Oct 25, 2022

How to Attract & Retain Digital Marketing Talent

Written by Clodagh O’Brien

Companies across industries are competing to get noticed online. That’s why digital marketing professionals are in demand and the need to retain talent is high on the agenda for many HR professionals. 

Employee experience (EX) has become a must for companies wanting to attract and retain key talent. That’s why according to wtw’s 2021 Employee Experience Survey, 92 percent of organizations are prioritizing EX enhancements over the next three years compared to just 52 percent pre-pandemic to increase employee engagement, drive productivity and create a happier workforce. 

As the need for digital marketers continues to grow (just see what CMOs are saying in our report), companies need to offer people more to stay. It’s no longer about unlimited holidays or bonuses, marketers want to work in an environment that values their talents and offers continuous learning opportunities and a clear career path.  

But how can your company achieve that? In this blog, we look at six effective ways to ensure your company retains the digital marketing talent needed to drive digital transformation.

1. Accelerate digital maturity

Rationale - Digital marketers are always on the lookout for the next big thing. By nature, they are curious and driven and want to use technology to drive engagement, leads and revenue. This means they want to work for digitally mature companies that provide access to the latest technology to drive online marketing activities but also collaborate and communicate in this age of hybrid and remote working

Benefits - Deloitte research found that research workers at digitally mature companies are five times more likely to be provided with the resources to innovate. And this is not limited to millennials but applies across the board and across all age groups, demonstrating a recognition of the influence of the digital environment. Organizations that nail down a digital strategy that includes people along with processes and technology are more successful in retaining talent.

Results - Mature organizations emphasize transforming the business through targeted improvements in innovation, decision-making, and talent engagement. These are the types of organizations people want to work for as they can pivot in response to challenges and offer a better employee experience and long-term career outlook than less mature organizations. 

Plus, 66 percent of employers expect to get a return on investment in upskilling and reskilling within one year according to ‘The Future of Jobs 2020’ report

2. Microlearning

Rationale: Time is precious and work is fast-paced on a digital marketing team. This means that access to learning and professional development opportunities needs to be as simple and flexible as possible. 

The answer? Online- or micro-learning. The popularity of online learning has surged in the past decade increasing from 300,000 in 2011 to 220 million in 2021 according to an EdSurge article. This popularity is down to affordability and access, but for those in digital marketing, it’s also due to the need to continuously upskill rather than just do a degree or course and you’re done! 

Benefits: By learning online, individuals have the opportunity to upskill at a pace that fits their schedule and have the power to dip into resources as and when required. The on-demand learning model offers easy access to content through any device, not just a laptop. Applications that capture lectures, aid revision, and exam preparation along with student planning provide new ways for students to learn and access syllabus on the go.

Results: The flexibility of online classes, the growth of hybrid models, and the ability to use smartphones and apps to conduct classwork have made online learning more appealing to students. For L&D departments, providing online learning gives access to data previously unavailable. Through analytics, organizations can track the behavior and engagement of employees and understand what specialties and formats prove most engaging and successful.

“91% of HR professionals believe that employee engagement is linked to performance” The Future of Employee Engagement 2021 from HR.com

3. Offer professional certification

Rationale: In today's ever-evolving digital landscape it's easy to get left behind. Today’s companies take different approaches when it comes to seeking employees that will fit in with their company culture, remain in their roles, and strive to move up the ranks. When employers are trying to choose between potential digital marketing candidates or looking to invest in the careers of their staff, an internationally recognized certification assures a candidate’s skill level.

Benefits: Not only does a qualification of this nature demonstrate niche skills and knowledge, but also a strong ethic for learning. Continuing learning demonstrates a desire to learn, commit, and grow. An external certification will also help an employee looking to learn new skills or a recent graduate hire keen to carve out a career in digital marketing.

Results: Gallup’s 'State of the American Workforce' report found that companies with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. By encouraging, and investing in staff to undertake courses that result in professional certification, a company can increase their productivity, profits, ROI and ultimately retain staff. Constant development is the best way to harvest talent and ensure an employee is continually honing their abilities by being challenged by their role. The long-term result is loyalty, cohesion, and of course, growth.

