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THEME #5.
Bridging the skills gaps

PART OF THE CREATIVE PARTNER SERIES

Written by: 
By Sean Masters

Estimated reading time: 
2 minutes, 43 seconds.

To better understand the challenges that Marketing Managers’ face when working with a creative partner, we asked a group of senior marketing professionals for their thoughts.

The feedback was rich with over-lapping experiences. So, we thought we would share them with you, adding our perspective too.

Here’s what they said…  

External expertise

Everyone who took part stated that external expertise is a key advantage to using a creative partner. Some, more specifically, said they use agencies to fill strategic and tactical skill gaps that they don’t have, or have time for, in-house.

Lack of training

One participant highlighted the fact that even in larger marketing teams, not all team members will be fully trained. Marketing people tend come from a variety of backgrounds, often learning on the job. Therefore, gaps in knowledge and skills can appear from single-manned marketing departments through to larger teams.

Sector specialisms

Sector specialism was cited as an important factor when selecting a creative partner. Whilst they may have the marketing knowledge, knowing how to apply it to a specific sector, especially a niche one, is a vital consideration, and can be a challenge for everyone involved.

Internal investment

Several participants stated that, in the past, they had been reluctant to use agencies as it meant there was less investment in their marketing team, which could negatively impact staff retention levels. Building up the skillset in-house was far more important to them than outsourcing to a third party, however good they are.­ 

The MA takeaway

As we see it, agencies are valued on their ability to solve specialist problems that brands don’t have the knowledge, skills or resources internally to solve. And an in-house skills gap is a big contributor to that need.

Marketing is still a frequently under-invested, misunderstood and misused tool of business – a powerful tool at that. We often work with Marketing Mangers at differing levels with differing gaps in their knowledge. However, there’s also a common thread of passion for what they do, nurturing great work that everyone can be proud of and that delivers results. So, maybe that’s the really important skill, an aptitude to collaborate and get the best out of everyone to leverage the best outcome.   

As we see it, agencies are valued on their ability to solve specialist problems that brands don’t have the knowledge, skills or resources internally to solve. And an in-house skills gap is a big contributor to that need.

Marketing is still a frequently under-invested, misunderstood and misused tool of business – and a powerful tool at that. We often work with Marketing Managers at differing levels with differing gaps in their knowledge. However, there’s also a common thread of passion for what they do, nurturing great work that everyone can be proud of and that delivers results. So, maybe that’s the really important skill, an aptitude to collaborate and get the best out of everyone to leverage the best outcome.   

On the subject of agencies with sector specialisms, this one’s an open debate. On the one-hand, done right, and being totally immersed in a sector, can be a real advantage. However, it can also act as an inhibitor to introducing great new ways of solving old problems, drafted in from elsewhere. After all, we’re only as good as our skills and knowledge allow.   

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