On-demand skills that are in demand
Modern marketing requires many different skills. Which ones are most in demand in 2022?
Digital marketing is a $750bn industry worldwide with forecasts of double-digit growth. It comprises many different specialisms including paid search, paid social, organic social, search engine optimisation, email marketing, programmatic advertising, analytics, app store optimisation, influencer marketing, affiliates.
Within each discipline sits a large number of platforms and technologies, such as Google, TikTok, Bing, Amazon, Meta, Snap, Adobe, Klaviyo, Braze, The Trade Desk, and AWIN.
Businesses that want to generate marketing-led growth have to figure out what combination of these disciplines and platforms will work best for their business and audiences to unlock the opportunity.
Once they have figured that out, they then need to hire the right people to manage that combination of disciplines and platforms.
This has created a booming market for specialist digital marketing services to support businesses with the increasing complexity of digital marketing.
Demand for skills changes in line with the growth opportunity
Consumer behaviour is changing all the time because new technology is evolving fast, creating a steady stream of new platforms, apps and experiences.
This changing consumer behaviour means the optimal mix of marketing channels disciplines and platforms is in constant flux, too. What worked yesterday may not work today. Marketers have to continuously analyse what is working and what isn’t, and then adjust their marketing focus regularly to maintain and improve performance.
As a result of this constant change we see large fluctuations in demand for different disciplines as businesses migrate to the areas that work best.
What skills are in demand for 2022 and why ?
Below is a snapshot of the latest data analysing search demand for different marketing skills comparing H1 2022 vs H2 2021. Let’s look at who the winners are in the first half of 2022.
1. TikTok: +250%
And where there’s growth in eyeballs, demand for experts usually follows, as businesses try to figure out how to use the platform to drive growth.
2. Influencer Marketing: +109%
Influencer marketing has grown rapidly over the last year because a) there are more influencers, and b) they represent a new scaled channel to market. Direct promotion of brands through an influencer can drive immediate brand credibility and endorsement.
While it is a rapidly increasing channel for brands, it comes with additional complexity to manage hence the increase in demand for specialists to manage the process.
3. CRM: +57%
First party data is becoming more and more important for both B2C and B2B businesses. Customer Relationship Management systems enable businesses to extract more value from existing customers and prospects. This is important in the current climate where acquiring new customers is becoming increasingly expensive.
4. Analytics: +56%
Marketing analytics experts focus on capturing, organising, and reporting on marketing activities. Businesses that spend on marketing usually invest 5-10% of spend in analytics to make sure they know what’s working and what isn’t so they can optimise investment accordingly. This has become more challenging with increasing number of channels, Google’s product evolution, and various privacy changes, all of which have driven driving up demand for data and analytics experts.
5. Google Ads: +55%
Google has dominated paid search for years and this shows no sign of changing. In fact, search advertising’s proximity to the digital point of purchase (bottom of the marketing funnel) means it is likely to benefit from an economic downturn as businesses reallocate paid media budgets to more short term revenue generating channels.
6. Klaviyo: +39%
Klaviyo is the fastest growing email marketing platform out there. It enables businesses to create email flows based on segments and triggers. It has a seamless and simple integration with Shopify which means that many Shopify eCommerce brands have switched on to Klaviyo email to maximise the value of their existing transactional customers.
7. SEO: +31%
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a two part skillset. Firstly it involves optimising your site for natural/organic discovery on search engines. This technical on-site skill involves making sure the site is set up properly with the right info for search engines to read and rank your site. The second part of SEO is off-site. Building links with other sites to drive up the authority of your own site and improve rankings for specific keywords. SEO is loved by businesses because the end result is traffic that has no direct acquisition cost—i.e ‘free’.
8. Content Marketing: +26%
Content marketing is a broad catch all term for the production and distribution of non-advertising content in all its forms on all channels. It has become increasingly important as social channels have grown. It provides businesses with a way to drive frequent engagement and understanding of their brand, product, or service. Content marketers have been in increasing demand both for B2B and B2C as advertisers recognise the importance of non advertising acquisition strategies.
9. Programmatic/Display: +11%
Some paid social channels have suffered the last 12 months due to Apple’s new tracking rules. The reduction in effectiveness of certain paid social channels has created an increase in demand for programmatic advertising which provides access to eyeballs outside of the paid social walled gardens.
10. Affiliates: +1%
Affiliates reward publishers for results taking a commission on sale usually. This kind of outcome-based commercial model is very attractive to certain businesses particularly during uncertain economic times. Though tracking and attribution of sales has become harder in recent years for a number of reasons, the demand for affiliate expertise rises as economic growth slows or declines.
What does this mean for talent and businesses?
The demand for digital marketing skills overall is growing in line with investment. But within that headline growth there is a lot of fluctuation and change. Some skills experience seasonal demand spikes; going up in Q4 and down in Q1. Other skills are seeing long term growth or indeed decline in direct correlation to their effectiveness at driving marketing led outcomes.
If you are a business you need to be aware of the different channels, their pros and cons, as well as short and long term prospects to maintain sustainable growth.
If you are a specialist marketer operating in any one of these fields, it is wise to continuously invest in your own learning and development—to make sure you are at the top of your game in your chosen field of today, and that you also have one eye on your chosen discipline, channel, or platform of tomorrow.
Stefan Bardega is co-founder and chief growth officer of Traktion. He previously served as UK CEO and EMEA president of iProspect.