Get off the fence about marketing skills

I've just finished reading an article in Marketing Magazine entitled "Is the talent shortage in the marketing industry a myth?" It presents views from three senior professionals who believe that yes, it is a myth and three who think it isn't. I came away confused - and frankly, irritated by the way the argument sits on the fence.

My problem with the article is that the "yes" people and the "no" people are pretty much using the same argument to prove both cases. The "yeses" believe that the individuals with the skills that marketing needs right now - agility, great business sense, data literacy, digital expertise and more, aren't in short supply. They're out there, they're simply going elsewhere - towards tech or finance, or into entrepreneurship.

The "no" people believe that the reason there's a shortage of marketing talent is that marketing departments and agencies aren't doing enough to attract the people with the right skills, so guess what, they're going elsewhere!

Who'd have thought?

Excuse the sarcasm, but the truth is that there are more opportunities out there for talented people than ever before. Those who are smart enough and quick enough to respond to - even anticipate - changing trends will have the pick of the jobs. And the organisations which attract them will be the ones who know the importance of offering the right environment and even more opportunity going forward. As one of the contributors to the Marketing article says: "Talented people want to see how they can progress, grow, learn and achieve - not just earn a wage."

We all know that marketing has changed, is still changing and will continue to change as long as new technologies, new techniques, and new appetites for them, keep advancing.

Which means there will always be new things to learn. Those who don't keep their knowledge and skills up to date will be in danger of missing out on the opportunities available to those who do. And companies that don't provide the right opportunities will miss out on the talent.

And the IDM has never been on the fence about that. Never been anywhere near the fence. The only way to keep marketing vibrant, responsive and a great profession to be a part of is to keep developing talented people. It's motivating, it improves performance, improves campaigns, improves marketing as a whole, and ultimately, professional standards.

Just because we won't sit on a fence doesn't mean we won't climb on a soapbox...!

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