Digital marketing skills lacking, according to new study

A new study shows that while more organizations are prioritizing digital marketing strategies and practices, most marketers aren’t up to snuff in the digital skills department.

According to the “Missing the Mark: The Digital Marketing Skills Gap in USA, UK & Ireland” report from the Digital Marketing Institute, more than half (51 percent) of U.S. marketers ranked themselves as “very” or “fairly” competent in digital marketing, but in a test-based review of their digital skills, just 8 percent showed a competent skill level. A total of 908 marketing professionals across Ireland, the U.K. and the United States had their digital marketing competencies tested as part of the study.

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“We’re seeing a worrying trend in digital marketing skills,” Digital Marketing Institute co-founder and director Ian Dodson said in a statement provided to FierceCMO. “Even though digital marketing has become increasingly essential for businesses, there is a persistent, and growing, global skills gap that threatens to undermine future organizational growth. In the United States alone, 45 percent of marketers cite a lack of in-house expertise as one of their greatest challenges, and there is an urgent need for digital skills education for professionals.”

According to the study, U.S. marketers scored an average of 38 percent on the digital marketing diagnostic exam, scoring highest in mobile skills with an average score of 39 percent and lowest in display, with an average score of 35 percent. In order to achieve entry-level competency in digital marketing, marketers are required to score at least 60 percent on the diagnostic, according to the Digital Marketing Institute.

“These results reinforce that now more than ever, there is a global digital talent crisis – and if it isn’t addressed imminently, as the digital industry continues to evolve and innovate, skill levels will continue to decline,” Dodson said in the report.