The dynamic nature of marketing demands an ever-evolving skill set, but what happens when a gap emerges between your team’s skills and the skills they need?
This problem is a common one. In fact, research by the Industrial Strategy Council found that 20% of the workforce in the UK will be significantly underskilled by 2030, which could amount to nearly 7 million people.
Instead, imagine a Marketing dream team—a group of experts armed with cutting-edge strategies, data-driven insights, and a relentless drive to achieve exceptional results. They understand the market’s pulse, adapt swiftly to emerging trends, and seamlessly collaborate to bring innovative campaigns to life.
Let’s examine how your organisation can realise such a dream through practical skill gap analysis and strategy.
Table of Contents
Understanding a Skills Gap
A skills gap refers to the disparity between the skills and competencies required for effective marketing and the skills the marketing team members possess. It represents a deficiency or misalignment between the skills demanded by the evolving marketing landscape and the skills currently available within the team, and that could mean soft skills or hard skills.
The skill sets in marketing encompass many areas, including digital marketing, data analysis, content creation, social media management, strategic planning, and customer relationship management. As marketing practices and technologies evolve, the skills required to succeed in this field constantly change.
What Causes a Skills Gap?
The skills gap within marketing teams stems from various influential factors. Research by And Digital found that 27% of people believe they need more digital skills for their roles, which is why rapid technological advancements in the digital landscape require continuous learning and adaptability to leverage new tools and platforms effectively. However, consumer behaviour is also ever-changing and requires marketing teams to understand and respond to shifting preferences, employing data-driven strategies to remain relevant.
The skills gap profoundly impacts marketing teams’ performance and overall business outcomes. It hinders achieving marketing goals and desired outcomes, resulting in underperforming campaigns, low engagement, and limited conversion rates. Furthermore, it erodes competitiveness and market share, as competitors who invest in upskilling their teams gain an edge. Ultimately, it fosters employee dissatisfaction and turnover, disrupting team dynamics and draining organisational resources.
Conducting a Skills Gap Analysis
When going through an effective skills gap analysis process, it’s essential to involve key stakeholders such as marketing managers, HR managers, and other relevant team members. Their insights and perspectives can contribute to a more accurate assessment and targeted approach to addressing the skills gap. Regular communication and feedback loops should also be established to ensure ongoing evaluation and adjustment of skill development strategies.
1) Identify the Desired Skill Set
Suppose you’re looking to define the desired skill set for your marketing team clearly. In that case, the first step will involve analysing industry trends, market demands, and the specific goals and objectives of the organisation. Doing so will help you identify the skills and competencies that are most relevant to the current marketing landscape and guarantee you create a suitable framework for assessing the team’s capabilities.
2) Assessing the Current Skill Set
This evaluation should encompass individual team members as well as the team as a whole. Various methods can be employed to identify skills gaps, such as surveys, interviews, and performance reviews, to gather insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and it would provide you with a holistic view of the team’s skill profile as well as recognise any existing gaps.
3) Addressing the Skills Gap
Not all gaps may require immediate attention; some may be more critical to the organisation’s success than others. Prioritisation should be based on the impact the skills gap has on marketing performance and the alignment with organisational goals and marketing strategies. Focus on the most crucial skills first, allocate resources effectively and maximise the impact of your skill development initiatives.
Bridging the Skills Gap
One of the most powerful actions any company can do, big or small, is bridging the skills gap of their team members. This doesn’t just elevate their talent and performance. It also creates a strong employer brand that cares about the development and growth of its employees. Ultimately, that fosters loyalty, cooperation, and a feeling of togetherness.
When trying to close the gap, your starting point will involve identifying existing skills and having a bit of foresight on what future skills will be needed. When doing so, here are some of the top strategies you can include in your skills gap analysis process.
Use a Skills Matrix Template
A skill matrix template is one valuable tool that can aid in measuring success and driving continuous improvement in marketing teams. These templates provide a structured format to assess team members’ current skill levels and identify gaps between the desired skill set and the existing competencies. You’ll gain unparalleled insights into your team’s skill sets, track their progress, and supercharge their professional growth.
