No matter what state of normality the economy emerges into when this period of uncertainty is behind us, digital is essential for communication and distribution. This is a mindset shift we cannot come back from – nor should we.
The recruitment market naturally reflects this. Earlier this year, e commerce, digital content, social media and digital marketing all featured in the top 10 of LinkedIn’s fastest growing job categories.
However, while recruiting digital specialists may feel a necessary short-term move for business survival, without also investing in the leadership needed to drive value from digital, results will undoubtedly be limited.
Digital is a channel that thrives due to its proximity to the customer, and agility to adapt to ever-changing needs and business requirements. For these reasons and more it has naturally been front of mind for organisations during the pandemic as a tactical tool for engagement. But its scope can and should be broader – not just as a core competency of any marketing strategy, but of every business strategy, led by marketing’s knowledge of its application and value.
Invest to innovate
Empowering marketers to become the change leaders required to put digital at the heart of their organisations must, therefore, be a priority. Businesses will need to invest beyond technologically led digital capabilities, and into marketing leaders who have the insight and understanding that is crucial for digital marketing to drive business growth and innovation.
Ultimately, the pandemic has shown us more than anything that strategic innovation is key. Many businesses may not have survived the past year without innovations in products and processes that have been pioneered by marketers around the world. Digital has played an integral role in bringing these innovations to life, certainly, but the creative ingenuity needed to create these is a direct result of marketing insight and strategic thinking. That is, at its core, what marketing is all about – innovation, rather than simple differentiation.
More than any time in recent history, businesses must be able to effectively plan, which is only possible through the use of meaningful data and insight from the marketing department. Marketing, therefore, has a key role to play in helping businesses thrive, while cementing its position as an indispensable tool at the most senior levels.
To innovate and drive insight, however, marketing must receive investment. This goes beyond progression planning for budding marketers; learning and development must be accessible and engaged with at every stage of a marketer’s career. Worryingly, between 42% and 62% of marketers over the age of 45 – who may be leading departments or developing strategies – have received no training in the last two years (CIM’s Impact of Marketing 2 report). Meanwhile, marketers want to develop themselves – recent research from Hays showed that 42% of marketers plan to make changes to their skills and prioritise upskilling in their current profession. Moreover, 45% reported a lack of career development opportunities as being a top reason for job dissatisfaction in their current role.
With an understanding of diverse challenges present in today’s business environment, the CIM’s Marketing Leadership Programme equips leaders to strengthen their strategic skills. The robust syllabus, which is the equivalent level to a master’s qualification, empowers marketers to become influential change leaders ready to deliver tangible results.
For more details, please visit cim.co.uk/leadership
Image credit: Gremlin via Getty Images