Seven out of ten digital marketers believe they have equal or more digital expertise than their managers and over half think their co-workers lack the skills needed to run successful campaigns.

These statistics come from Responsys’ third annual Big Australia Report, which revealed there is a widening gap in the skills of Australian digital marketers. 

Simon O’Day, the Vice President of Responsys Asia-Pacific, believes this gap could eventually lead to older workers being bumped out of their positions by younger, more tech savvy individuals.

It is clear that the next generation of talent is hot on the heels of those in more senior positions. Unless Australian marketers start moving with the times, in a few more years we may see the younger, savvier digital marketers landing the top strategic jobs in favour of their counterparts with more years on the clock. 

The current environment

Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 3.14.48 PM

Lack of time, skills and knowledge consistently came up as barriers that current digital marketers are facing, as they try to meet the ever increasing demands of their job.

Of the 125 digital marketers surveyed, 52% felt that their team is not sufficiently equipped to analyse and action the amount of customer data that is now available through digital channels, and another 57% of marketers said their organisation lacks digital expertise, echoing the findings of Econsultancy’s State of Digital Marketing in Australia report that was published earlier this year. 

The Responsys report also revealed that 74% of digital work is now being done in-house (compared to 43% in 2011) and while 49% of marketers indicated that their digital marketing budget will increase in the next year, only 37% of organisations are intending to hire additional digital staff.

Overall, it doesn’t look like the pressure on digital marketers will be lifting any time soon and, if anything, it could increase – something O’Day consciously comments on:

To further advance digital marketing in Australia it will become increasingly important for organisations to employ data specialists and invest in time and resources to upskill their staff continuously.

Looking ahead

Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 3.12.38 PM

The biggest focus for businesses over the next twelve months will be working on improving the targeting and segmentation of their digital campaigns, with 74% of Australian digital marketers saying they will be focusing on tailoring their activity to the right audience rather than increasing the sheer volume of messages sent.

Half of all marketers also indicated that they intend to work on improving ROI analysis, growing their opted-in database, extending their cross channel usage and increasing their following on social networks.

Overall, O’Day says the report shows that Australian businesses are moving in the right direction with their digital marketing focus, but there still may be concerns for the future. 

There’s now an increasing divide between marketers who are using technology to build lasting, individual relationships with consumers versus those who rely on mass distribution of messages.

While it’s encouraging that skilled marketers are now focusing on more targeted forms of digital communication, it concerns me that a significant number are failing to use existing customer data to optimise and execute smarter campaigns.