Sep 22, 2016

Why your organization needs digital skills training

by Digital Marketing Institute

Digital is transformative. Consumers are now empowered by search engines and social media at every stage of their customer journey – 81% of them conduct online research before making a purchase, and 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before they reach out to a sales rep. Digital has enabled consumers to self-educate, and be much more scrupulous when making their definitive purchase decision.

This creates an obligation for organizations to acknowledge and adapt to this digital growth if they want to achieve lasting customer success and be as profitable as possible. 76% of marketers think that marketing has changed more in the past two years than the past fifty, which means that continual upskilling is essential.

87% of companies think that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity.

Organizations who make the decision to engage customers and prospects with a well-considered digital marketing strategy will find it easier to build brand awareness, generate cost savings, and ultimately drive revenue. This is why skilled digital professionals are an indispensable asset.

Yet despite the unquestionable benefits that digital brings, a high volume of organizations remains resistant to the use of digital tools and technologies, a fact that we’ve outlined our in 2016 Digital Skills Report. Whether it’s a lack of available budget and resources, a fear of loss of control or a general scepticism that digital can provide a significant return on investment, these barriers to digital adoption must be overcome to guarantee ongoing organizational success.

30% of marketers claim that a lack of training in new skills is a top barrier to success.

The answer is simple. A short term investment in digital skills training will result in long term reward - empowering an organization and its employees, maintaining their competitive advantage and ensuring they don’t get left behind.

If you’re still in any doubt as to how your organization could benefit from a strategic, sustainable digital education plan, we’ve outlined some key advantages below:

1. Digital skills can motivate employees

Currently, there is an unprecedented global digital skills shortage affecting all industries. As a result, the recruitment of competent candidates presents a problem to organizations of every size.

As they are in competition with each other to hire the few digitally engaged professionals that exist, smaller businesses suffer, failing to match the increasingly lucrative salaries and benefits packages easily offered by their corporate competitors.

Yet despite this urgent demand, digital skill levels worldwide are staggeringly low. In our 2016 Digital Skills Report, marketers across Ireland, the UK and the USA, when tested on their digital competence, scored just 38% on average. This is coupled with a widespread acknowledgment that they will need to improve their digital marketing skills to remain competent in their roles (86% Ireland, 69% UK and USA).

More and more, companies are looking to hire skilled professionals internationally as a solution to this scarcity of talent. However, the easier, and ultimately more cost effective option is to cultivate an indigenous talent pool.

According to Adobe, organizations with a plan for their digital maturity aim to train and develop the skills of their existing workforce. They recognize that training, and the opportunity for professional and personal development is often a main priority for employees. Without it, they can feel unstimulated and disillusioned.

If organizations empower their employees with a digital education, not only will they benefit from their new digital capabilities and incentivized attitude, they can leverage the training as a powerful retention tool as well.

90% of companies claim that the main benefit of digital transformation is the increase in employee productivity.

2. Digital skills can help to drive more revenue

Digital tools and technologies have already had a profound impact on the global economy. In 2016, global online advertising revenue will surpass TV advertising for the first time, and total digital advertising revenue is forecasted to reach over 260 billion US dollars by 2020.

Digital ad spend and marketing budgets are systematically expanding as a growing number of organizations have begun to acknowledge the business benefits that digital can bring. According to a report from Capgemini, companies with stronger digital intensity derive more revenue from their physical assets and are between 9 to 26% more profitable.

There have been too many technological advancements for organizations to thrive on traditional marketing and selling approaches alone. Only 28% of prospects that are cold called actually engage in conversations, and only 1% of those cold calls will ultimately convert into appointments. As consumers become more empowered by digital, they rely less on the expertise of sales reps and more on their own ability to research. In response to this shift in power, organizations need to revitalize their sales and marketing functions and utilize the same channels and platforms their customers do in order to reach them effectively.

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interaction with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

Digital skills can enable your organization to better nurtures its customer relationships, establish itself as an industry thought-leader and convert more buyers throughout the customer journey. Digital skills training will release this potential.

3. Digital skills can generate significant cost savings

We’ve all heard the phrase “spend money to make money”. But what about spending money to save money too? With a complete digital skillset, your organization can achieve both.

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) collected training information from over 2500 firms and found that organizations that offer comprehensive training have 218% higher income per employee than those with less comprehensive training. This means the simple act of motivating employees through skills training can save a substantial amount of money for an organization. Similarly, according to the American Management Association, the cost of hiring and training a new employee is between 25 to 200% of annual compensation, so skills training can cut costs again by alleviating unnecessary employee turnover. In addition to this, other financial benefits can include labour savings, reduction in lost workdays and productivity increases.

Digital marketing’s main principles are based on efficiency and cost-effectiveness:

  • Precise ad targeting options can result in a lower Cost-Per-Lead
  • Easy and immediate online interactions with a segmented target audience can generate more conversions for less cost
  • An abundance of data from analytics tools provide invaluable insight that can help to refine a digital strategy and avoid unnecessary spending.

According to Gartner, 40% of organizations claimed they received considerable cost savings from using digital marketing methods to promote their products and services. These savings can then be taken and reinvested into more digital marketing techniques and tactics to reiterate revenue success at a lower overall expenditure.

4. Digital skills can help your organization to develop a competitive edge

A strong digital skillset is no longer a luxury for organizations – it’s a fundamental element of any competitive business model. Yet despite this, our latest skills report found that organizations remain largely disengaged with digital. Only 31% of US organizations, 25% UK and 40% in Ireland are felt to be digitally engaged, and the general consensus among employees is that the pace of technological and digital change is too slow.

According to McKinley, 90% of all marketing roles now require digital skills. This is because digital specialisms are infinitely more targeted, efficient and measurable in comparison to traditional techniques. Digital is a data-driven enabler for success. It can streamline processes and the accompanying effort required, whilst expanding capabilities. Being able to gain precise insights and translate those insights into actions means that, if leveraged successfully, digital tools and channels can help organizations to develop, and maintain an impactful competitive advantage.

Social media can provide a platform for meticulous online customer service that will improve retention rates. Mobile marketing can help an organization to develop a ubiquitous brand presence. Email marketing can nurture valuable relationships through useful content at every stage of the customer journey. And every campaign you construct can be measured and optimized using analytics tools.

Some of the main barriers to digital adoption is a lack of expertise in-house, as well as a lack of organizational commitment to the area. In order to realize the potential that digital holds for your organization, it’s essential to have the requisite skills training to be able to understand its significant benefits and take action.

To find out more about the current state of digital and why your organization should adopt these tools and techniques, you can click to download our 2016 Skills Report here.

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