In such a rapidly evolving industry, where skills and technologies tend to be out of date within just a few years, creating a culture of continuous learning can be a challenge.
However, as Econsultancy’s ‘How Marketers Learn’ report suggests, the benefits of doing so should not be undervalued. According to the research, top-performing organisations are nearly twice as likely to be making significant investment in digital skills and education as their mainstream peers.
So, what’s preventing some organisations from providing the Learning and Development opportunities that marketers need? Here are a few key takeaways from Econsultancy’s report.
Time and budget
When it comes to the resourcing of Learning & Development initiatives, Econsultancy’s survey (of 798 marketers) found that the biggest challenges are related to a lack of budget and time within organisations.
In the survey, 67% of respondents said that “insufficient time is allocated to learning and development” at their organisation. What’s more, 56% said that “insufficient budget is allocated to learning and development”.
In this instance – where both time and budget is the first and most pressing issue for organisations – executive involvement can be a driving force for spearheading change and implementing a culture of learning as a priority.
Beyond this, executive backing is also needed if organisations want to move from day-to-day training to recognising L&D as a strategic function. This is when the interests of the learner fall in line with the interests of the organisation, and the L&D program benefits both.
Knowledge of wider business objectives
It is important that marketers understand how their discipline affects their organisation as a whole – not just in terms of individual objectives and outcomes.
Indeed, 96% of respondents agree with this, saying it is “essential that marketers understand the business metrics and priorities of the organisation”. However, there does appear to be gaps when it comes to this type of knowledge, with a significant number of marketers failing to understand basic business metrics, such as how customer lifetime value is calculated, or how marketing budget is broken down.
Nearly 40% of survey respondents said they cannot say how their organisation’s principal revenue lines are broken down.
Without this type of knowledge, there can be a huge disconnect between marketers and the wider organisations they work for. In this instance, it is up to both individual marketers to educate themselves, as well as businesses to implement a learning culture that brings to mind organisational goals.
In order to find the required mix of skills and capabilities needed for marketing success, organisations tend to practice a variety of methods. These include leaning on outside partners, hiring the right skills, or focusing on training.
While a combination of these are typically thought of as most effective, it is the organisations that prioritise Learning and Development (to upskill existing employees) that could have the edge.
This is because upskilling is typically much quicker and cheaper in comparison to hiring for new skills. What’s more, it can also be less unpredictable, as there tends to be a slight disconnect between the type of skills that marketing leaders want, and that HR teams typically focus on. Interestingly, only 45% of respondents to Econsultancy’s survey said that their organisation is adept at using new hires to add the skills needs for strategic goals.
Finally, it’s important to recognise the importance of soft skills as well as more technical, which include things like humility, curiosity, openness to change, as well as a willingness to learn. In order to gain a mix of both technical and soft skills, marketing leaders and HR teams should ensure better coordination to identify and hire the right candidates.
For more on L&D, subscribers can check out Econsultancy’s ‘How Marketers Learn’ report in full.
How can Econsultancy help?
We help some of the world’s most successful brands to transform marketing capabilities across diverse teams, functions and markets.
We can help you to embed the right skills, knowledge and mindset in your organisation through our blended learning programmes and expert resources.