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EconsultancyLynchpin-Analytics-Skills-Highest-Demand-Jul2016Data analytics is perceived to be the most difficult skill to find when building marketing teams, per a recent survey of marketing leaders across industries. So which specific analytics skills are the most sought after? A new report [download page] from Econsultancy and Lynchpin asked just that of more than 350 company marketers.

Reporting skills are the most in-demand at organizations, per respondents, 77% of whom said they are in “high demand.” At least 6 in 10 also pointed to skills including the use of digital analytics tools (70%), conversion rate optimization (66%) and project management (60%).

Interestingly, while reporting skills are in the highest demand, they represent the area where the fewest company marketers identified a skills gap. Instead, statistical modeling (49% ranking as a top-3 gap), business intelligence tools use (44%), conversation rate optimization (39%) and digital analytics tools use (38%) are the areas where respondents see the biggest gaps.

Some interesting trends appear in comparing this year’s study results to last year’s edition, particularly as relating to digital analytics and business intelligence tools. The use of digital analytics tools was the only analytics area (of 11 measured) in which slightly fewer respondents this year saw high in-house demand. Likewise, there continues to be a decline in the proportion of respondents who see a skills gap in this area at their organization. In other words, marketers seem to be having a better time finding digital analytics talent.

The opposite pattern emerges for the use of business intelligence tools. Some 58% of respondents (primarily from the UK and Europe) say this is an area of “high demand” at their organization, marking a large jump from 44% last year. At the same time, 44% rate the use of BI tools as a top-3 choice in terms of skills gaps, up from 38% last year.

This may also correspond to greater use of business intelligence tools. This year, almost two-thirds (64%) of company respondents reported using BI tools, up from 54% last year and 49% the year before. BI tools are now the 4th-most used, behind only social analytics (69%), Excel (95%) and web analytics (97%).

More companies are also turning to their vendors for support: 34% this year pay for support or consultancy from a digital analytics vendor, up from 24% last year. Respondents see a variety of vendor support services as being “critical” or “important,” ranging from recommending the best way of making the most of a specific tool (93%) to supporting integration with other tools and technologies from the vendor (84%). Satisfaction (ratings of “excellent” or “good”) are highest for deployment support (65%), but lowest for supporting integration with other tools and technologies from other vendors, per the report. The biggest discrepancy between vendor support importance and satisfaction was in recommending the best way of making the most of a specific tool.

Satisfaction with the support received from analytics vendors has increased from last year, with respondents now almost 5 times more likely to be satisfied (38%) as dissatisfied (8%).

Overall, 51% of company respondents expect their analytics budget to increase when it comes to technology, though that’s down from 56% last year and 61% the year before. Only slightly more than one-third (36%) will spend more on internal staff, down from 50% last year. Instead, more expect to hike their digital analytics consulting and services budgets, with 46% (up from 36% last year) planning such an increase.

About the Data: The report is based on an online survey fielded among 960 respondents, including both in-house digital professionals and analytics (56%) and supply-side respondents (44%). Six in 10 respondents are based in the UK, with an additional 16% based in Europe (non-UK). Respondents are from a variety of company sizes, with the retail (12%), financial services (11%), travel and leisure (10%) and media (10%) industries the most heavily represented.

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