Determining the Right Training Mix for Your Marketing Team | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Determining the Right Training Mix for Your Marketing Team

November 8, 2021

By Jerusha Harvey


Equipping Today's Marketers to Drive Tomorrow's Growth

If you're wondering how to best allocate your marketing training budget in 2022 (assuming you are lucky enough to have a dedicated budget for talent development), there are a few different ways to go about determining the right training mix. Depending on your needs and team culture, one or more of the following can help guide your allocation process:

1. Polling. This first option is of course the most straightforward, a survey. It's fairly easy to ask talent what skills they feel they need support in. And, when they feel their responses are being taken seriously, colleagues are more likely to share this information. 

2. Skills gap assessment. Another option is to assess teams' strengths in certain areas with a formal skills gap assessment. Here, employees rank their own assessment of their skill level in given competency areas. Usually, the list is pre-determined by marketing leadership, sometimes in connection with an outside service provider.

Employee self-assessment gives one layer of insight. Comparing that against the outcomes of the same assessment from the POV of marketing leadership – or even better, industry talent benchmarking – gives an even more robust and nuanced perspective to build on. This can help streamline your training focus and make clear the best pathway to upskill your own team.

3. Look to the industry. Issues top of mind for CMOs have a direct implication for talent and the people working alongside leadership to help protect the health of the brand. According to Forbes, here are some of the top areas of concern for most CMOs. This can be used as a guide when deciding where to focus training investments. Or, check out the priority areas highlighted by the ANA's CMO community as key to growth in the next five years.

Data and Tech Skills

How do you drive efficiency in marketing? Besides balance sheets and implementing agile principles, one way to drive efficiency is to leverage your data effectively and use it to make the smartest decisions possible. Yet one of the largest areas of skills gap in marketing continues to be data and tech.

One of the unique challenges to the modern marketing team is the need to layer data into its creative decisions. According to MarTech Advisor, "one champion billboard, commercial, or banner ad — no matter how jaw-dropping — will usually lose to a smarter data-driven competitor in today's world."

Filling data and tech roles in marketing goes beyond finding the best data geeks – it also requires a keen ability to communicate effectively with peers and decision-makers. While some think of communication skills as a "soft talent" that a marketer either has or doesn't have, the truth is that the ability to translate and communicate data into actionable insights is a skill that can be taught, provided the learner has the requisite background.

Customer Experience and Personalization

James Punishill, CMO of Lionbridge, said in an interview with Gartner,

"As marketers race to harness recent exponential advances in artificial intelligence and automation, data-driven thinking and experiences are becoming commonplace. But savvy marketers know that their customers are still people – not segments, archetypes or the sum of their latest actions. The more we use data and technology to communicate and interact with our customers, the greater becomes our need to understand and incorporate context, state of mind and customer pain."

You can be as tech savvy and data crunching as you like, but if your team lacks the ability to translate tools into valuable insights that benefit the customer, then brand growth may suffer.

The customer is most certainly king. And what the customer wants is changing. Many companies are now turning to training in the areas of social drivers, merging data and insights, and omnichannel customer journey mapping to support marketers' driving growth for brands. Without a doubt, supporting marketing talent in these areas will yield benefits in winning customer loyalty and improving overall performance.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

ANA offers professional training services across 4 key areas – Marketing Strategy & Planning, Marketing Execution, Marketing ROI, and Business Skills. With over 100 programs in specific competencies (such as Digital, DEI or Data & Tech) we provide talent transformation solutions that drive growth. All training is aligned to the ANA's Capability Diagnostic Tool. Chat with us to learn more about developing bespoke training for your brand.

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