- B2B marketing has changed dramatically due to technology shifts, the popularity of data and analytics, and empowered buyers
- The gap between what marketers used to do and what they must do now is getting wider
- Many skills fall into the categories of messaging, content strategy, technology and analytics
There is a lot of buzz about the growing marketing skills gap. B2B marketing has changed dramatically in recent years due to technology shifts, the explosive popularity of data and analytics, and the rise of the empowered buyer. The gap between what marketers used to do and what they must do now – not to mention what they will be expected to do in the future – is getting wider.
No one is disputing the existence of this skills gap. But from a practical perspective, what does it really entail? What are the actual competencies that organizations are looking for marketing to have? What are the specific skills that are critical for success?
To answer these questions, SiriusDecisions has been interviewing clients to shine a light on the specific competencies that make up the current skills gap. What we’ve found to date has been interesting – and remarkably consistent across different organizations:
- Messaging. There is a strong desire for marketers who are adept at storytelling, especially in an increasingly multi-channel marketing environment. Organizations want marketers who can reach an audience, speak directly to buyers and customers (instead of just talking about the organization’s products and solutions) and forge a connection to an organization’s brand. A closely related requirement is social media skills.
- Content strategy. Organizations want to leverage messaging efforts by creating effective content strategies. They want marketers who understand both the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle and can recognize the knowledge inflection points that lead to progression along either path. They seek marketers who can map, audit, develop and repurpose content to address specific buyer and customer needs.
- Technology. Technology expertise is another in-demand skills area. Organizations are not just looking for marketers who know how to use popular applications such as marketing automation platforms or content management systems; they are seeking marketers who can identify and apply technology best practices for program execution. Even better are marketers who can leverage technology as a strategic advantage to enhance the buyer and customer experience.
- Analytics. Not surprisingly, analytics skills are at the top of most organizations’ wish lists. What is interesting is that there is not just a hunger for data scientists or people skilled in using analytics applications and testing methodologies. Organizations are also seeking marketers who can ask relevant business questions, interpret data and recognize patterns. Marketers who can apply insights to drive better decisionmaking and integrated planning are in high demand.
- Media buying. Rounding out the wish list are skills in the selection, deal negotiation and purchase of media, especially for digital properties. Organizations want marketers with the ability to effectively target buyer watering holes, support integrated program efforts and leverage new media options.