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New Research from the Digital Marketing Institute Shows US Professionals are Struggling to Compete in Digital Marketing

22nd September 2016

The global study finds that professional marketers are failing to achieve entry-level competency in digital marketing...

The Digital Marketing Institute, the global certification standard in digital marketing education, has released Missing the Mark: The Digital Marketing Skills Gap in the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland.

The report highlights that while digital marketing is increasingly important for organizations of all sizes, the majority of marketing professionals fail to achieve entry-level competency in digital marketing after gauging their skill levels through a diagnostic exam.

In the United States, 51% of marketers rated themselves as very or fairly competent in digital marketing, but in a test-based review, only 8% of these professionals actually reached a competent skill level. Overall, U.S. marketers scored an average of 38% on the digital marketing diagnostic exam. U.S. professionals scored highest in mobile skills, with an average score of 39%, and lowest in display, with an average score of 35%. Marketers need to score at least 60% on the diagnostic in order to achieve entry-level competency in digital marketing.

“We’re seeing a worrying trend in digital marketing skills,” said the Co-Founder and Director of the Digital Marketing Institute, Ian Dodson. “Even though digital marketing has become increasingly essential for businesses, there is a persistent, and growing, global skills gap that threatens to undermine future organizational growth. In the U.S. alone, 45% of marketers cite a lack of in-house expertise as one of their greatest challenges, and there is an urgent need for digital skills education for professionals.”

The U.S. is tied with Ireland in overall digital marketing skill levels and only slightly ahead of the United Kingdom, where marketing professionals scored an average of 37% on the diagnostic exam.

The research also offers a detailed demographic breakdown of the most skilled digital marketers by a variety of criteria, including age, size of company, and employment status.

In addition to the diagnostic review, the report also looks at organizational engagement and attitudes toward digital marketing. In the United States, only 31% of marketers say their organizations are very or fairly engaged with digital marketing. Fewer than one in five U.S. marketers work for companies that offer digital marketing training, and close to half say that a lack of resources is their greatest challenge when embracing digital transformation. Despite widespread acknowledgement that businesses will need to become more focused on digital marketing in the next two years, 59% of U.S. marketing professionals say that their organizations lack the necessary sense of urgency in their approach to digital adoption.

“In addition to digital technologies, organizations must invest in digital marketing and digital skills education,” said Dodson “Without this investment, businesses risk falling behind and becoming less competitive in the global market.”

The research was prepared by Behavior & Attitudes, in conjunction with the Digital Marketing Institute. Respondents in each country were asked to complete a qualitative survey, in addition to a comprehensive digital skills diagnostic exam.

This year’s study underscores the growing need for digital skills education and professional certification in the United States and abroad. The Digital Marketing Institute offers courses in over 80 countries worldwide.

About the Digital Marketing Institute

Founded in Dublin, Ireland in 2008, the Digital Marketing Institute is the certification standard in digital marketing education, training more graduates to a single standard than any other certification body.

The organisation works with the world’s largest and most influential brands to define the skills and qualifications required to excel in this rapidly growing industry through its Diploma, Postgraduate and Masters education programs. Industry-validated, the Digital Marketing Institute’s training is taught full-time, part-time and online in over 80 countries by the Digital Marketing Institute and its network of licensed education partners. 

The Digital Marketing Institute now certifies digital professionals through the following channels:

  •  Online: Where students can study for certification directly with the Digital Marketing Institute through online learning
  •  Licence: Where the Digital Marketing Institute licences its syllabus to an approved third party organisation to teach the content on its behalf
  •  Corporate: Where the Digital Marketing Institute offers access to its learning library to enterprise level corporates and delivers tailored certification programmes