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Organizations seeking data centricity are no better off this year than last in terms of having the right talent in place, according to an IAB and Winterberry Group survey [pdf] of 113 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers and marketing service providers primarily based in North America.

Respondents – who have a high degree of knowledge with respect to data and its various marketing applications – were asked to rate their confidence that the people in their organization have the right expertise, skills and experience to support their efforts to derive value from the use of data.

On a 5-point scale, a plurality (38.5%) of respondents rated their confidence a middling 3. And the remaining respondents were slightly more likely to rate their confidence on the lower end of the scale (1-2: 32%) as the higher end (4-5: 29.5%).

The resulting index score of 2.92 on a 5-point scale represents a moderate degree of confidence at best, and is down from 3.07 last year.

Analytics Skills Are the Most In-Demand

The specific skillset and functional competency that will be most important in years to come is data analytics, per survey respondents. Fully 87% recognize its important to future data-driven marketing efforts, consistent with last year’s results.

But coming across such talent isn’t easy. Lack of data analytics skills among staff has been noted as one of the top hindrances for B2B organizations seeking to leverage data to achieve go-to-market goals. More broadly, a survey of CMOs found that data analytics skills are among the most highly desirable, but also are the most challenging to find when hiring.

The persistent issues with finding analytics talent may explain why organizations are now looking to third-party partners to support their efforts to leverage analytics.

Returning to the IAB and Winterberry Group survey, and the results show an increased need for data management and processing talent. Some 81% of respondents realize the importance of this skillset for their data-driven efforts in the years to come, up from 69% in last year’s survey.

This likely relates to the continued difficulties integrating data across technologies, as marketers have said that difficulties unifying different data sources have hindered their efforts to build a joined-up view of the customer journey.

In order to support development of these skillsets and functionalities, respondents see the following training and staff development initiatives as being most important:

  • The development of a data-driven organization culture (63%);
  • Data analytics/modeling training (59%); and
  • Cross-organization training on data-driven marketing/media applications (46%).

The full report is available to access here [pdf].

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