PR and the Marketing Technology Skills Gap

Keeping pace with the rate of change in marketing technology has become a full time job.  Heck, just keeping up with the news is a challenge, never mind closing the gap on technological skill sets you need to execute effectively.

Consider just the last month or so:

That doesn’t even factor in new tool debuts, anything out of Google, Medium’s recent business model change, etc…

So, how in this wave of ever changing technology do we keep our heads above water here at SHIFT?  Prioritize and Share…..

Prioritize Learning

We started to notice the move towards more widespread marketing technology adoption in our client base in the last 18 months.  In order to arm our staff with the necessary skills we designed our Marketing Technology Immersion program.  In one year, 25% of the junior staff has participated in our MT the program which gives them hands on experience with tools ranging from Google Analytics to Social Advertising, survey best practices and keyword/SEO research.

We also installed a policy as an agency that each team can go “heads down,” where we set aside dedicated time to keeping up on key trends.  But it doesn’t stop there….

Share the Knowledge

Creating training courses and setting aside time is great, but you also need to create ways to distill and provide context both the news and on why it matters.  At SHIFT we run a daily blog and a weekly SHIFT Happens newsletter, which daily and weekly provide summary news from the front lines of PR and Marketing.  We leverage a service called Voicestorm to engage internal ambassadors to learn and share industry news.  Our Marketing Technology team regularly publishes eBooks and Whitepapers on issues and trends clients and staff must be aware of, including trends in Google Analytics, SEO, Influencer Research, such as “Google Analytics Basics for PR Professionals” and “The Future of Marketing.”

The need for this will only increase.  There was a great roundtable by McKinsey recently with leaders from Facebook and Google which included a key section on skill gaps.

Dianne Esber: The question that Brian and I get asked all the time by every client is, “I need more people like that. How do I hire them?”

Nicolas Franchet: The reality is you have to train them, right? They don’t exist. It’s a new skill set. There are new platforms. Even in search, which has been around for ten years, it’s still a hard skill set to find. For the traditional enterprise, you want to start retraining your people.

This was reinforced when we recently hosted a set of local university PR students for a half day round robin with agency leaders. At various points during the day we discussed existing courses and the skills students were learning. It was stunning to hear that a new course would take multiple years to go through conception to full roll out at the university level!  By that time the market will have passed these students by, so you can’t expect your incoming workforce to be ready-trained.

With the oncoming wave of virtual reality, Internet of Things and AI, marketing’s rate of change will only increase.  Taking the time to properly focus and train your teams, and putting mechanisms in place to help them prioritize on what’s new and how it will drive your business forward will be a crucial in determining the market winners and losers in the coming months and years.

Need help keeping up?  Sign up for our weekly newsletter or check out some our content like our measuring PR in the 21st Century ebook to help baseline and set yourself up for what’s next.

Derek Lyons
Senior Vice President

Want help integrating marketing technology into your strategy? Contact us today!

Download our new eBook, How to Measure the Value of PR

Posted on May 3, 2016 in Analytics, Data-Driven PR, Marketing Technology, Public Relations, Training

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