Digital Marketing Talent Continues to be In Demand, But Some Seek Traditional Marketers Too

May 11, 2018

Close to 7 in 10 marketing teams are expected to grow this year, says McKinley Marketing Partners in its 2018 Marketing Hiring Trends report [download page], basing its finding on responses from marketing professionals with influence on hiring decisions. Companies are planning to hire more marketers this year after a lower-than-anticipated number of hires last year.

Earlier this year, the latest edition of The CMO Survey [pdf] found CMOs’ planned marketing hires reaching their highest level since at least 2012.

The biggest factor impacting hiring plans this year is company growth, according to the McKinley report. And it seems that new technologies might be a strong driver: one-third said that new innovations and technologies are driving their hiring plans for 2018. That also aligns with The CMO Survey results, which found that marketing technology platform experience was the single largest skill prioritized in future marketing talent hiring processes.

Digital Marketing Remains In Demand

It’s no surprise that digital marketing skills are highly sought after, as CMOs have long been looking to supplement their talent in this area.

In this latest study from McKinley Marketing Partners, digital marketing (59%) remains clearly the top area of demand for marketing talent, with creative services (43%) next on the list.

Within digital marketing, the most sought-after skills continue to be digital advertising, content creation & curation, email, content strategy and social media, as they were last year.

Meanwhile, graphic design and copywriting are the top areas of expertise sought within creative services. Somewhat surprisingly, user experience (UX) falls in the bottom half of desired creative services talent, despite several pieces of research indicating that UX design continues to be a major challenge for marketers.

Traditional Marketing Makes A Comeback?

This year’s hiring study demonstrates that traditional marketing skills are now more in demand than marketing operations and research & analysis talent. And while it’s true that traditional marketing is the top function slated for cutbacks, it has also seen a strong rebound in hiring demand from last year. (Traditional marketing refers to direct mail as well as print, traditional advertising, telemarketing, direct response and broadcast.)

One reason behind potential hiring growth is a reversal in the balance of demand and supply. Whereas in last year’s study available talent outstripped demand, this year that has shifted, with demand this time exceeding supply.

McKinley Marketing Partners suggests that the shift may be due to some traditional marketers aging out of the workforce, with companies deciding to replace them with traditional marketing talent as opposed to just hiring digital marketers in their stead.

Additionally, the analysts note that many of the companies that hired for traditional marketing talent last year are doing so again this year, indicating that these are businesses that rely strongly on these skills.

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: The report describes its methodology in part as follows:

“McKinley Marketing Partners collaborated with a national market research agency to conduct a comprehensive survey on hiring trends in marketing.

The survey was open to marketing professionals across all industries throughout the U.S. from October 6 – October 30, 2017. Qualifying criteria for respondents included either working in a marketing role or experience working in a marketing function. Questions specific to 2017 and 2018 hiring practices were only asked of those who have influence in hiring decisions.

Once responses were collected, the data was reviewed for accuracy and suspect data was eliminated from the analysis. Of the 329 marketing professionals who completed the survey, 282 were employed in various roles across a mix of company types and sizes – from solo consulting practices to publicly traded enterprises with revenues of more than $100 billion.”

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