Right now, there’s a skills gap in your business.

Don’t just take my word for it: this reality was reported by leading marketing platform Smart Insights, who found that around 9 out of 10 marketers feel they are underskilled.

Why so high? Well, while fundamental marketing principles have remained the same, the tools in the digital marketer’s repertoire are constantly evolving. And while the solution may seem obvious – train existing staff and hire skilled professionals – it can be difficult to identify which technical skills are most essential for a modern digital marketer to possess.

If you want to turn your skills gap into an opportunity to supercharge your digital marketing, here are 5 essential skills you’ll need to develop in your team.

1. Effectively utilising analytics platforms

If knowledge equals power, then customer insights surely equal profit. The good news is that there is an endless supply of analytics platforms ready to give you data on your customers – from Google Analytics to Facebook Insights and everything in between. But in order to transform this wealth of data into meaningful customer insights that bolster ROI, digital marketing staff need to be comfortable analysing data, recognising patterns and trends, and finding opportunities for optimisation. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to justify spend, defend budget, and to support successful pitches for further investment.

So, if your marketing team is comfortable crunching numbers, hold on to them! They’re an incredible asset to your organisation, and a precious commodity within the industry.

2. Mastering technical SEO

We all know that search engine optimisation (SEO) involves driving website traffic. A good digital marketer will know their way around on-page SEO. This involves undertaking keyword research to identify relevant terms that your target customers are searching for, and then creating great content around them, and embedding these keywords and phrases in suitable locations on appropriate webpages within your site.

But how many marketers are truly confident in the more technical aspects of SEO? In today’s competitive online landscape, digital marketers need to have a solid grasp of how websites work and how search engines understand them. Without this knowledge in the team you risk overlooking and misdiagnosing performance issues, negatively impacting your SEO.

Webinar: Digital Marketing in a post-Covid world

3. Understanding the back-end of websites

The vast majority of modern websites are “dynamic” – meaning they’re highly interactive, and are generated using special code known as “scripting languages”. Many digital marketers are proficient in using content management systems (such as WordPress and Shopify) to build and maintain webpages, but how many understand the scripting languages and other technologies underlying these powerful tools?

Knowledge of the workings of web hosting providers and encryption protocols will give your digital marketing team increased awareness of prominent cyber threats (such as man-in-the-middle attacks and SQL injection), and how to safeguard against them in order to give your customers complete peace of mind. At the same time, an understanding of how cookies are used to craft dynamic webpages will enable marketers to craft highly personalised customer experiences that maximise the probability of conversions.

4. Reading code with confidence

Let’s be honest: if you want to create a new website from scratch, you’re probably going to outsource this to a web design agency. But if members of your marketing team can at least read and recognise the three major coding languages used on webpages (HTML, CSS and JavaScript), they’ll have far more meaningful conversations with developers as they speak the same lingo. Your marketing team knows what to ask for; developers know what to deliver.

But it doesn't stop there. Once a developer delivers your new website, small fixes will occasionally be needed. A marketer who's familiar with the prominent coding languages will quickly and confidently make those changes, without needing to bother the developer every 5 minutes.

5. Managing projects like a boss

If you’ve got a digital marketer on your staff who has all the skills above, you’re almost there. But to tie it all together, they’re going to need some project management skills. Sure, these will come in handy when managing campaigns; but they’ll also be needed for managing more complex projects such as website development (which often involves juggling complex tasks with multiple internal and external stakeholders).

The best digital marketers will understand your context, select linear or Agile methodologies to meet your organisation’s needs, manage objectives, encourage communication, and motivate their colleagues to work towards the creation of something truly special.

How can QA help your organisation?

All sounds pretty intense, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be. QA’s Digital Marketing level 3 apprenticeship includes a dedicated Web Technologies module to enable accelerated and proficient skills development. All this is delivered through a leading-edge, innovative approach: combining online learning, practical exercises, video content, coaching and workshops.

Register for our digital marketing webinar

Join our webinar where we will be reviewing the challenges facing marketing leaders in the wake of Covid and considering the vital digital marketing skills your organisation needs to adopt to grow sustainably and succeed in driving and delivering your marketing plans.

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