Direct marketing and social media skills significant to future business success

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The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) has published its Business Skills Census 2019, asking marketers to identify the skills and challenges that are important to businesses today, and in the future.

From the total of 33 skills investigated in the research, developed by the DMA’s Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM), three skills were deemed less important to current success by the majority of marketers, ‘Social media’ (46%), ‘Event planning’ (45%) and ‘Direct marketing’ (40%).

However, when asked what skills will be important to the future success of their business, both ‘Direct marketing’ and ‘Social media’ saw the most significant increases noted in the survey, rising to 86% and 88% respectively, highlighting their importance in the future.

In fact, marketers surveyed believe that expertise within a number of key marketing channels will become increasingly important in the future, such as ‘Email marketing’ (up +17% to 83%), ‘Search marketing’ (up +27% to 89%), and ‘Mobile marketing’ (up +13% to 74%).

Skilling up: DMA report finds skills needs in marketing

Multi-channel approach

“Our research indicates that most marketers recognise the importance of a multi-channel marketing approach to future business success,” said Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA’s Institute of Data & Marketing. 

“Direct marketing clearly has an important future in the eyes of most marketers, alongside digital channels like social media and so marketers must find the best balance, using data insights to target consumers with the right opportunities.”

In terms of the most important skills to businesses’ current success, the top ten skills were all chosen by at least nine out of ten respondents, with 93% saying ‘Copywriting’ and ‘Optimising campaigns’ were crucial, and 92% selecting ‘Analysing customer data/insight’ and ‘Data & database management’.

Creativity and data analysis 

An increasing number of marketers believe that ‘Analysing customer data/insight’ will be important to future business success, with 95% stating this – the most cited skill within this question. 

‘Producing content or creative work’ is the second most cited area, with 94% of respondents selecting these skills.

“If businesses aren’t already doing so, their marketing function must start effectively using data insights and innovation to improve the customer experience”, Bond said. 

“Most marketers agree that the customer experience is vital to business success and so developing skills in data analysis, creative thinking and campaign execution will play a key role in producing engaging marketing campaigns.”

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