Trends and prediction articles are always popular on the Econsultancy blog as people love to know what’s around the corner.

Unfortunately in the fast-moving world of digital marketing it’s difficult to predict how things will evolve with any degree of certainty.

So rather than reveal any of my own ill-informed forecasts, we decided to canvas the expert speakers from our Future of Digital Marketing event.

What did they think would be the biggest challenge for digital marketers in the next few years?

This video includes the answers we received from five of the speakers:

  • John Watton, EMEA marketing director at Adobe Marketing Cloud.
  • Doug Kessler, co-founder and creative director at Velocity Partners.
  • Glen Calvert, founder and CEO at Affectv.
  • Jess Stephens, CMO at SmartFocus.
  • Neil Mason, customer and analytics consultant.

And if you don’t have time for a three-minute video, I’ve summarised their answers below.

John Watton

John identified the skills gap as the biggest challenge currently facing marketers.

Businesses need to ensure they have the right people to cope with the phenomenal transformation taking place in marketing.

This involves a combination of good recruitment, employee development, and effective processes and procedures.

Research conducted for our Skills of the Modern Marketer Report indicated that marketers are attributing more value than ever to so-called ‘softer skills’, alongside the more traditional vertical expertise that recruiters look for.

Some broader skills areas, most notably customer experience, content and data, are also perceived to be amongst those growing most in significance for the organisations we surveyed.

How important would you say the following softer skills or behaviours are to being an effective marketer in the modern digital world?

If you want to test your own digital knowledge versus those of your peers then check out our Digital Skills Index.

On completion of the short assessment you'll see how you rate in your chosen digital disciplines against the average scores of all users, people in the same industry, and level of seniority.

Doug Kessler

According to Doug marketers should be most concerned with the huge challenges presented by data management.

He suggested that we’re really only just beginning to figure out how important it is to connect up data sources and form a coherent customer view across different channels.

Our research certainly backs this up, as we found that that less than one in five (18%) of marketers are using a single customer profile for most of their marketing applications. 

In comparison, 45% are not using a single customer profile at all.

Do you or your clients currently use a single customer profile for all marketing applications?

Glen Calvert

Today’s tech giants have all been responsible for driving huge advances in our industry, but as they seek to protect their own business interests could they ultimately stifle further innovation?

Glen said that the likes of Facebook and Google might begin to exert more control over the online space and limit our access to potential customers and new technologies.

Jess Stephens

Jess echoed Doug’s assertion that tying up data sources and achieving a single customer view will be the biggest challenge for marketers over the next few years.

For further insight into this topic, download our report: Single Customer View - Myth or Reality?

It features in-depth opinions from senior-level executives working within ecommerce, online and marketing departments, from companies including Mothercare, Camelot, myHermes, EE, Clarins, Rank, Occam and Seren.

Neil Mason

Tying into John’s point about the skills gaps, Neil said that attracting and retaining talent would be the biggest challenge facing marketers.

David Moth

Published 13 July, 2015 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (2)

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACI

Good set of opinions David.

In summary the two main issues are talent acquisition and retention, and data management.

Absolutely agree that both issues needing to be front and centre of the CMO's mind as they will limit the ability of an organisation to transform and improve the experience.

Changes in team members and failure to hire the right type of people will slow down improvement.

Inability to access, use or even trust business data will stunt a company's ability to use insight in optimising the customer experience.

over 2 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi David, thanks for your comment. You've hit the nail on the head - data and talent are two of the key issues for businesses at the moment.

I've learned first-hand that it's very difficult to find people with the right combination of experience and initiative when recruiting.

over 2 years ago

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