That's among the findings of a study, Missing the Mark: The Digital Marketing Skills Gap in the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland, released by the Digital Marketing Institute.
In the United States, 51 percent of marketers rated themselves as very or fairly competent in digital marketing, but in a test-based review, only 8 percent of these professionals actually reached a competent skill level. Overall, U.S. marketers scored an average of 38 percent on the digital marketing diagnostic exam. U.S. professionals scored highest in mobile skills, with an average score of 39 percent, and lowest in display, with an average score of 35 percent. Marketers need to score at least 60 percent on the diagnostic in order to achieve entry-level competency in digital marketing.
“We’re seeing a worrying trend in digital marketing skills,” said the co-founder and director of the Digital Marketing Institute, Ian Dodson. “Even though digital marketing has become increasingly essential for businesses, there is a persistent, and growing, global skills gap that threatens to undermine future organizational growth. In the U.S. alone, 45 percent of marketers cite a lack of in-house expertise as one of their greatest challenges, and there is an urgent need for digital skills education for professionals.”
The U.S. is tied with Ireland in overall digital marketing skill levels and only slightly ahead of the United Kingdom, where marketing professionals scored an average of 37 percent on the diagnostic exam.
In addition to the diagnostic review, the report also looks at organizational engagement and attitudes toward digital marketing. In the United States, only 31 percent of marketers say their organizations are very or fairly engaged with digital marketing. Fewer than one in five U.S. marketers work for companies that offer digital marketing training, and close to half say that a lack of resources is their greatest challenge when embracing digital transformation. Despite widespread acknowledgement that businesses will need to become more focused on digital marketing in the next two years, 59 percent of U.S. marketing professionals say that their organizations lack the necessary sense of urgency in their approach to digital adoption.
“In addition to digital technologies, organizations must invest in digital marketing and digital skills education,” said Dodson. “Without this investment, businesses risk falling behind and becoming less competitive in the global market.”
Source: Digital Marketing Institute
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