Marriott’s observation underscores the widespread gap between industry demands and the digital capabilities of many marketing professionals.
In discussions regarding the current state of the marketing industry, Marriott Lusengo, the esteemed founder and CEO of the London School of Digital Marketing, sheds light on three crucial aspects: the skills gap, data privacy, and the significance of specialization when it comes to a digital marketing career. Marriott emphasizes the need to address the disparity in skills among marketers, stresses the importance of safeguarding data privacy, and advocates for professionals to hone their expertise in specific areas of digital marketing.
Tell us about London School of Digital Marketing
London School of Digital Marketing, established in 2014, emerged as a response to the pressing need for digital marketing education and the growing skills gap in the field. Originating from the challenges faced by businesses in finding adequately skilled staff, the school has since evolved into a big player in providing global accredited digital marketing training and certification. With a network of graduates securing quality employment within 123 days after completing a professional diploma course and leading the way in the digital industry, London School of Digital Marketing has made significant strides.
Do you believe that modern marketing professionals possess the necessary skills for practically handling digital marketing effectively?
When it comes to modern marketing professionals, the unfortunate reality is that the majority are not fully equipped for the digital challenges they face. Numerous reports consistently highlight the industry’s digital skills gap especially a study published by Adobe called Digital Literacy. It highlights that graduates enter the workforce without the skills or ability to use and deploy digital marketing strategies to meet work-related goals.
Another previous study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute revealed that 93% of agency executives recognize significant knowledge gaps in digital, while 78% of clients express concerns about their agency’s proficiency in the digital realm. These findings underscore the pressing need for improved digital expertise among marketing professionals.
Our own Digital Skills Test we administer, has been completed by over 10,000 professionals, has unveiled concerning trends in skills. In certain regions, a staggering eight out of ten professionals failed to reach entry-level competency in the assessment. We observed that skill levels vary across industries, with some demonstrating a solid understanding of digital while others lag behind. For instance, the travel industry tends to be more adept, whereas the retail or insurance sectors have been slower to embrace digital, resulting in lower skill scores. Overall, however, the proficiency level across sectors falls short of what it should be.
What is your stance on the ongoing debate between data and creativity in the field of marketing and advertising?
When it comes to the ongoing debate between data and creativity in the digital marketing and advertising realm, it is crucial to acknowledge the significant roles both elements play in shaping successful strategies and campaigns. Data-driven insights provide valuable information and analytics that fuel the generation of innovative ideas. By leveraging data, marketers can gain a deep understanding of their target audience, identify trends, and uncover hidden opportunities.
An example is the most recent training London School of Digital Marketing delivered to Jamie Oliver Group (JO) on data analysis and creativity. The training allowed JO to analyse what good data is, how to collect data, why they should collect particular data and which tools are best to collect data to ultimately gain a deeper understanding of its target audience, identify patterns, and make informed decisions regarding product development, marketing strategies, and customer engagement.
Additionally, the training also covered how JO can leverage data-driven insights, create targeted campaigns, deliver personalized content, and provide relevant recommendations, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.
On the other hand, the creativity and branding side of the training played a vital role in differentiating the Jamie Oliver Group from its competitors and allows the company to develop unique and compelling content, innovative recipes, and engaging storytelling that resonates with customers on an emotional level. By infusing creativity into their brand and marketing efforts, the Jamie Oliver Group can now establish a strong brand identity and build a loyal customer base. Moreover, data and creativity will work hand in hand to drive innovation within the company.
I personally think data alone is not sufficient to achieve outstanding results. Creativity is equally essential in capturing the attention and interest of consumers. In the case of Jamie
Oliver Group, the training has allowed its employees to think outside the box, develop unique concepts and deliver messages that resonate with their audience on an emotional level.
Moreover, the integration of data-driven insights and creativity is a winning combination. By combining the analytical power of data with imaginative thinking, marketers can create strategies and campaigns that not only capture attention but also deliver personalized and relevant experiences to consumers.
What emerging advancements are expected to revolutionize the way marketers operate?
Several developments are poised to transform the way marketers operate. Most recently, AI. It has revolutionized marketing by empowering marketers with advanced data analysis capabilities, automation, personalized experiences, improved customer service, and predictive insights. As AI continues to advance, other professions including marketers and us can expect further transformation in the operational processes and strategies, leading to more effective and efficient marketing campaigns.
Also, the increasing empowerment of customers, where control shifts into their hands, will reshape products, services, and disrupt various industries in the coming years.
Privacy and security are significant concerns within the digital industry. As companies strive to personalize experiences and enhance convenience, it becomes crucial for consumers to feel confident in sharing their personal information, free from the fear of hacking or illicit use.
What key advice would you offer to a digital marketer in the present day?
We are witnessing an increasing number of students entering college with a burning desire to make a difference in the digital realm. However, they often lack exposure to practical projects, tools, and assignments that foster the acquisition of essential digital skills required for success in contemporary careers. It is our responsibility as a digital marketing school to bridge this gap and empower students with the tools and training they need.
Through our comprehensive courses like The Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, we strive to equip students with practical skills that are relevant to both the present and future workforce. By providing hands-on training and valuable resources, we aim to enable students to develop viable skills and competencies aligned with the evolving demands of the digital landscape.
“It used to be that people thought about digital technology as belonging only to certain areas and disciplines like communication, journalism, or marketing,” says Marriott Lusengo. In today’s landscape, Content Marketing, Strategy & Planning, Data Analytics, SEO, and Paid Search have become essential skills across all professions and industries. Job seekers including career changers seeking digital marketing opportunities in any organization and industry, will need to be able to have the practical skills and negotiate digital conversations effectively.” I think the following should be taken into consideration;
- Begin with a customer-centric approach, whether working independently or within a multinational company. Put the customer at the forefront and maintain a relentless focus on their needs.
- While newer channels may seem enticing, don’t neglect the tried and tested routes. Email marketing, for example, remains highly effective for awareness, acquisition, retention, and conversion, despite predictions of its demise.
- Integration is key. Ensure that your marketing activities are cohesive and interconnected. Avoid situations where billboards lack domain names, advertisements lead to product-discovery challenges on websites, or unanswered texts create communication gaps.
What guidance would you offer to young individuals contemplating a career in marketing?
For young individuals considering a career in marketing, specialization is advised. Digital marketing encompasses numerous channels, offering 10 to 15 potential career paths. While there is demand for general digital practitioners at senior levels, it is advisable to select one area and strive to become an expert in it. Absorb comprehensive knowledge on the subject and apply it actively.
Leverage the wealth of online learning resources available today. Take advantage of the numerous free options. However, to stand out and be recognized by employers globally, it is crucial to pursue accredited and recognized certifications.
At the London School of Digital Marketing, we understand the importance of nurturing the digital aspirations of students and preparing them to thrive in their chosen career paths. By offering practical projects, tools, and assignments that foster digital skill development, we aim to empower our students to become successful professionals in the ever-changing digital world.