4. Keep on top of emerging industry trends

Rationale: In the world of digital, the pace of change is so rapid there is a critical need to upskill regularly to stay ahead of new technologies, strategies, and developments. Knowing the latest digital marketing trends and developments can provide emerging opportunities for professionals to engage with customers (current and future) and drive revenue.

Benefits: According to Statista, adults in the U.S. spent an average of eight hours and five minutes (485 minutes) with digital media each day in 2021, projected to increase to 508 minutes in 2024. 

Time spent with digital media  - U.S adults
Time spent with digital media - U.S adults

Embarking on a continuing education program ensures learners stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in their industry. Not only that, but an overall understanding of digital platforms and processes will ensure departments can pool together their newfound knowledge and collaborate to ensure success as one big, thriving commercial entity.

Results: Our report ‘Perpetual Evolution’ found that 74 percent of senior marketers believe that marketing organizations face a critical talent shortage due to a lack of digital skills. By keeping up with the major moves, shifts, and trends in the world of digital, an organization can beat out competitors to gain maximum exposure from new platforms before they become saturated (just think about the rapid rise of TikTok). As a result, companies will be able to expand their brand's reach, become an authority in their field, and enjoy a boost in sales.

5. Provide transferable qualifications

Rationale: Continuous learning that leads to a professional certification that is recognized from industry to industry, as well as from country to country, provides digital marketing professionals with the chance to move roles and progress their careers in more ways than ever before.

Benefits: A qualification that is recognized across the board is important to professionals across the globe, particularly those under 40 as nearly a third report being willing to move for a ‘better’ job, reports Gallup. By upskilling your workforce, you can develop teams of people that can transfer skills between departments and create a well-oiled workforce without gaping skills gaps, making innovation and progression easier than ever before.

Results: The more transferable skills a person gains, the more valuable that person will be to your organization regarding skill level, independent thinking, problem-solving, and overall output. Investing in a workforce will ensure your company stays relevant and remains up to date with the constant changes of the ever-evolving digital landscape, securing a bright and prosperous future.

6. Increase job satisfaction

Rationale: With 58 percent of Americans reporting stress daily in their job, many employees believe it’s a good time to reconsider their options according to the ‘State of the Global Workforce: 2022’ report. For many of today’s workers, company culture is just as important as compensation and promotions. 

Benefits: To increase job satisfaction, professionals that feel valued by their employer are far more likely to be engaged in their work and ultimately more willing to stick around. Those with a lack of direction or the prospect of development in their current job role are unmotivated and don't perform at an optimum level.

Results: Highly engaged organizations are three times more likely to have managers that are skilled at fostering engagement in teams are twice as likely to train managers in how to boost employee engagement and are twice as likely to invest in engagement resources according to ‘The Future of Employee Engagement 2021’.  

Job satisfaction and employee engagement do more than just boost productivity; they help to tackle costly issues in a business such as outcomes including absenteeism and turnover. Businesses that retain digital marketing staff become stronger, better able to adapt to industry changes, and are ultimately more successful.

Conclusion: Retaining digital marketing talent

Digital marketers can reach millions of prospects and customers every day. They can use digital strategies and platforms to engage, influence and convert to make money for your business. 

But to do that, they require ongoing training and access to courses and certifications that refresh their knowledge and enable them to learn new and in-demand skills. As digital transformation continues to be a priority, longevity lies in the digital capabilities of your staff and the adaptability of the learning and development programs you choose to upskill your workforce.

Build the digital marketing capabilities of your staff

Digital marketers are in huge demand right now and will seek out employers that provide them with a clear career path. Retain your staff by offering industry-aligned and flexible digital marketing certifications that can enhance employee productivity, engagement and well-being. Contact us today to find out more. 

Clodagh O’Brien
Clodagh O’Brien

Clodagh O'Brien is a content creator and strategist. Over the last 12 years, she has created and managed content for many SMEs and global brands. She's passionate about digital marketing and the impact of technology on culture and society. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.  

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