Whether you’re a small business owner, franchiser, or marketer, you’re probably all too familiar with the unprecedented volume of digital marketing “gurus” targeting you on search and social. Although it may seem like everyone and their grandmother is trying their hand at digital marketing, there’s a strikingly low level of competency in the industry. Consequently, selecting the right agency to partner with is vital if you don’t want to find yourself neck deep in invoices from supposed digital marketing experts who fail to drive traffic to your website or increase your brand’s visibility on search and social.
We get it. Those poorly written Facebook Ads that you can’t like or comment, only share, give digital marketers a bad name. They have a tendency to denounce the same strategies they plan to sell you, and the vast majority of these services are scams offering you “superior services for less.” Though these unfounded claims hurt the marketing industry as a whole, they do have one benefit. They establish legitimate agencies like Leverage Digital as the cream of the crop. Our agency is full of real people working to give you measurable results using a customized digital marketing strategy.
If you believe all digital marketing agencies are the same, you’ll be shocked to discover that less than half of all digital marketing professionals are considered “competent” (but more on that later). There is a severe digital marketing skills shortage worldwide, and finding the right agency to partner with is more challenging than ever with countless imitators doing their best to get in your pocket.
The Skills Gap in Digital Marketing is Worldwide Phenomena
If you think the overabundance of fake digital marketing experts is a strictly American problem, you will be surprised to discover that a similar trend is occurring across the globe. The Digital Marketing Institute’s ‘Skills Gap Study’ states that only 38 percent of respondents working in digital marketing in the United States reached a competent skill level when gauged using a test. The United Kingdom had similar results, with only 37 percent of respondents meeting the minimum competency level for a digital marketing professional. Countries like South Korea and Bangladesh also received subpar scores.
The United Kingdom is partnering with the Europe Commission to address the considerable skills gap that exists in the broader digital marketing industry. If these organizations plan to fix this problem, they will have to be proactive in eliminating fake digital marketing companies or certifying companies that qualify as bonafide digital marketing experts. As a rule of thumb, never work with digital marketers who won’t put a face to their name or pick up the phone to call you. If all communication is handled via email, an agency can never truly develop an accurate picture of your brand. This is a recipe for disaster in the world of branding.
Exploring the Source of the Digital Marketing Skills Shortage
The skills gap in digital marketing is an institutional problem that needs to be examined closely in order to discover the real reason this situation is materializing at such a vital crux in the growth of online businesses worldwide. As it stands, educators and professionals are simply not doing enough to build competent digital marketers.
At universities around the world, marketing professors need to commit themselves to educating students on the nuances of digital marketing, which is quickly becoming the standard for marketing as a whole. New course materials designed in collaboration with technology providers and media outlets can help teach updated practices including strategies for SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, and more. In addition, professors need to bridge the gap for non-marketing majors who have skills that can be utilized in digital marketing. For example:
Statistics majors can make sense of the large quantities of data produced by marketing analytics.
Art majors can help build beautiful websites that keep users engaged and create advertising materials primed to go viral.
Journalism majors possess valuable writing skills that can be utilized to generate compelling content for your SEO campaign.
Accounting majors have the perfect toolset for performing audits and running paid media accounts.
Other majors can enter the digital marketing industry as consultants for specialized clients that need a particular set of skills to fortify their brand.
Industry associations and employers can help combat the skills gap by working together to set agreeable salary benchmarks. Many digital marketers who possess a strong skill set are underpaid, so their talent becomes transient as they move from industry to industry seeking out the most lucrative opportunities on the market. These associations need to invest in continuing education, too. In order to provide clients with best-in-class service, employees need to grow within their industry and master cutting-edge techniques to stay ahead of the curve. Lastly, industry associations need to partner with universities to inform students about careers in digital marketing.
The reluctance being exhibited by digital marketing agencies to keep their operations in-house is another contributor to the skills gap. Employers are hiring remote workers who may produce satisfactory work, but fail to add to the industry as a whole. Some agencies even have the audacity to hire foreign workers to produce content for domestic audiences as a cost-cutting strategy. Our agency finds this practice despicable. If agencies invest in training and maintaining employees in-house, they can greatly increase the value of their services which means more jobs for competent digital marketers.
Ultimately, the skills shortage means that selecting the right partner to spearhead your digital marketing campaign is more vital than ever before. Perform your due diligence when choosing a strategic partnership and don’t make the mistake of buying into an agency that boasts style but lacks substance. The future success of your business will be largely dictated by your brand’s ability to dominate your competition online. Without an award-winning digital marketing agency on your side, you’ll never experience the growth you desire and deserve.
Where did all the good marketers go? Every day, you’re bombarded with advertisements from self-proclaimed marketing “gurus” trying to exploit your business for a quick buck. At Leverage Digital, we provide our clients with a full suite of marketing and advertising services. Whether you’re an established franchisor or a small business owner looking to optimize your online presence, we’ll work with you to customize a digital marketing strategy that helps you grow your business so you can dominate the competition.