7 lessons on staff training any business can benefit from

22 Feb 2017

  • Digital Marketing
  • Innovation
  • Strategy
  • New thinking
  • Marketing Technology

By: ADMA Staff

It’s no secret that for any organisation, making sure employees’ skills are constantly up-to-date with the industry’s best practices and technology, is top of mind for not only the HR department but also senior management. Especially in the case for the marketing industry, where digital transformation is driving the demand for marketers to be well-equipped with the right skills quickly and efficiently.

But like the Bermuda Triangle, the equation of “quick, good, and fast” doesn’t exist. So how do we as an industry, tackle the issue of staff development together? ADMA recently held a roundtable with Australia’s leading marketers to discuss the steps businesses need to take in order to develop the necessary marketing skills within teams that will benefit both the organisation and employee.

Here are the 7 insights that came up during the roundtable:

  1. Don't know what we don't know. “Time waits for no one.” And this is extremely true when it comes to the marketing industry. The fast pace of change is as expected and makes it difficult to plan ahead, which is why one of the key challenges marketers face is that they don’t know exactly what are they skills they already have and what are the relevant ones they will need to progress within an organisation.
  2. Ad-Hoc approach. What we’re seeing a lot in the current climate is that only a handful of organisations actually have a clear training and development plan in place. Most organisations have training budgets, but staff are given free rein to make requests on the kind of courses they want to enrol in. While their willingness to learn is a positive sign, employees often are not asking to be trained in areas that align with their job requirements or in skills vital to the success of the business strategy.
  3. Support business goals. When an organisation makes investment decisions they are usually based on a business case that delivers an organisational goal, which is aligned to a strategic plan. It’s the case for business technology (i.e. marketing automation) companies, which are willing to spend money on tools they feel deliver an ROI by helping meet organisational objectives. However, very few of these businesses will include training in the core practices that will allow marketers to optimise their use of technology. By doing so, the lack of training on current practices will in return put strategic initiatives at risk.
  4. Higher Education not delivering skills. Graduates are not joining the workforce with all the skills needed, in particular they lack current understanding of many data and digital practices. Universities are struggling to update course materials in line with changes within the industry and instead focus on "traditional marketing practices". This way, the future generation of marketers are going into the market with outdated knowledge.
  5. Data above all else. More so than ever, data-driven marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of any business. In the annual Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising report, it was revealed that more than three-quarters of survey respondents viewed customer data as critical to their marketing and advertising efforts. Another recent survey from the UK and also US, saw that 73 per cent of marketers feel that the ability to analyse data is more important than social media skills.
  6. Professional Recognition. The consensus amongst the panel was that there is also a need for marketers to have a means of confirming and demonstrating they have the required skills to support marketing needs.
  7. The thirst for learning. Employees these days need to always be learning. Whether it’s via courses or on the job, it is a requirement for people to know how to keep developing their skills. Budgets are too low and it is difficult to mount a business case to increase as we are not linking the training to business strategy and ensuring that staff receive the support and development they need. Younger staff in particular look at training opportunities when looking at employment. To be an employer of choice businesses should be building a better training plan.

So where do we go from here? For starters, you need to assess what you’re currently working with and in what areas you need to start developing new skills in. At ADMA IQ, we now have a Professional Capabilities Standard framework to help you and your organisation define the skills your marketing team needs. We also have an online benchmarking tool to help your employees gauge how they compare to their peers.

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