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Digital specialists vs marketing generalists: 78% of Marketing Directors want both in their team


Updated: 04 Nov 2018

78% of Marketing Directors want both generalist and digital specialist skills in their team, according to recruiting experts Hays.

Hays’ DNA of a Marketing Director report, which is based on a survey of over 400 current marketing heads, found just 13% said the lateral or broad-based skills of generalists are more valuable than the combination of generalist and specialist skills. The final 9% said that specialist expertise is more important to lead and guide on new trends.

As for their own skills, 77% of Marketing Directors have developed their digital skills to complement their traditional marketing skills. To do this, 80% read publications, blogs or news articles, 66% attend industry events, conferences and or meetups and 40% undertake formal courses or training paid for by their employer.
“Many generalist marketers have focused on becoming digital specialists out of fear their career would suffer if they failed to do so,” said Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. “But despite the focus on digital, it seems that Marketing Directors still value generalists as much as specialists.

“For aspiring Marketing Directors, the message here is to acquire broad-based generalist skills so you can understand the end-to-end marketing function, but at the same time, find your niche and develop specialist skills that could put you in the driver’s seat.”

To access digital expertise, Marketing Directors also work with an external digital agency (83%), train up existing staff as needed (73%) and have employed a permanent digital expert in the past year (51%).

In addition, 40% have employed a temporary or contract digital worker. “With digital transformations occurring at a rapid pace, in turn widening the technological skills gap, contractors are seen as an ideal solution,” said Jason.

In terms of how they upskill their staff, the most popular options are training run by digital agencies, ADMA training, internal workshops and bringing digital agency talent in-house.
According to the survey respondents, the digital skills that are hardest to find are data analytics (51%), marketing automation (41%), digital lead conversion (32%), SEO & SEM (25%) and digital content production (24%).

DNA of a Marketing Director is available at www.hays.net.nz/marketing-director


About Hays

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

For further information please contact Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, on adam.shapley@hays.net.nz or +64 (0) 9 375 9424.

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