Digital marketing spend is expected to keep pace—and even exceed—traditional marketing spend in the coming years. As a matter of fact, a 2014 Gartner survey found that two-thirds of companies are funding digital marketing via reinvestment of existing marketing budgets. Supporting research from Mondo states that investment in digital marketing will increase as 80 percent of companies plan to boost their digital marketing budgets (for the majority, by between 5 percent and 15 percent) during the next 12 to 18 months.
For those familiar with all the ins and outs of digital marketing, you know that the method includes online advertising, content creation, website design, video, search, analytics, social, mobile, email and digital commerce. This list of various tactics requires very specific skill sets—and people that have them are in high demand.
The challenge for marketing organizations, therefore, is finding the talent to fulfill the promise of digital marketing. The scarcity of applicants who are experts in digital marketing allows people to hop around to find the best jobs, according to Mondo’s Laura McGarrity, VP of digital marketing. “It is a candidate’s market,” she emphasized, with the average tenure for digital marketing professionals being 12 to 18 months (in comparison, the average CMO tenure is 45 months).
Mondo found that digital/social marketing is the top skill set—at 54 percent—that marketing companies are hiring for this year, followed by content creation (44 percent), big data/analytics (33 percent) and mobile strategy (30 percent). More traditional marketing skills rank lower on the list, e.g., 22 percent for product/brand expertise.
One way for companies to overcome the deficit in talent, as cited by Mondo, is to engage a more flexible workforce—defined as a combination of permanent and freelance or contract marketers.
While this would represent a break from traditional marketing hiring practices, it is a shift that is being embraced by more and more companies faced by the talent shortage. The Mondo study found that, in the next 12 to 18 months, the percentage of companies with all permanent workers will decrease from 42 percent today to 23 percent. Further validating this change in employee acquisition, the study showed that today’s mere 1 percent of companies with a 50/50 split of permanent and contract workers is expected to grow to 30 percent in the next 12 to 18 months.
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