A new war for talent – digital marketers vs. the technology companies

By Glen Hartman

Marketers and advertisers are on the battleground to compete against tech companies to recruit the next generation of talent. Today’s ‘war for talent’ is unique as it now involves a new sought after breed of marketer — someone who is more of a ‘Math Man’ than a ‘Mad Man’, and not only understands data and analytics, but also recognises the first principle of orchestrating relevant experiences is to understand consumer context.

Accenture’s 2012 CMO Insights Survey, the third in a series of global surveys aimed at understanding the opinions, challenges and points of view of senior marketing executives globally, highlighted this new focus on digital and analytics.

In the research, marketing executives said they are looking for more innovators – both by adding to their full-time staff and by seeking more innovation from agency partners. Half of the responding executives said they would begin an internal reorganisation to become more digitally focused, and more than half said they would be hiring more people with the necessary digital skills (52 percent) or providing their existing staff with digital training (55 percent).

This talent can help companies gain competitive advantage as they see innovation not as ancillary to marketing strategy and initiatives but as foundational. They relentlessly use the consumer perspective as a catalyst for innovation and understand technology enablement holistically – comfortable with the fact that technology, data and analytics is inextricably linked to marketing forever. This new digital-centric talent marries user experience design with the analysis of vast quantities and types of data across the consumer decision cycle. Then uncovers the intent of an individual within that cycle to deliver relevant and compelling experiences in real-time, which ultimately drives desired business outcomes.

The emphasis on digital skills is also reflected by a shift in budget allocation. In 2012, 53 percent of marketing executive respondents said that digital marketing represented less than 25 percent of their total marketing budget. However, two in three said that in the next financial year they expect to spend over 25 percent of their total marketing budget on digital marketing.

Businesses which feel ill-equipped to deal with the need for digital and analytical skills turn to their agencies and marketing service providers for support. Accenture’s survey showed that 55 percent of marketing executives said they were satisfied with the level of collaboration with their agencies, yet found there is a disconnect between expectations and results. Only 36 percent of marketing executives said that their agencies execute flawlessly, and 36 percent said that the agencies are not able to deliver what they promised. Only 44 percent said that agency partners help marketing executives transform their marketing organisation, which is a clear goal for marketing executives in 2013.

The key takeaways are that today’s CMO feels less prepared to meet their marketing objectives than in 2011 and that they face an increasingly complex marketing environment – from customers, channels and partners – combined with a lack of funding and internal barriers which are challenging their ability to improve marketing performance.

It is not all doom and gloom, however. CMOs recognize an insufficient digital orientation across the company and are shifting budgets toward digital with the expectation that it will improve marketing performance.

Looking forward, CMOs expect a fundamental change in the marketing function in the next five years to help them address complexity, evolving consumer behaviour, new operating models and the rise of digital, and so setting up their businesses for even stronger performance.

CMO Insights Survey methodology

The 2012 CMO Insights Survey is the third in a series of global surveys sponsored by Accenture aimed at understanding the opinions, challenges and points of view of senior marketing executives from around the world. The results are based on 405 surveys across 10 countries with senior marketing executives. Most respondents are from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues, with companies in France, Australia, Singapore and Brazil all having an annual revenue of at least $500 million. Accenture conducted an online survey in August and September of 2012.

About the author

Glen Hartman is a Global Managing Director, Digital Consulting for Accenture Interactive, a business unit dedicated to delivering integrated marketing, technology and analytics solutions for the digital world. In this role, Glen leverages his 25 years of experience in digital, multichannel and data-driven marketing to help Accenture clients achieve agile, intelligent marketing and develop lasting brands. Glen can be found on Twitter at @Hartmanglen.

About the company

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 266,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com.

Learn more at: http://www.accenture.com/us-en/consulting/interactive-marketing/Pages/interactive-marketing-index.aspx  

Read the full insights at: http://www.accenture.com/us-en/Pages/insight-turbulence-cmo-summary.aspx

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