to a new employer. The figures say, however, that only 1 in 5 actually do - plus it engenders such loyalty to be invested in. Coming back to digital skills, 38% of respondents to the Capgemini survey think that some key skills being deployed today will be redundant in 4 to 5 years. Keeping up with technological change is an enormous task so the need for continuous training is just that...continuous.
Ian Bond’s assertion came as no surprise to the Stopgappers as it’s a message they hear all the time from clients and candidates alike – marketers are having to be increasingly data savvy and think more like data analysts to be successful. From the business point of view, though, analysts are having to think more like marketers, thinking and acting both logically and creatively. The Expo featured faster and different ways to work, from mobile integration search to chat bots and new avenues for revenue, AI machine learning , blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, IoT and the interconnectivity of devices, all of which opens up worlds of opportunity and facilitates stand out but puts a terrific responsibility on marketers. Clients tell us they are developing interactive touchscreen maps and VR tours, candidates are called upon to know how to access all of this technology. Keep up to date and use it, not an easy task.
More than ever, marketing professionals are being called upon to be philosophers, behaviour analysts and now technology experts, as well as marketers!
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