How Are Capability Gaps Impacting the Effectiveness of Marketing Organizations?
While recession fears and economic uncertainty continue to curtail marketing spend, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore the critical capability gaps impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing. These capability gaps, arising from deficiencies in skills, technology or resources, can have far-reaching consequences on marketing delivery and performance. In this blog post, we delve into the critical implications of capability gaps for marketing organizations and how these gaps hinder productivity and business goals.
As explained very concisely in this McKinsey post, “The new marketing superpower is multidisciplinary competency across six core capabilities: customer centricity, full-funnel marketing, agile operating model, multichannel excellence, measurement, and customer data and marketing technology.” However, several marketing trend studies say otherwise when it comes to these skills and the resource gaps that are hobbling organizations’ marketing leadership and their marketing teams:
46% of companies have no strategic plan to address skills gaps internally
Only 30% of marketers believe that their use of marketing technology completely aligns with their marketing strategy
74% believe that marketing organizations face a critical talent shortage due to a lack of digital skills that will be needed to meet ongoing customer demands
44% of leaders fear that their organization’s current lack of digital skills will have a “fairly negative impact” on their success in the coming 12 months
63% of employees don’t think they “have the appropriate digital skills to fulfill new and emerging roles in their industry”
“The new marketing superpower is multidisciplinary competency across six core capabilities: customer centricity, full-funnel marketing, agile operating model, multichannel excellence, measurement, and customer data and marketing technology.”
As shared here, the chart below expresses a detailed view of cross-functional marketing skillsets and gaps that are organized by ones that have less importance and by ones that are critical for organizations invest in:
While it may be highly unlikely that an organization will find one person possessing all of these skills, it is highly probable that they will find someone with a minimum of seven or more, thus presenting the opportunity for training or engaging an outside consultant to fill the remaining gaps in the short term while training the marketing team for long-term success.
Building Out a T-Shaped Marketing Team
As Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and executive leadership strategize the best way to bridge the skill gaps within their integrated marketing teams, it would be worth studying the concept of defining the T-shaped skillset that’s required for future-proofing their organization.
T-shaped skills represent a set of sought-after qualities in individuals. The vertical aspect of the “T” symbolizes deep expertise and/or experience in a specific domain, while the top represents the ability to collaborate effectively with experts from diverse disciplines and apply the acquired knowledge. A person with T-shaped skills embodies this versatile profile or clearly represents their depth and breadth of ability.
“A person with T-shaped skills embodies this versatile profile or clearly represents their depth and breadth of ability.”
The concept of T-shaped skills was initially introduced by David Guest in 1991, and later gained popularity when Tim Brown, CEO of design firm IDEO, discussed the type of individuals he sought to recruit for his organization. Below is an example created by Buffer, which uses this chart to demonstrate how “Everyone on the Buffer marketing team will have all the base knowledge and marketing foundation skills listed in the diagram; plus, each teammate will have chosen at least one main channel in which they are an expert.”
Focusing on Talent, Not Tech
In this 2023 Deloitte Global Marketing Trends Report, brands are recognizing economic instability and inflation as significant concerns. As opposed to cutting costs, they are investing in new capabilities to address these challenges and drive growth.
The CMOs polled in the study identified three key priorities: 1) accelerate the adoption of new digital technologies and platforms, such as the Metaverse, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and digital currencies; 2) expand into new markets, segments and/or geographies; and 3) implement systems or algorithms to enhance customer personalization.
While these three strategic marketing priorities are very sound, they omit the required multifaceted skillset factor. I really like what was expressed in this HBR post: “Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to an even more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing your own and others’ potential.”
“You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to an even more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing your own and others’ potential.”
The importance of developing multidisciplinary skillsets and prioritizing a collaborative culture is reiterated in this McKinsey post. “While the holistic re-thinking of employee skills is not necessarily at the top of a CMO’s agenda, it is often a missing step for building and activating modern marketing capabilities. Today’s marketers need to be both a master of their domain and a jack-of-all-trades, and how to get there from pilot to scale.”
The same article shows why “Marketing will not be transformed by strength in one particular capability alone, even if it is built across the organization.” This is broken down into six essential capabilities:
Addressing Skills Gaps: Unlocking Potential Through Strategic Hiring
To efficiently address capability gaps within marketing teams, organizations are leveraging external resources and consultants. These professionals offer short-term, cost-effective solutions that tap into their unique skillsets to inform strategy, navigate processes and educate internal teams.
This form of strategic hiring is how ScheinerInc. is currently consulting for a prominent healthcare technology company, defining its go-to-market strategy, identifying lead-generation opportunities and providing UX recommendations to enhance the overall user experience of its analytics customer reporting dashboard. In addition, we act as an extension of the digital marketing team for a consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand, delivering ongoing strategic and creative support for its website and lead-generation activities.
By leveraging our “T-shaped” expertise, we enable our clients to achieve more with limited resources, effectively bridging areas lacking digital and traditional marketing expertise due to budget constraints or skill gaps.
If you’re seeking to bridge the digital marketing gaps within your marketing team or organization and want to learn more about how ScheinerInc. can help, we invite you to explore our comprehensive range of capabilitiesand success stories. Email us here to schedule a consultation and discover how we can maximize your marketing efforts to expedite revenue and scale.