Here are some of the things Factorial’s skills matrix template can help you evaluate:
- Progress and Achievement Tracking: Our free skills matrix template enables you to track the progress and achievements of your marketing team members effortlessly. With this tool, you can monitor how individual team members develop their skills over time, ensuring they stay on track towards achieving their professional goals.
- Assess Level of Interest: The template allows you to assess each team member’s level of interest in learning particular skill sets. This valuable information helps you tailor their professional development opportunities to align with their passions and motivations, leading to higher engagement and improved skill acquisition.
- Comparison with Overall Objectives: Using the skills matrix template, you can compare your team members’ learned competencies with your marketing team’s overall objectives. This assessment provides critical insights into the alignment of skills with organisational goals, allowing you to identify areas that require further development and bridge any existing gaps.
Training and Upskilling Opportunities
A comprehensive internal training program or workshop tailored to address specific skill gaps can take your team far. These programs can focus on data analysis, digital marketing, content creation, and strategic planning. And with regular workshops or seminars, organisations can enhance the knowledge and capabilities of their marketing team members, ensuring they stay up to date with industry best practices.
If you want to supplement your team further, you can encourage them to pursue various online courses or certifications that could further improve their skill set.
Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
Encouraging cross-functional projects and team collaborations provides opportunities for skill exchange and learning. You can encourage marketing team members to work closely with other departments within the organisation, which will help everyone gain exposure to different perspectives and approaches, broadening skill sets and fostering innovative thinking.
This is the beauty of knowledge sharing. Whether it’s internal forums, knowledge bases, or regular team meetings focused on sharing insights and success stories, having such a company culture will allow team members to learn from each other and leverage collective expertise.
Recruitment and Talent Acquisition Strategies
Organisations should identify the specific skill gaps within the marketing team during the hiring process and seek candidates with the required competencies. This involves conducting comprehensive interviews and assessments to ensure a fit between the candidate’s skills and the team’s needs.
Collaborating with specialised recruiters who understand the nuances of marketing roles can significantly assist in identifying candidates with the desired skill set. These recruiters deeply understand the industry and can help organisations find individuals with the skills and qualifications needed. Crafting accurate and detailed job descriptions that clearly outline the desired skills needed and any qualifications or experience required for the role to attract the right talent.
Outsourcing and strategic partnerships
In cases where specific skills are lacking internally, organisations can bridge the skills gap by outsourcing or forming strategic partnerships. Engaging external agencies or consultants with the required expertise can provide access to critical skills on a project basis. This allows organisations to leverage external knowledge and resources to fill skill gaps and ensure high-quality results.
Furthermore, collaborating with strategic partners such as industry experts or complementary businesses can help fill skills gaps. These partnerships can involve joint marketing initiatives, knowledge sharing, or even co-developing marketing campaigns. By leveraging the expertise of strategic partners, organisations can tap into additional skills and perspectives, enhancing their marketing capabilities.
Tracking Success of Upskilling
To keep the ball rolling, there are a few things you and your team can carry through to ensure everything is going according to plan. It will involve feedback loops with your team to determine how they’re getting along and data-driven insights on how your company goals align with the work being done, which can be complemented well with a skills management software like Factorial. With that said, here are some effective strategies you can adopt to determine how well your upskilling plan is going:
- Key performance indicators (KPIs): Define measurable indicators that align with the identified skills gap areas. These could include metrics such as improved campaign performance, increased lead generation, higher conversion rates, enhanced customer engagement, or improved ROI.
- Regular evaluation and feedback loops: Execute a structured evaluation process to assess individual and team progress. Regular feedback sessions allow for identifying areas of improvement, recognising achievements, and providing guidance for skill development.
- Staying ahead of the skills curve: Conduct a skills gap analyses to ensure alignment with current and future marketing needs. Regularly reassess the skill requirements, update training programs, and adjust recruitment strategies accordingly.
- Analyse how well things are running: Harness the power of data analytics to gain valuable insights into marketing performance. Analyse data related to campaigns, customer interactions, and market trends to identify areas where skill improvements can have the most impact.
- A/B testing and experimentation: Encourage a culture of experimentation and testing. Conduct A/B tests, evaluate results, and leverage insights to refine strategies and enhance skill development efforts.