Agencies: Clients Still Have Significant Digital Weaknesses

April 24, 2014

SoDA-Client-Side-Digital-Marketing-Talent-Gaps-Apr2014About half of agencies believe that clients have a major talent gap when it comes to user experience, while another quarter feel that clients have a minor talent gap in this area, according to a report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA). User experience (UX) clearly remains clients’ biggest digital weakness, according to agency respondents, who identified the same problem last year. But other problems plague client marketers, too, according to agencies, who are less enthused by the digital transformation taking place at client organizations than clients themselves are.

Indeed, some 58% of clients feel that their organizations have made “some” or “significant” changes in response to the rise of digital. Just 37% of agencies agree.

A growing share of client marketers also believe they’re gaining fluency in an array of digital practices. Some 46% describe themselves as “ahead of the curve” or “state of the art” in mobile, up from 37% last year. They’re similarly buoyant about their abilities in data-driven optimization (47%, from 42%), integrated experience design (45%, up from 41%) and responsive design (44%, up from 40%). But slightly fewer (48% this year) deem themselves that sophisticated in social media.

Agencies aren’t so kind. A majority identified some level of talent gaps on the client side in each digital practice identified, ranging from earned media expertise/strategy (71.7%) to owned media expertise/strategy (67.6%). Even brand monitoring and management, which was seen as a client weakness by the fewest agency respondents, was tabbed a problem by a majority 55%.

Still, for the most part, the study authors note that most talent gaps are minor, and that the results represent an improvement from last year’s study.

Overall, 55% of marketers feel that their organizations are “very” or “somewhat” sophisticated in digital marketing.

About the Data: Conducted by Econsultancy, SoDA’s 2014 Digital Marketing Outlook Study had 736 respondents. Over 82% of respondents were key decision makers and influencers (C-Level, Senior Executives, VPs and Directors) with annual marketing budgets ranging from US$5M to over US$100M. The percentage of respondents based in North America was 36%; respondents from Europe accounted for 22% of the overall sample; while the share of APAC respondents accounts for 21% of the total.

Clients (including both B2C and B2B executives with responsibilities for digital) accounted for 42% of the total respondent base, while agency and production company respondents constituted 43% of the overall sample.

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