Inbound, social media and content marketing are among the top in-demand skills in the marketing industry, revealed training provider HubSpot Academy. In a conversation with Marketing, HubSpot APAC marketing director James Gilbert said that marketing and marketing technology are evolving at such a rapid pace that anyone working in the industry simply cannot afford not to upskill.
The desire to acquire skills seems to be particularly evident among marketing employees in Singapore, a recent study by HubSpot Academy revealed.
Around 80% of marketing professionals surveyed said they would prioritise companies who offer opportunities to improve their skills over higher salaries.
The number is the highest, compared to the 77% in human resources, 73% in finance, and 71% in sales who shared the same sentiment. “The best marketers have a growth mindset – they realise that to be remarkable at what they do, they need to be constantly learning, and always looking out for new technologies and tactics to experiment with,” Gilbert explained.
According to Gilbert, the popularity of inbound, social media and content marketing queries suggests the increased importance placed on improving digital skills, modernising approaches to grow a business, and developing content that drives website traffic, leads, and customers in a highly measurable way. Specifically in Singapore, HubSpot Academy has seen a growing interest from clients around issues such as social listening, extending reach, digital advertising, and measuring ROI from those who take its certifications.
No one size fits all
However, Gilbert said companies should train their employees to suit their needs. While startups and SMEs tend to look for generalists, large organisations are looking to hire specialists in specific areas of marketing, such as technical SEO, affiliates, PPC, and demand generation, he explained. Gilbert also underscored the importance of finding credible sources for employees to learn from. Whilst formal education is certainly credible and a good start for building foundational knowledge, he noted that it is extremely difficult for universities and schools to keep up with the pace of development in the industry. Therefore, companies stand a better chance finding the in-depth expertise that is needed to help marketers reach the top of their game from industry leaders.
Meanwhile, despite the apparent benefits of upskilling, the survey revealed that the lack of employer support in providing time-off, covering cost incurred, and willingness to commit. While some 71% of marketers were encouraged by their employer to attend classes or courses, they were only allowed to do so outside work hours. Additionally, 73% polled expressed wishes that their employer would place higher importance on job-related learning.
To this, Gilbert cautioned employers that it is impossible for their organisations to reach maximum potential if their employees’ skills and knowledge are dated.
You’re stunting the growth of the business – it’s as simple as that.
To build a business case for training investment and reap actual return-on-investment, Gilbert suggested employers to identify a specific area of marketing that they want to see improvement in, narrow in on the metric associated with that. The trainees can for instance, apply their learnings to revise the company’s SEO strategy and monitor the improvements in organic traffic over the next 12 months.