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Multi-skilled online marketing teams increasing in demand

Richard Bell

Specially skilled online marketers are becoming less sought after, as companies hire digital marketers and engage with agencies offering more all-encompassing skills.

Where once firms would take on  one marketer with specialist knowledge of social media, another with a career focused on search engine optimisation (SEO), and even a third to handle PPC campaigns, now that is no longer the case.

That is the opinion of the EMEA marketing director of Adobe, John Watton, who while addressing the candidates at the 2014 Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium said that blended online skills are now essential to business marketing.

Mr Watton stated:

“We need more generalists who can look across the channels and drive the right mix for whatever we’re trying to do.”

He later added that his company looked for a mix of skills, as well as for people who understood the “digital age” as a whole, rather than online versus offline.

The generalisation of online marketing was highlighted by another panel speaker, the head of customer marketing for Totaljobs Group, Jonathan Hedger. He raised the issue that, since 2011, three times as many positions in marketing being advertised on their sites contained the word “digital”.

Mr Hedger said:

“That demonstrates the fact that businesses consider digital to be an inherent part of a marketing job – it’s not something separate anymore.”

The views of Watton and Hedger were largely backed up by the director of marketing technology for Motorola Solutions, Simon Jones. However, Mr Jones opined that whilst generalist marketers would indeed be needed more and more, specialists would still be vital.

With online marketing agencies bringing together professional content writers, social, SEO, and PPC experts to power the change, Mr Jones added:

“I think there’s going to be a core of generalists… and then two or three specialist groups that go out and do the pathfinding for the organisation.”

It is likely that the practice of in-house staff owning general skills, working closely with agencies with specialist and generalist teams, will continue to be the route taken by firms large and small in the future.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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