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The Marketing Skills Gap is Very Real

Marketing might be in my blood. My father was a marketer before me, back in the 80’s and 90’s on the cusp of the personal computer and the birth of the Internet. Back then, brands spent their budgets on print ads, the biggest, baddest trade shows and fancy corporate retreats.

No matter the tactic, my dad delivered, ending up a VP in a few short years. But fast-forward 10, 15 years and those same marketers we’re now trying to figure out SEO strategy, adopting marketing automation to track buyer behavior and deliver timely content, and parsing social media for lead generation opportunities. While I tried to convince my father to start a blog, he tried to convince me glossy magazine ads were better.

There’s a lesson here: The marketing skills gap is very real. The reasons for it are numerous. The pace of invention is accelerating as each new technology leap frogs over the tech that came the week before. Baby Boomers are cashing in on their retirement plans while recent grads that don’t remember life before Google take the office next to yours.

The numbers are ominous. According our just released 2012 Marketing Skills Gap, 75% of marketers say their lack of skills is impacting revenue in some way, and 74% say its contributing to misalignment between the marketing and sales teams. Clearly, the game is changing. We need to master the new rules.

If we don’t, we risk falling hopelessly behind. There’s a learning curve, obviously. To learn the new skills needed for marketing, we need the perseverance to climb and conquer the hill. That means getting past the excuses (“I don’t have time”; “It’s unproven”) and the temptation to be dismissive.

My dad was extremely successful but the gap between what he knew and what the market was doing grew and grew over time, eventually reaching a ‘point of no return.’ He chose to focus more on product development and strategy consulting. I find myself learning from this observation, digging into new trends and tools that are re-shaping our industry.

Marketing isn’t a young person’s game. It’s a game for the endlessly curious. And it’s not enough to just be a smart marketer. You have to be smart enough to tackle new skills.

Learn more about the skills gap and what else was revealed in the survey during our webinar on April 18th Demand Generation Skills Gap survey and get a first look at the survey results. Eloqua, Focus, the Marketing Automation Institute and Bulldog Solutions will explore how companies staff the demand generation function and the critical skills that are missing in many marketing departments. Together we can start closing the skills gap.

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