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Upskilling the key to career longevity in Marketing.

Like many professions, marketers are constantly being warned that the future of their industry is in trouble – that the digital age is making traditional marketing jobs obsolete. According to a study conducted by RMIT University and Deloitte Access Economics, there will be demand for 300,000 marketing related jobs by 2021-2022, which is actually double the average growth of other industries in the Australian workforce. The real question is, how can marketers create job security for themselves as robots take over more of the transactional work and marketing jobs become more specialised and digitally and technology dependent – the answer lies in upskilling and upskilling now.

Dr Foula Kopanidis, program director of postgraduate marketing programs at RMIT University, said, “While marketing occupations are experiencing change due to the rise of digital marketing and data analytics, I see these technological developments as providing new options and outlets for companies to perform the tasks that have underpinned the role of the marketer, such as connecting with customers and targeting products to relevant markets.”

In other words, while it’s true that the marketing landscape is changing, smart marketers who start upskilling now can increase their value within the industry to keep up with changing demands and ensure career longevity.

It’s no longer enough to have general marketing skills and knowledge. Workers are now expected to bring multidimensional skills to marketing related roles, blending traditional marketing activities with communication, analytics, automation, digital proficiency, critical thinking and competence with various technology platforms. If these are areas you’re not familiar with, it doesn’t mean your days as a successful marketer are over – it means now is the time to start upskilling to stay ahead of the competition and prove your worth within an ever-changing industry.

A marketing degree is no longer enough

If you’re a fresh marketing graduate ready to embrace full-time employment for the first time, you might have to curb your enthusiasm a touch, as some marketing experts believe undergraduate marketing degrees no longer adequately prepare students for the world of marketing.

According to a recent discussion that took place at an International Advertising Association’s event in Sydney, most marketing students graduated university without the information needed to keep up with the latest marketing trends and requirements.

James Diamond, managing director of Integral Ad Science, said the reason marketing degrees leave students unprepared is that by the time the proper course content has been created, it’s three years before the content is delivered to students. Given the wildly fast-paced nature of the marketing industry, by the time the content is delivered it’s no longer timely.

Diamond said, “The people who are coming out of university now with marketing degrees, they don’t know anything about programmatic, they don’t know anything about how to negotiate a media contract or how to deal with issues with transparency, as an example. Those things are not covered at all.”

While experts agree that completing a marketing degree is helpful and certainly adds value, it’s no longer essential. To make a successful career in marketing today, marketing graduates must be multi-skilled, prepared to get their hands dirty, keep their fingers on the pulse of emerging trends and technologies and be prepared to commit to continuous learning.

How marketers can survive the automation age by upskilling

The changing marketing landscape is not all doom and gloom – exciting opportunities abound for those prepared to take proactive precautions and stay one step ahead of the pack.

If you’re a marketing professional who’s concerned about the future of your job, here are some top tips to surviving digital transformation and automation:

  • Commit to continual learning and upskilling: Technologies are changing, and new technology is emerging quicker than most of us can keep up with, but for the marketer, staying up to date with new and changing digital markets is essential. Making the commitment to continual learning and educating yourself is imperative for career stability and personal development. This doesn’t have to mean further tertiary studies – think podcasts, text books, audio books, Ted Talks, YouTube channels, attending conferences, subscribing to relevant mailing lists and so on.
  • Make the switch to project management: If upskilling to a specialist niche isn’t up your alley, your next best choice is to transform your focus towards project management and planning, which will require upskilling of its own (discussed in further detail below).
  • Use new technologies to your advantage: In marketing, the digital age often gets a bad rap by those who feel like they’re being pushed out of the industry, but instead of looking at technology as a threat, what about embracing it instead? New technologies have the power to make life a whole lot easier, while taking your marketing campaigns to heights never before possible. Embrace digital platforms and learn how to use them to your advantage, not just for career longevity but also to improve your daily operations.
  • Focus on the right career fields: While it’s true that the digital automation movement is making certain jobs obsolete, it’s also paving the way for many new jobs and opportunities in areas such as IT, technological science, maths, behavioural psychology and creative arts. Do your research to find out which fields are future-focused and increasing in demand and focus on upskilling in those areas.

Most in-demand jobs in digital marketing needing upskilling

If you’re a marketing professional looking to upskill, the obvious question you’re probably asking is which areas holds the most value to upskill in?

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, more organisations are investing in digital marketing and branding, with thousands of jobs in the digital sphere estimated to be created within the next few years. This puts marketing professionals with specialised digital skills in high demand, while also ensuring those with the right skills are in a better position to negotiate higher salaries and better employment benefits.

The top five highest paying jobs in digital marketing are:

1. Digital Project Management/Planning
2. Content Strategist
3. E-Commerce Specialist
4. Digital Media Manager
5. Brand Marketing

The number one spot is testament to Marketing Search’s belief that to survive the digital winds of change, marketers either need to upskill to include digital specialisation or move their focus towards project management.

As digital marketing is becoming more specialised and more jobs are being outsourced, there is an increasing need for project leaders to manage and oversee the implementation of various digital campaigns and strategies. Marketing professionals with requisite digital knowledge and project management skills will find themselves in a highly favourable position when it comes to recruitment prospects and career longevity.

If you’re a marketing professional looking to expand your skills or explore new career possibilities, Marketing Search provides a comprehensive platform to browse through different marketing categories to learn more about areas of specialisation, and stay up to date with the latest industry news and trends with our better practices blog.

Neil Anderson is the founder and director of a privately owned and operated Australian marketing search platform that enables businesses to transform their marketing impact and profitability through provisioning of better agency search & selection , talent sourcing & upskilling and project optimisation services.

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