Digital Ad Talent Could Be A Whole Lot Better All Around, A Survey Says

Maybe it’s true that the biz moves too fast. Or maybe it’s just true that the digital ad space is one underserved industry. Or both.

A new report from ClickZ, the Online Marketing Institute, and Kelly Services makes the provocative claim that advertising bosses and marketing executives  at Fortune 500 companies are severely underwhelmed by what a lot of their employees bring to the table.

But I read portions of the report and muttered to myself, “Physician, heal thyself,” or to put it in the parlance of the playground rather than the language of my pal Luke from the Bible, “Takes one to know one.”  

In any event, it would appear from this report that the digital talent pool is very murky .   

ClickZ quotes Aaron Kahlow, the CEO and founder of the Online Marketing Institute, who concludes, “Most people are still missing the basic essentials of all the major disciplines of digital.”

There are some pretty basic problems.  The report says, for example, that bosses don’t have any clear standards about  what/who it is they’re looking for, and hire without very clear expectations about what performance they’re expecting.  

Here’s an eye-opener: One-third of the respondents—there were 747—say they haven’t hired anyone in the last year because they’re overwhelmed by the number of talent sources available and can’t figure out which ones to trust. Fully 24% of the agency respondents and 30% from large companies say they can’t weed through applicant resumes to determine who has the right skills and who doesn’t.

While that leaves a substantial bunch of executives who do have that ability, that’s still a huge chunk who don’t and were truthful enough to admit it. 

The State of Digital Marketing report says “Close to 80% would value an on-demand library of digital marketing classes, with almost 70% being interested in customized eLearning of digital marketing skills or in-person workshops or training.” Even if that response is inflated—I think of lot of survey respondents like to seem open to the idea of continuing education and it is very, very important to remember that  OMI is in the training business-- that is a pretty significant stat.

Overall, 80% of the companies surveyed say they are challenged finding and retaining talent, and 40% have open positions of some type. 

There are some weird admissions: 58% of agencies think mobile marketing skills are important/very important. But only 29% think their digital team is better at providing it  than the competition.  Just 8% say their digital staff is fully competent, but 71% say it has gaping holes of mediocrity or worse.

Even though being not-young myself, I am amused to read some parts of this study that indicate the respondents are grumpy about their new hires. The survey reports that 70% of them think their young hires have a sense of entitlement and expect to be hired for upper-level positions and move through the hierarchy too quickly.  

Bosses don’t like your attitude.

But, man, it’s easy to explain.  At the client and the advertiser end, the whole digital expedition is about snagging youthful consumers using a new advertising medium that speaks uniquely to them—you know, the whole native/immigrant thing.  So why shouldn’t the young worker feel a sense of entitlement? It’s the whole damn idea.  It seems one of the logical outcomes of a survey like this might be to have new digital hires tell their bosses what they think they’ve been hired to do, and see if the reality and the perception are even close.

1 comment about "Digital Ad Talent Could Be A Whole Lot Better All Around, A Survey Says ".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, November 16, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

    The lack of comments here speaks for itself.

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