Digital Trends vs Talent Gaps

It’s no secret that 2018 has been labelled the ‘digital era’ – and rightly so. Whereas 10 years ago digital marketing was considered a more fanciful luxury, today it stands tall as the necessity for long-term business growth and the central cog, fast driving the future of marketing. 

Progressing through 2018, the digital marketing landscape continues to change at such a rate that businesses are witnessing a dramatic rise in new digital trends and strategies that they can no longer afford to ignore. However, the UK seems to be finding itself in the middle of a battle of trends vs. talent gaps, where a severe digital skills gap continues to threaten businesses’ ability to succeed in their long term marketing efforts.

The Solution?

Digital marketing apprenticeships are a way to develop fundamental skills required by marketers in 2018, whether this is upskilling existing staff or growing your own talent.  Our free guide explains how apprenticeships can develop the key skills needed for businesses to keep pace with evolving trends and strategies in 2018.

So what are some of these new digital marketing trends?

2018 has seen both the evolution of new trends and the growth of trends that were simply seedlings as little as a year ago:

1. Chatbots

Chatbots are a great example of how digital advancements are shaping marketing automation within businesses. Living in an ‘information now,’ era, this technological evolution delivers customer information quickly, accurately and in a way that feels personal.

2. Video

How many of us have been inspired to investigate a product or service based on a video we have watched online? The reality is over 64%¹. Video content remains king, with YouTube viewers watching a billion hours of video and Facebook users consuming over 8 billion videos each day². Marketers today need to know the basics of how to create engaging videos.

3. Story-telling

Social media stories have increasingly grown in popularity - beginning as a personal trend, with businesses quickly following suit. This year, stories have become a social media staple and a digital trend that marketers cannot ignore. With users posting 250 million stories worldwide on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram³, it is important that businesses now start to think about how they can make theirs deliver value.

4. Artificial intelligence

Marketers are using AI software to better analyse consumer behaviour and search patterns from social platforms, blogs and articles to understand how their products and services are being found. This data analysis has also created a ‘know-demand economy,’ whereby, data trends enable consumer recommendations such as Amazon Dash Replenishment, Netflix film recommendations and subscription boxes such as Graze Snacks.


By now you will be familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into effect in May 2018. Developments have been made to the ways in which businesses market to consumers, collect personal data and process personal data. Marketers must comply with these changes and understand how they will likely shape digital activities and strategies moving forward. 

Find out more about these key trends in our free guide.

A digital skills shortage affecting businesses

These advancements sound great, but businesses admit to struggling to keep up with the basics.

Despite this fast pace of digital acceleration, it is still widely acknowledged that it is the people driving the ideas, technology and marketing strategies which delivers ROI for organisations. This is where the problem continues to lie, with the UK suffering ongoing digital marketing skills gaps, leaving businesses short of the fundamental and basic skills required for digital marketing.

Surprisingly a whopping 76% of businesses say there is a shortage of digital skills in the workplace4, with only 8% of marketers possessing the correct entry level digital skills required5. It’s no surprise then, that with 90% of jobs now requiring digital skills, such as coding, social media and best practices to help them keep up with digital changes, businesses are falling short of the competition when it comes to their digital marketing strategies.

Closing digital skills gaps through apprenticeships

With talent hard to find and retain, digital marketing agencies and freelancers are a popular go-to for many businesses. But this does not fill the skills shortage problem long-term.

The solution? Using a digital apprenticeship to develop and grow your own talent within your business context. Whether this is upskilling existing staff, or growing new talent, apprenticeships combine fundamental learning with full immersion in the workplace to build practical skills and deliver value straight back into the business.

QAs Digital Marketing Apprenticeship gives learners a level 3 grounding in digital marketing fundamentals and exposure to key digital skills from web design and coding principles, to videos, social media, through to digital analytics, SEO, PPC plus much more.

Plug the digital skills gap in your business for 2018

If this has you thinking about your own digital strategy and possible digital skills gaps, we’ve pulled together some pointers to get you started on finding solutions. Our free guide contains more information on digital trends, key digital skills required by a marketer in 2018, tackling challenges and how digital apprenticeship solutions can help you develop digital marketing skills for business growth in 2018.

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